How Much Does It Cost to Be Treated at a Public Hospital in Mexico Without Insurance?


I recently wrote an article about my unexpected visit to a private hospital in Mexico to get stitched up after I slipped in the shower at a resort.

In case you missed it, here it is: My Trip to the Emergency Room in Mexico

That article prompted many readers to ask me how much it would have cost to go to a public health facility. This is a very good question, so I’ll attempt to answer it today.

Before we begin, it’s important to point out that Mexico has different types of public facilities.

Some local hospitals and clinics are operated at the state or local level, like the general hospital in Playa del Carmen, while others are operated at the federal level.

When it comes to state and local facilities, obviously prices can vary. After all, there are 31 states and one federal district. However, if we focus our attention at the federal level, things get a whole lot easier.

IMSS Hospitals and Clinics

El Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, or IMSS for short, is a government institution that is tasked with providing healthcare (among other services) to people who are enrolled in that public program.

Many foreign expats choose this healthcare option when they become permanent residents of Mexico. It’s not free, but many people find it very affordable and prefer the level of care over other public health insurance options like Seguro Popular.

IMSS operates over 6,000 family clinics and 390 hospitals. If you spend much time in Mexico, you’ll inevitably come across one or more of their facilities. Just look for this logo:

Even if you don’t have public health insurance, you can still be treated at an IMSS facility; however, you’ll have to pay.

Fortunately, you’ll have some idea what you will expect to pay because IMSS has a set fee schedule.

The most recent one was published in el Diario Official de la Federación on March 22, 2019.

Cost Breakdown by Type of Facility

***Remember, these fees only apply to people who are NOT covered by the appropriate public insurance program***

The original fee schedule is a few pages long, so I decided to just list a few of the common fees below.

You can see the original PDF document (in Spanish) here: 2019 IMSS Cuotas Para No Derechohabientes

Medical facilities are broken down into three levels, and some fees vary by level:

Level 1 Medical Facilities

Provides basic medical treatment, check-ups (e.g. clinics)

Type of ServiceCost in PesosApprox. Cost in Dollars (19:1)
Medical Consultation$783 MXN$41.21 USD
Dental Consultation$832 MXN$43.78 USD
X-Ray$346 MXN$18.21 USD
Ultrasound$546 MXN$28.73 USD
Physical Therapy Session$964 MXN$50.73 USD

Level 2 Medical Facilities

Provides more specialized medical care that includes internal medicine, surgeries, obstetrics and psychology (e.g. hospitals)

Type of ServiceCost in PesosApprox. Cost in Dollars (19:1)
Emergency Visit$1,164 MXN$61 USD
Basic Hospitalization (daily rate)$8,333 MXN$438 USD
Intensive Care (daily rate)$37,410 MXN$1,968 USD
MRI$4,199 MXN$221 USD
Surgical Procedure$22,829 MXN$1,201 USD

Level 3 Medical Facilities

Handles the most serious injuries and/or illnesses that require specialized care and advanced technology

Type of ServiceCost in PesosApprox. Cost in Dollars (19:1)
Emergency Consultation$3,089 MXN$162 USD
Heart Catheterization Procedure$42,864 MXN$2,256 USD
Radiation Treatment (per session)$2,077 MXN$109 USD
Chemotherapy (per session)$7,034 MXN$370 USD

Don’t assume that government operated hospitals and clinics will be your best option financially. Several news outlets in Mexico have reported that prices for many medical services are often lower at private facilities.

Let’s Wrap This Up

I’m not sure how long the IMSS fee schedule will be in effect.

The new president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), has promised to revise the public healthcare system in Mexico, making access to IMSS free for everyone — including people not covered by the appropriate public health insurance.

When the new IMSS fee schedule was published in March of this year, AMLO announced at a press conference that the fees would only be temporary — but he didn’t provide a date.

Qroo Paul

Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico ( to share their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

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