San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Panel of experts make recommendations on failing Caja

A Comisión de Notables (panel of experts) named by Costa Rica’s Social Security System (Caja) two months ago, presented a report Monday with 81 recommendations to help the institution overcome the financial and administrative crisis that’s been bankrupting the system over the past years.

The commission, which included economists Fernando Naranjo and Pablo Sauma, entrepreneur Rafael Carrillo and sociologist Juliana Martínez, presented recommendations in three different aspects: income, expenses and general management.

“We cannot expect that all of our recommendations will immediately be taken into consideration,” Sauma said. “Some of them, however, are necessary now.” 

Some of the main suggestions include a revision of the fees paid by employers and employees to the Caja, which is the institution’s main source of income. The commission suggested that the crisis is a result of poor management and also a direct consequence of over-hiring personnel.

Caja Executive President Ileana Balmaceda said that the system’s board of directors will study the recommendations and decide on a schedule for implementing them. The Caja is not under any obligation to adopt any of the suggested measures in the report.

The Comisión de Notables also suggested forcing out more managers and chiefs in the Caja. The board of directors recently asked for resignations from six general managers. According to Balmaceda, one of those resignations was made official last Friday. But the commission’s position is to go further and dismiss other chiefs and executives for mismanaging the Caja.

“We have been implementing a series of measures even before this report was handed in,” Balma said. “Our next step is to study a number of ideas that will help us reduce costs arising from medical personnel working overtime.”

The full Comisión de Notables report is available at

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