Caja bosses are telling local offices not to charge expat spouses extra

The country’s public health provider appears to be respecting a ruling from the Sala IV constitutional court. The court told the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social that it should not force expat spouses to enroll for services at an additional expense.

The Caja’s medical and financial managers issued a memo that is being distributed to local Caja offices.

Expats are required to enroll for Caja services even if they do not plan on using them. The Caja is plagued by long waits and other problems.

The Sala IV ruled Jan. 6 that foreign spouses should be treated the same as Costa Ricans. A.M. Costa Rica reported this Jan. 15 based on a posting at the Caja Web site.

The news today is that the Caja is distributing the message to its local offices. Research has shown that not all the Sala IV rulings have been obeyed.

The Caja faced a flurry of threats of constitutional court cases in which expats would claim they were entitled to the same rights as citizens.

The Caja characterized as and error its efforts to charge expat spouses more.

Javier Zavaleta, who operates Residency in Costa Rica, received a copy of the memo from a client.

“The last paragraph of the Caja memo is clear and concise: Caja offices were ordered, and are under the obligation, to locate those newly-approved married residents who were required by Caja to join the health system individually, and in many cases at an additional expense,” he said. “That is the fair approach for the Caja to take. Alas, the word ‘refund’ is nowhere in the memo.”

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