Residents association will seek better rates from Caja

The Association of Residents of Costa Rica, the expat organization, will seek to negotiate lower health insurance rates for its members.

Ryan Piercy, the executive director, said that a petition drive is possible. The association has more than 1,000 members that are being affected by a plan by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social to raise rates, some of them dramatically high. The increases are expected to affect all legal residents here even if they are not members of Piercy’s association.

The residents association has had an agreement with the Caja that covered those members that sought the services. Membership in the Caja now is obligatory for those foreigners who have legal residency here. The association’s agreement predates this requirement.

Piercy also pointed out in a telephone talk Thursday that the Caja change is not only a concern for foreigners. The government agency also is targeting Costa Ricans and professionals in lucrative positions like lawyers and doctors.

In the past, resident association members who chose to affiliate with the Caja paid a flat fee between $50 and $67 for a family. Now the Caja wants to key the premium to the individual’s income and age.

Since those who acquire residency as pensionados must demonstrate to immigration officials an income of at least $1,000 a month, the Caja is using that figure. These monthly rates are $75 for those over 55 years and $139 for those younger than 55.

Rentistas who must show a monthly income of $2,500 will be charged $252 for those over 55 and $442 for those under 55.

Permanent residents over 55 years of age will pay $63 a month. The monthly amount is $114 for permanent residents under 55 years, the association has said.

The Caja now established a monthly income of $3,300 per month, for inversionistas or investors with a monthly premium consistent with that amount.

These rates already have gone into effect.

The Caja changes transcend the agreement that the association has with it. The new rates will be applied to all who have residency status in Costa Rica because the cash-strapped Caja is seeking money wherever it can raise it.

Typically when a new resident seeks to join the Caja health plan, a condition of residency, they have an interview with a worker there.

The worker determines the individual’s monthly income and establishes a monthly premium consistent with the amount.

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