ARCR Rate Hike for Caja Plan as High as $442 per Month

ARCR, the Association of Residents of Costa Rica sent email messages to its members on Wednesday, notifying them of new minimum levels for caja payments through its group plan. The changes, which specify monthly payments as high as $442 per month are based on type of residency status and age. Membership in the caja, or state funded Social Security system provides heath coverage through state clinics and hospitals.

For PENSIONADOS and RENTISTAS the rate has been set at the income specified in the residency laws, hence Rentista’s at $2500 and Pensionado’s $1000.

For these groups the new rates are: Pensionados over 55 years of age = $75/month
Pensionados under 55 years = $139/month
Rentista’s over 55 years = $252/month
Rentista’s under 55 years = $442/month

PERMANENT RESIDENTS on our policy face a slight increase to $63/month (over 55 years) or $114/month (under 55)
-Source: ARCR Email

The rate hikes only apply to those who have affiliated with the the caja or Costa Rican Social Security plan through ARCR. Many foreign residents prefer membership in the ARCR group plan because they find it easier to deal with the English speaking staff at ARCR. The alternative, voluntary affiliation or Seguro Voluntario requires dealing with a Spanish speaking employee at a local Social Security office.

Proof of some type of caja affiliation is required when a foreign resident seeks to receive or renew their cedula. Costa Rican citizens are not required to affiliate with the Seguro Voluntario. Permanent residents who have jobs and those with work permits are treated the same as citizens who have jobs, and pay into the system through payroll tax contributions or self-employment tax for independent workers.

These changes in the ARCR plan eliminate an alternative (or loop hole) where existing residents who are Rentistas and Pensionados could get substantially lower caja payments by dealing with ARCR. The difference came about in recent years as the caja increased rates and asked for more paperwork from new residents who applied for Seguro Voluntario. New residents are being asked about their worldwide income and required to provide copies of tax returns from their home country.

The only group that is now getting the cheapest deal, which is as low as $29 a month are Costa Rican citizens and permanent residents with Seguro Voluntario who claim to earn as little as $400 a month. Getting such a low assessment is very difficult as the caja is requiring more paperwork and inspectors are increasing skeptical of people who claim to have such marginal income. This system is a kind of socialized medial care where everyone receives the same level of care, but pays according to their income.