Home Expat Blogs Changes to Mexico’s Healthcare System Are Happening at Lakeside

Changes to Mexico’s Healthcare System Are Happening at Lakeside

Healthcare in Mexico at New Hospital at Lake Chapala, Mexico
Credit: Dale Palfrey

Changes to Mexico’s Healthcare System are happening at Lakeside. Hospital Comunitario de Jocotepec is now operating under the guidelines of the government’s newly-launched healthcare program called Instituto de Salud para el Bienestar (INSABI).

With the dismantling on December 31, 2019 of the Seguro Popular system, this tier-two-level community hospital in Jocotepec now provides free services to all Mexico residents, citizens and extranjeros (foreigners), not covered under IMSS (Mexican Social Security) and other government-operated health care plans. Affiliates of those other government programs can receive medical care, but will be charged in accordance with the hospital’s modest rates.

All Mexican citizens and foreign nationals registered with Residente Temporal or Permanente immigration visas qualify for medical consultations and healthcare at no charge. A patient only needs to present a copy of his/her CURP (Mexican ID number) and a Mexican voter ID card or Mexican birth certificate, or the INM residency visa card for expats. It’s as simple as that.

This procedure also applies to medical care at any of Jalisco’s first-tier Centro de Salud (health clinic) facilities, other second-tier Jalisco regional hospitals and public hospitals such as Guadalajara’s old and new Hospital Civil that cared for patients under Seguro Popular. Tier-three hospitals and health centers that offer specialized and advance care treatment, do not provide free services.

Access to good and affordable health care is an important factor for many expats, especially as we reach retirement age. Canadian and U.S. citizens alike have told me it is a budget challenge to afford healthcare. Even in Canada, where ability to afford may not be a factor, access to timely and quality healthcare is a concern. Fear that a major health crisis might wipe you out financially is a stress none of us need.

I have heard from many expats who have moved to Lake Chapala claim they feel healthier here and have discovered that, in some cases, they require less medication for the management of their health.

As a retired physician assistant of general medicine practice, I joked initially: “We do not get older here, we just get better.” After residing Lakeside for nearly 13 years, my observations prove it is more a fact than a joke.

Of course, you can also purchase private health insurance for use at private hospitals and clinics, as well as private practice physicians in general medicine and specialties. It is an individual and personal choice when considering healthcare needs in Mexico.

But the fact that there is a universal healthcare option that will allow you access to free medical care when needed, is just one more stress-induced challenge eliminated as we age and continue to live the good life here at Lake Chapala.

You can find Hospital Comunitario de Jocotepec on the east side of Jocotepec, along the north side of the Chapala-Jocotepec carretera (main highway) at El Chante. This community hospital has served the north shore of Lake Chapala since May 2015.