Healthcare

Planning for Medical Care in Mexico

Medical Care Planning

It’s exciting, and a little nerve-wracking: that’s how most people who have journeyed from their home country would describe making the move to Mexico. There are a lot of arrangements to make, and underneath it all is also a sense of adventure. We are feeling good, positive, and looking forward to a new and stimulating life situation.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, we can’t know of course—but life with all its unpredictability marches on, even in Mexico. The best way to deal with the unknown is to be prepared for eventualities, and a medical care plan should be included in those.

“Planning for medical emergencies is essential,” says Cathie Smith LoCicero, the leader of the Mexico team for Travel MedEvac, a company providing medical evacuation plans for leisure visitors, snowbirds, and foreign residents. Cathie has been helping people insure against accidents and illnesses in Mexico for almost twenty years, so she’s on the front-line of these situations.

Drawing on her experience, she shared some practical insights with us which are useful to take into consideration as you plan your medical care needs here in Mexico; here are the highlights:

  • “You should have a plan for what you are going to do if you become ill and need to be hospitalized in Mexico. A lot of people don’t know that most hospitals here won’t take an insurance assignment. That means that even if you have insurance, you’ll have to pay cash to get released from the hospital and file a claim with your insurer to be reimbursed later. Not having enough cash on hand can be a problem. Giving a hospital your credit card can be an even bigger problem if the hospital sees you as a ‘cash cow’ and is reluctant to release you.”
  • “If you’re taking up residency in Mexico, establish a relationship with a local general practitioner right away. Know which hospital he or she practices at and find a recommended ambulance company. Keep the phone numbers and hospital address handy.”
  • “Hospital emergency rooms here practice triage: a categorization procedure for arriving patients based on the severity of need. Those that ‘walk-in’ are considered less serious than those who are carried in. You will get more immediate attention if you arrive by ambulance. Don’t drive yourself and don’t have a family member drive you if you can avoid it.”
  • “Tell the hospital in Mexico you will be paying cash rather than giving over your credit card. Insist on seeing a final bill before paying anything by card. If you must use a credit card, talk to your credit card company or bank about your situation and have them set a limit so your account balance or line of credit is not drained.”
  • “Consider an air medical evacuation plan. I work with Travel MedEvac because they offer hospital-to-hospital transport utilizing an accredited EURAMI or CAMTS certified air medical transport company, whereby each flight includes at least one critical-care nurse and one specially-trained flight medic and a medical doctor as needed to accompany and care for our evacuated members every-step of the way. Their medical directors and flight coordinators can be extremely helpful in getting you released quickly, and safely transported to any hospital in North America you choose that accepts you for admission.”

Having advance knowledge about how medical care works in Mexico can help you to form a plan that will stand you in good stead in the event of a medical mishap. Without a degree of forethought, you could find yourself in a frightening situation without the understanding or resources you need.

You can find extensive information about health and medical care matters on our guides to Healthcare in Mexico here on Mexperience, including resources about planing for Medical Evacuation should you ever need it.

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