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 arranging 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 permanent resident visa.
With over 110 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.
The only alternative to the IMSS is to have private medical insurance or pay directly for any treatment you require. Some foreign residents choose to remain uninsured in Mexico and pay for treatment directly as and when they might need it. While routine treatments and even some accidents and illnesses may cost much less to treat in Mexico than paying insurance premiums, it’s worth noting that major incidents and critical illnesses (e.g. cancer, etc.) do cost considerable sums even here in Mexico, and you could expect bills running to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for serious situations.
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 arriving in Mexico to live, work and 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 opened to service affluent Mexican families and expatriates who are making a home there. And as the demographic trends continue, new medical centers are opening-up across provincial towns and cities in Mexico to fill the demand.
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 Canada or 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, or pay for your medical care directly.
If you move to Mexico for work, your company might have a corporate cover plan that provides health care cover here in Mexico. 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.
Mexico has a number of internationally-recognized 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.