Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

John Geiser

Second Advisor

David Paul

Third Advisor

David Charlton


This thesis seeks to examine the similarities and differences between the healthcare system employed in Costa Rica and the healthcare system employed in the United States through a series of interviews and web-based research. Four healthcare system components will be examined in order to determine the success of each system. These components include health insurance coverage, access to pharmaceuticals, medical licensing requirements, and medical research.

Following the completion of the interviews and research, I found that United States citizens pay nearly four times the amount Costa Rican citizens do for health insurance coverage. This dramatic increase in price can be contributed to high administrative costs and malpractice insurance that hospitals in the United States face. I also learned that citizens from both countries were worried about prescription drug abuse. In order to combat this, the government should employ prescription-monitoring programs in both countries.

While medical licensing requirements seem to be relatively the same in Costa Rica and the United States, citizens in the United States seemed to be less pleased with their physicians than the citizens in Costa Rica. I attributed this to the limited amount of time American’s spend with their physicians. On average, Costa Rican citizens spend about 25 more minutes with their physicians than United States citizens did. In order to mend patient-physician relationships, physicians should spend an average of 30 minutes with each patient.

In addition to all this, interviews conducted in the United States indicated a preference for more medical research involving general health instead of the cure of diseases. Doing so would surely improve the health care system and lead to a decrease in health insurance premiums.

The results of this study will give readers a more accurate description of what is working and what is not working for the citizens the government aims to serve.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

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