Overview of the Costa Rican Healthcare Market

Recent advancements and changes in the region have certainly shown that the healthcare systems of Latin America are worthy of greater attention from medical device and equipment manufacturers. But often, the attention is focused on the major players such as Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

Recently, however, even some of the smaller players in the region have been making waves. And one that’s starting to draw major attention is the small country of Costa Rica. Specifically, it’s Costa Rica’s cultivation and development of a high-quality, well-respected health care system that is beginning to turn some heads. And many medical device and equipment manufacturers are starting to take notice.

What Makes Costa Rica Unique

Costa Rica’s health care system has many interesting advantages over others in the region, and even in other parts of the world. For example, a 9 percent income tax on all employees funds a universal system that covers every Costa Rican, both for their medical procedures and prescription drugs. The region is also known for their open-air facilities that have a more relaxing, less clinical feel than hospitals and medical centers in the United States.

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Private Insurance Options

If there’s any drawback to Costa Rica’s universal health care system, it’s that there’s a shortage of doctors. And this often results in long wait times to have certain procedures performed. But Costa Rica also has a vital private hospital system that manages to coexist nicely with the public system. This opens up other opportunities for high-quality care, as well as medical tourism options.

More about Medical Tourism

Speaking of medical tourism, this is big business in the country of Costa Rica. Among countries in the Americas, Costa Rica ranks fourth overall in medical tourism, behind Canada, Colombia and Panama. Costa Rican representatives often travel to the United States to promote the possibilities of receiving medical care in Costa Rica. This include procedures such as knee and hip surgeries, spine surgeries and dental treatments, among others.

How Costa Rica Stacks Up

Costa Rica may be a smaller healthcare market than other Latin American countries, but it comparatively does big business. Three of the largest hospitals in the country have recently made an investment of over $55 million in expanding their coverage, updating their equipment and renovating their infrastructure. Other hospitals have made recent investments ranging from $19 to $2 million. This big investment in hospitals and medical centers is great news for device and equipment sales representatives that are targeting the region.

Specific Areas of Growth

Through GHI’s HospiScope, we have noticed that in 2017, Costa Rican hospitals significantly increased counts of both certain equipment types and also certain types of medical personnel. Here’s a quick breakdown of the demand growth that took place:


•    57% increase in EEG machines in hospitals in Costa Rica in 2017
•    33% uptick in echocardiogram machines in hospitals in Costa Rica in 2017
•    48% increase in anesthesia machines in hospitals in Costa Rica in 2017
•    42% growth in ultrasound machines in hospitals in Costa Rica in 2017
•    83% increase in total amount of computers in hospitals in Costa Rica in 2017

Medical Personnel:

•    18% increase in general doctors in hospitals in Costa Rica in 2017
•    35% increase in specialized nurses in hospitals in Costa Rica in 2017

Explore Further

GHI’s HospiScope can help you gain a clearer understanding of hospital demographics in Costa Rica — especially growth areas that offer the hottest sales opportunities. If your company has never operated in Costa Rica before, our ShareScope service can break down which companies have the highest market share in different equipment categories and our In-Scope service can provide custom research to give you a strategic understanding of the Costa Rican healthcare market so you can successfully enter this market.
And if you’re already in Costa Rica, HospiScope can still help your sales team find growth opportunities and ShareScope can let you know how your firm is doing in this market compared to your competition, while In-Scope can deliver competitive intelligence to figure out ways to outmaneuver your competition in Costa Rica.

Contact GHI to explore this further.

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