Best Place to Get Sick

A recent change in Cuba just made me think of this. I originally thought about this when I found out that access to health care in Canada was based on just being there, not on having residency. The differences and considerations seemed worth a post.

First, in Nicaragua, everyone who is here is entitled to what you might call a minimalist level of health care. This is actually what a majority of the people here have. They can walk into a state-run health clinic or hospital and get free care, no questions asked. In parallel with this, there is private practice where people can pay for care. This goes from local doctors all the way up to major hospitals. There are also some private but free services available. My experience with this is that private doctors volunteer to see a limited number of free patients.

Employed people in Nicaragua are supposed to be inscribed into INSS which is a combination social security and health care system. This entitles you to a step up on the level of service. For example, the state-run hospital in Estelí has a separate facility for those covered by INSS.

Costa Rica is pretty similar to Nicaragua. Free care is available. Anyone who is there can also enroll in a health insurance plan. The insurance provider is the government but the plan is a lot like HMO plans in the US. It pays 80% of in-plan care, 70% of others with the usual list of limits and such. When I first moved to Costa Rica I enrolled in this plan. It cost about $40/mo. The equivalent plan in the US cost about $300/mo.

While I have never verified this, it seems the Costa Rica plan would cover you in, for example, Nicaragua. The 70% limit would apply as well as the typical costs consideration but typical should not be an issue as health care costs the same or less in Nicaragua than Costa Rica.

This finally gets me to the change in Cuba. Health care there has been like Canada in that if you are there, you get service. The big difference is that in Canada, doctors are private but, in Cuba, everyone works for the government. But, Cuba just added a new requirement to travel there, travel health insurance.

Requiring it makes sense and is probably something Canada should do as well. But, I was initially put off as it is just one more hoop to jump through. The good news, however, is in the fine print. If you travel to Cuba without it, you will have to buy their insurance at a cost of $3/day. All in all, that seems like a pretty reasonable price.

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Cuba destination

Lately has been few good input on Cuba....

This mean Cuba will become the new destination for expaths?

Is somebody here thinking seriously about moving to Cuba?

What are the differences or better conditions ,that will suggest Cuba for a new destination?

Cuba for travel

While I don't know of anyone planning to move to Cuba, Cuba has been a good travel destination for Canadians and Europeans for 50 years. Safety (that is, a very low crime rate against people) is certainly one o the reasons. I expect the primary reason for the (relatively fake) embargo of Cuba by the US is to decrease US tourism/tourism spending. I say fake because there is a lot of trade with Cuba, primarily food exports, but it is US government controlled.

I also saw that Cuba just decided to allow foreign investment in various tourist facilities such as golf courses. Not open investment but with the Cuban government partnering with these investors.

Besides the now-required travel insurance, people have complained about a tax on converting foreign money into local. This also needs to be put in perspective. My understanding is there is no sales or VAT tax in Cuba. Thus, this is just collection of tax as conversion time rather than at purchase time.

should do?

That is how it works now.

"People who want to access the Canadian Health Care system must apply for a provincial health card and wait for no longer, than three months to obtain their health card in the case of new immigrants."

"While the Canada Health Act guarantees that all residents of a territory or province will be accepted for health coverage, temporary visitors can only access this system purchasing insurance by themselves."

Unpaid Medical Bills

Nobody is denied medical attention in Canada but ...