How Health Care works in Costa Rica?
The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), also known as the Caja or Seguro, is the public institution in charge of social security in the Republic of Costa Rica. Its headquarters are located in the city of San José, between the second, fourth, fifth and seventh avenues. As a semi-autonomous entity, it was created on November 1, 1941 by Law No. 17 during the administration of President Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia, but would undergo a major reform on October 22, 1943, when it became an autonomous institution, aimed at the care of the working population and through a tripartite system of financing. Its formation and operation are safeguarded in Articles 73 and 177 of the National Constitution.
At present, with a vast caliber of almost 30 hospitals -some of the most outstanding in Latin America- and more than 1000 Basic Teams of Integral Health Care, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund is considered one of the best and most prestigious health and social security institutions in the entire planet. Its universal system of operation, which has led the country to be positioned in many of the most optimistic health levels in the hemisphere, stands out.
The Costa Rican Social Security Fund coordinates and executes both preventive (vaccination, health information, etc.) and curative (surgeries, radiotherapy, pharmacy, clinical examinations, etc.) programs, covering a large sector of the Costa Rican population, as well as, since the 1990s, the considerable immigrant population living in the country.
Its competencies also include meeting needs as they arise, beginning to prevent risks and helping any individual or family that has suffered a disability or disadvantageous situation to rehabilitate and adapt as best as possible to this situation.
On the other hand, medical assistance is the benefit most needed by the insured population, especially hospitalization services which recorded a total of 343,078 discharges for 2013, with an occupancy rate of 86% and the successful performance of 178,642 surgeries. Likewise, maternity services recorded for the same period a total of 66,191 deliveries and 66,223 births.
Finally, the outpatient care services recorded 13 million consultations and 5.5 million emergency consultations during the same year, with a free dispensing of 77 million medicines -one of the highest rates per person in the world-, 62 million clinical examinations, 118,000 mammograms and 301 ultrasounds.
Currently, this institution administers two major insurances: health and pensions. It also provides a non-contributory pension system (RNC).