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Checking Your Healthcare Options in Mexico

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Credit: Mondassur

If you are an expat in Mexico or are planning to touchdown there soon, you may be interested in checking your healthcare options in Mexico.  The healthcare landscape is changing in Mexico, so here’s what you can expect:

The Mexican healthcare system is made up of a public and private sector. The Mexican government has a social protection network called IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social). This social security is compulsory for all resident workers in Mexico, including expatriates who do not have permanent resident status. There is also an equivalent of the IMSS, called the ISSSTE (Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado). This equivalent of the IMSS is reserved for public sector employees. And the Mexican government also funds the SP (Seguro Popular) program to enable its poorest population, who cannot contribute to the system, to be insured.

The public health sector in Mexico has wide coverage throughout the country and is made up of general hospitals, specialized hospitals (nursery, pediatrics, psychiatry, etc.). Also, it has health centers, emergency services and state public health laboratories.
The private health sector includes private clinics and hospitals throughout Mexico. There are approximately three private hospitals for every one public hospital.

Challenges for Health Coverage in Mexico

In theory, the three types of social protection healthcare options discussed above would enable the government to insure its entire population. It would allow access to care for everyone in all public health establishments. However, because economic investment and advanced professional training are often lacking, this is not really the case. Insufficient investment is one of the main causes for the shortage of medical equipment in the public sector, which leads to a medical infrastructure that cannot take care of all patients in Mexico. To receive medical treatment, Mexicans often have to wait weeks and sometimes months before getting even a consultation.

In the private sector, clinics and hospitals are much better equipped than in the public sector. Private Investment allows healthcare facilities to obtain state-of-the-art medical equipment, attract better healthcare professionals and waiting times and overall general care are much better in private facilities.

However, private treatment has a high cost, which is not covered by the IMSS or other programs. So, for expats no matter how long you plan to stay in Mexico, and for Mexicans who have the resources to choose the more expensive option, adapted private health insurance, private health insurance is the best option. But not all private health insurance programs are equal.

Private Health Insurance for Mexico

Many Mexicans who can afford the coverage, as well as many expats, take out Mexican private health insurance in addition to the IMSS coverage. Access to private care ensures they have access to the best healthcare facilities in the country with the shortest wait times, and access to advanced medical technologies without paying high prices.

They can choose between several local private health insurance options, . each insurance company offering different coverage. Most of the time, traditional private insurance reimburses the costs of consultation with a doctor up to 100%. However, in return, they offer very low coverage for expensive medical operations. Reimbursement limits are extremely low and cover only medical operations carried out in public hospitals. Coverage limits generally range between $7,000 and $10,000 pesos. The cost of an appendicitis operation, for example, costs on average between $80,000 and $120,000 pesos.

International Private insurance in Mexico

Our health insurance experts at Mondassur recommend international private insurance if you live in Mexico or travel the world. This option offers much better coverage than local private insurance for expats. Coverage rates range up to 100% of hospitalization costs and may cover outpatient care and dental or optical care, as well, at high levels. A local private insurance option in Mexico will very likely not be able to cover all your healthcare needs for major operations or intensive treatments.

Travelers who hop from country-to-country will also benefit from the same coverage in the countries they visit. International private insurance will follow you wherever you go.

Make sure you take the time to understand the key differences between these healthcare options in Mexico. We’re experts in Mexico healthcare, so please let us know if you have any questions at contact@Mondassur.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. While it is fine if you can get it, at least for a while, the problem with private medical insurance for expat healthcare is that it is typically not available beyond a certain age (retirement age and beyond) or is prohibitively expensive (rates are raised significantly as you grow older) or it excludes pre-existing conditions or you are likely to be dropped if you develop a serious health problem. Other than that, it’s great! (As long as your hospital will accept an assignment of benefits and file claims for you. Otherwise you still pay out of pocket, have to file your own claim and wait to be reimbursed, and that may involve having the itemized bills translated into English. You often have to have your admission pre-approved too, unless it is through the emergency room.) I mention these things because people need to know the whole story. There are no perfect solutions.

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