Expats Have Access To Healthcare in Mexico on 3 Levels
Relocating to another country entails a lot of consideration and planning, one of the most important factors is your health. You need to feel confident you will receive quality medical care before settling into a new country.
Fortunately, Mexico has a few options for excellent and affordable healthcare.
Seguro Popular is Mexico’s nationwide health care program, and this medical insurance covers all residences of Mexico, it is meant to ensure everyone has access to medical care even if their employer or private insurance does not cover them. This insurance is only valid at the General Hospital. It has a low annual fee, and for some residents, it is available at no cost. The downside is there are often long waits and overcrowding at these hospitals.
The public sector national healthcare program is Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. IMSS includes an extensive, countrywide health care system offering free outpatient clinics, hospitals, and medication. Employers are obligated to register all employees with IMSS. Anyone else including foreigners holding a temporary or permanent resident card can register for a low annual fee. The fees will depend on your age varying from 2000 to 5500 pesos per year. Again you may face overcrowded hospitals and long wait times.
Although the general hospital is economical or free, it may not be the standard of a hospital you expect in comparison to the U.S. or Canada. Most expats prefer to use private health insurance and stay at a private hospital equipped with the latest technology, high-level care with private, modern rooms, and the comforts the general hospital does not provide.
One alternative is to buy private insurance and pay out of pocket for general doctors visits, for example, you may only spend 30 to 500 pesos for a consultation, even the specialists are very reasonable, with practically no wait time. Prescriptions and services such as ultrasounds, blood work, and x-rays are substantially less expensive in Mexico. Many medical laboratory tests can be carried out without a doctors referral.
Patients in the rest of North America find themselves waiting months for ultrasounds, CT scans or x-rays, and up to six months for a consultation with a specialist. Surgery wait times are lengthy in many cases over a year and have become commonplace in the rest of North America. Private hospitals in Mexico have virtually no wait time for most consults and surgeries.
Private practice doctors have time for their patients without the limit of one symptom per visit, and some doctors still make house calls, at a very reasonable price.
Many foreigners travel to Mexico for surgery to avoid long wait times and for elective surgeries not covered by their health insurance. Treatment cost in Mexico is 50% to 80% less expensive than Canada or the U.S.
The most common surgeries performed in Mexico include:
- Hip replacement and knee replacement
- Cosmetic surgery
- Orthopedic surgery
- Bariatric (weight loss) surgery
- Ocular surgery
- Cardiovascular surgery