Home Expat Blogs The Future of the Seguro Popular Program for Expats

The Future of the Seguro Popular Program for Expats

Doctor looking at x-ray scans
Credit: Luis Louro | Shutterstock

I’ve been getting questions lately about the future of the Seguro Popular program for expats and want to provide all of you who are interested with an update.

The Mexican government’s Seguro Popular public health insurance program was designed for residents and citizens of Mexico who do not receive coverage through their employment. The program has grown in both enrollment and popularity, but has been a target for reform by the country’s new president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO.

During last year’s presidential campaign, AMLO promised to eliminate Seguro Popular as an approach to tackle the problems of underfunding, regional inequities in service, system fragmentation, coverage limitations and corruption. Now as president, AMLO has re-pledged his commitment to the reform of Mexico’s public healthcare system.

While it is likely that the Seguro Popular program will be absorbed into the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) system to form a single national public healthcare system as part of the reform, there is no timetable for this change and it is estimated that the initiative may take as long as two years to implement.

Seguro Popular has been a successful and affordable insurance program for many expats living in Mexico, but the anticipated reforms raise the question of whether foreigners will continue to be welcomed into the newly-formed national system.

While there are rumors that applications for the Seguro Popular program are not being processed for expats, we have not been able to confirm this. And as with so many things in Mexico, it may not be a matter of policy, but rather a random decision made locally.

Nevertheless, questions about what the future holds for expats who are currently enrolled in Seguro Popular keep coming. At the moment, though, we have not been able to get adequate answers. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available, but the change is unlikely to be speedy.

If you have had personal experiences related to recent events with Seguro Popular, we’d love to share them with others.


  1. I renewed my SP recently (February 2019) and had no difficulties. I renewed at the small hospital near Jocotepec, Jalisco. My coverage was renewed for 3 years. They required the usual; Originals and copies of comprobante de domicilio, and my old SP policy. They did not ask for a copy of my residente permanente card, which surprised me. The new thing they did want was a copy of my Mexican driver’s license. I always take more than I need, so luckily I had copies with me.

  2. Thanks for the update, Julia. I’m sure that many who are currently enrolled in SP will find your post reassuring. I hope we’ll hear from others, too.

  3. I’m a resident of Mexico, living in San Miguel de Allende. This week I tried to renew my SP and was told that I needed to become a citizen in order to get SP. I’ve have my residente permanente and have had SP first for a 3 year span, and then last year they would only renew for 1 year. Now they won’t renew it and told me to go to the naturalization office. Since I am not eligible for another year or so, I can’t get my citizenship nor get the Seguro Popular, according to their office here in San Miguel de Allende.

    • Just want to add that some expat friends of mine, having a residente permanente, same as me, did get theirs renewed this month, but for one year. So they seem to be picking who they will allow according to some criteria which is not apparent to me,,,,much less written anywhere.

  4. As I suspected, there is no consistentcy with regard to expat applicants or renewals with Seguro Popular at this time. Decisions seem to be made locally based on unknown criteria or perhaps even the whim of local staff. There may not be an overarching policy yet.

    Given the current political situation, the pressure being applied to end Central American and Mexican migration, etc., it may be some time before this is resolved. For example, yesterday an expat reported that a rather large US Coast Guard vessel was sitting at the entrance to the port in Puerto Vallarta.This cannot be a comfortable time for Mexicans, even those who have traditionally been very generous with expats.


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