Caja rates for expats reported going up

Members of the Association of Residents of Costa Rica are being told that the cost of health insurance will be increasing in October.

Association members have the option of participating in a group plan with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. The association has been sending emails to those enrolled in the program.

Foreign legal residents are required to subscribe to the Caja health plan. Using the services of the association is one way.

The Caja appears to base the rates set for the association on the amount of money various categories of residents are expected to spend each month.

The lowest category is that of permanent resident. Those in this group are being asked to pay $135 a month if they are under 55 and $69 a month if they are older than that.

There are similar age breaks for other categories of residencies: Pensionado under 55, $150, and over 55, $81, and rentista under 55 years, $477, and over 55 years $270. Monthly rates can vary widely depending on how much money Caja workers think applicants have.

Those who are in the inversionista category are hit hardest, although the new rates were not available Thursday night. Some investors object because the law says they only have to be in the country one day a year.

Costa Rican employers and their employees pay a combined 26 percent of the monthly salary to the Caja. That amount could easily be in the $200 range even for workers being paid $600 or less a month.

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