Health Care in Mexico
Topics: Health Care
Written by: Mexperience
Published: Friday, June 20, 2008
One of the principal considerations people take into account when they are visiting Mexico for an extended period and, especially, if they are living or planning to retire in Mexico, is the matter of health care and related services.
Mexico has excellent private health care facilities, which offer services and equipment on par with U.S. clinics and hospitals. The country also has in place a state-funded social security system offering health care, known as IMSS (Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social). The latter is available to all Mexican citizens and foreign nationals who are legally resident with immigrado status and in possession of a FM2 visa.
With over 100 million citizens, Mexico’s state-funded social security system is, not surprisingly, overwhelmed with demand for the amount of resources allocated to it, and so most people who can afford to, purchase a private health care plan in case they need medical attention in Mexico. Private health care is expensive in Mexico and the only alternative to the IMSS is to have private medical insurance or pay directly for any treatment you require. Like the USA, private hospitals in Mexico insist on pre-authorizing payment via credit card before admitting patients into their care.
Private health care is booming in Mexico due, in better part, to the increasing affluence of Mexico’s middle class, and an increasing number of foreigners – with means to fund private health care plans – arriving in Mexico to live, work and especially to retire. The demographic trends have not gone unnoticed by health care companies. For example, in Merida, once a far-away provincial city, a brand-new private clinic has recently opened to service affluent Mexican families and well-heeled expatriates who are making a home there.
Expats who live in Mexico close to the U.S. border may choose to use local private doctors and clinics for day-to-day medical requirements and immediate emergencies, while travelling back to the USA for treatment if they need extended or specialized medical care. This is what happens in San Felipe, a town located on the shores of the Sea of Cortez and just a two-hour drive from the U.S. border. For expats who live or have retired at one of the communities here, like El Dorado Ranch and La Ventana del Mar, it’s perfectly feasible to live in Mexico and get U.S. medical care in San Diego. These communities are also planning their very own medical center which will provide local residents with a multitude of U.S. standard health services from U.S. trained medical doctors and staff.
If your stays in Mexico are temporary, your home-country health care provider might offer temporary cover while you are in Mexico; however be sure to check the small print as most policies provide cover for a limited number of days (usually no more than 90) and limit the forms of treatment covered abroad. In many cases, you will probably need to purchase a top-up to your private medical policy – see the Mexperience Guide to Insurance in Mexico for details. If you live in Europe, and are normally covered by a state-funded social health care system, you will need to purchase a stand-alone private medical care plan for your stay in Mexico.
If you move to Mexico for work, your company might have a corporate cover plan that provides health care cover. However, if you are self-employed or your company does not provide health cover for you and your family, you will need to make arrangements locally.
For part-time retirement in Mexico, a top-up on your existing home-country health care policy might cover your needs in Mexico, perhaps with a top-up payment – but do check the small print. If you are retiring full-time in Mexico, then you’ll need to consider purchasing a health care plan locally.
Mexico has a number of internationally-renowned insurance companies selling a wide range of insurance products, including health care plans: read the Mexperience Guide to Health Care in Mexico for details and contacts.