Costa Rica Declares Medical Tourism of National Interest

About 100,000 tourists visit the country annually for medical purposes, paying between $4,000 and $6,000 per procedure.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The measure enacted by the executive branch will mean that the Tourism and Foreign Trade Ministries will work on bringing more investment and patients to the country, and that the Health Ministry will promote international accreditation of the medical facilities and ensure service quality.

An article in described the characteristics of medical tourism in Costa Rica: "Foreign patients come mostly from the US and spend between $4,000 and $6,000 mainly on cosmetic surgery and dental or heart procedures."

More on this topic

Present and Future of Health Tourism

December 2010

Globally, medical tourism spending has reached $ 60 billion and it is expected that in three years that figure should reach $ 100 billion.

In Central America, Panama is just beginning to participate with less than 1% of that market, where Costa Rica is one of the largest players at 16%.

Private Hospitals in Guanacaste

May 2009

Despite the economic crisis, they are going ahead with the decision to build 3 hospitals in the province of Guanacaste.

Cima Hospital plans to start building its Guanacaste headquarters in early 2010 and finish it in the second quarter of 2011. Documentation has already been submitted to SETENA for this project.

US insurers considering medical tourism

October 2008

A recent report estimates that hundreds of thousands of Americans go abroad each year for medical procedures, primarily to save money.

They are not the only ones eyeing the bottom line. Some U.S. insurance companies — including Aetna and UnitedHealthcare — are considering paying for patients to go overseas for care, which could spark major growth in the medical travel industry.

Top 5 Medical Tourism Destinations

April 2008

Medical tourism destinations have emerged all over the globe, from Thailand to South Africa, and even European countries such as Hungary. The industry anticipates a great deal of growth in the coming years, from a 2004 estimate of $40 billion to $100 billion by 2012, according to statistics produced by McKinsey & Company and the Confederation of India.

Experts believe that medical tourism will have a positive impact on the economies of destination countries and benefit skilled and unskilled trades alike. The medical tourism phenomenon may also bode well for foreign investors who hold an interest in those countries.

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