Healthcare, Insurance

Is U.S. Medicare Available in Mexico?

Doctor and Patient Talking

A frequently asked question by Americans contemplating a move to Mexico is whether their Medicare coverage is valid here.  The simple answer is no, but there are some caveats.

Medicare is only available to US Citizens and permanent legal residents of the USA who are of a certain age (or with specific medical situations). This Medicare page contains an eligibility questionnaire.

Outside of the 50 States and the District of Columbia, Medicare is only available in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

Medicare may pay for specific types of medical care in a foreign country if a foreign hospital is closer to the nearest U.S. hospital should a medical emergency arise while you’re in the U.S., or traveling through Canada between the continental U.S. and Alaska; or if you live in the U.S. and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition.

If you’re traveling on a ship, Medicare might pay for medically-necessary services provided the vessel is not more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port.

In all cases, Medicare drug plans don’t cover prescription drugs you may buy outside the U.S.

You can get full details about the policies and coverage here on the U.S. Medicare official website.

As an alternative to Medicare, some foreign residents in Mexico opt to take Mexico’s government-sponsored IMSS health coverage under an insurance program that charges based on age-brackets; typically between US$50-$70 per month for someone of retirement age.

Private medical insurance is widely available in Mexico, with policies priced depending on the coverages you seek, your age, health, and medical history. If you’re only in Mexico for a while, you might consider a medical evacuation plan to help you get back home in the event of medical emergency.

Mexico in your inbox

Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.