My first blog was all about the ins-and-outs of paying your hospital bill in Mexico. Today, “Paying Your Hospital Bill in Mexico Part Two” provides more information that will help keep you out of trouble when using hospitals in Mexico.
Whether you have insurance or not, you will have to pay the bill before you are released from a private hospital in Mexico. Remember, you are in a different culture and things work differently here. Our assumptions based on how things were in the U.S. can get us into trouble. But what do you do if you don’t have cash or credit?
Consider that Mexicans face the same situation. Their solution is often to borrow from friends and extended family. But more likely than not, a Mexican without significant financial resources would not be treated in a private hospital. Most Mexicans would seek treatment from the public sector using their insurance with IMSS or Seguro Popular. And, if you are an expat with a resident’s visa, you will be able to do that too. Low-cost quality medical care is one of the amazing benefits that Mexico offers the many expats who reside here.
While you can expect to receive good medical care and fair dealings financially in Mexico’s healthcare system, there are rare exceptions when hospital administrators, especially in small private hospitals, may keep a patient longer than necessary, fail to provide a final billing and otherwise delay a patient’s departure. It is highly recommended that you do NOT give a hospital your credit or debit card upon admission.
Tell the hospital that you will pay in cash when you are given a final bill upon your release. If you must give a hospital your credit information, call your bank or credit card company, explain the situation so your account isn’t drained and approve incremental payments only when you have been given a bill. Check the bill item-by-item and contest questionable charges. Credit card companies will sometimes extend credit limits in an emergency.
If you feel you are being held unreasonably or taken advantage of, contact your medical evacuation insurance provider, if you have this type of insurance and tell them what is going on. They have experience handling tricky situations and will tell you what to do. If you don’t have evacuation insurance, call your country’s embassy or the nearest consulate, tell them what is going on and ask for their help.