Costa Ricans spent nearly $158 million on private health-care services during the first four months of 2006, mostly on medicine and dental appointments, according to the results of a national study by the Costa Rican Nutrition and Health Research Institute (INCIENSA) released Monday.
The institute’s Patricia Allen explained at a press conference that 75% of Costa Ricans surveyed said they bought medicine in pharmacies during this time period.
The purchase of medicine represented the greatest expense for Costa Ricans (more than $42.8 million), followed by dental appointments, on which 26.4% of families surveyed spent about $36.9 million.
Medical appointments also represented a significant expense for families at $31.4 million between January and April of 2006.
Additionally, Costa Ricans spent more than $24.7 million on the purchase and rental of medical equipment and $4.8 million on lab exams.
Public Health Minister María Luisa Avila said these are only part of the results of the survey, which will serve as a tool for analysis and research into health care in Costa Rica.