By Brent May
How does healthcare insurance work in Mexico? It’s not complicated to find out if you’re covered with your current plan or to become insured with a new, international plan. Be sure you have the appropriate health insurance when you travel to Mexico. Whether you are a retiree, world traveler, student, or expat you should be sure to have adequate medical coverage for your time away from home. And depending on your Mexican residency status, you might be able to use the Mexican health care system. Read on to know more about healthcare coverage in Mexico.
Start With Your Current Insurance Provider
The first step is to contact your current insurance provider. Let them know where you are going and how long you will be gone. Ask them if they can cover you during your travels and what that specific coverage will include or exclude. Be sure to ask about repatriation in case you need to get home or to a distant hospital fast.
Also, be sure to ask what the process is for submitting claims so there are no surprises down the road and so that you are ready in case the need arises.
Private International Insurance Plans
If you need to find a private international insurance plan, there are many to choose from and there are organizations that can help you find and manage the best plan for your situation. Below is a shortlist of companies with international plans. We don’t recommend a particular one as each is appropriate for individual needs. You will want to explore these and others based on your needs.
You will want to be sure your international health insurance plan can also follow you to other countries outside of Mexico. A Mexican health insurance plan is usually only valid locally.
Whether you are in Huatulco, Merida, or anywhere else in Mexico, ask the medical facility you are visiting if they will accept your insurance. Some will and some won’t.
For example, Merida is an expanding community and several of its facilities accept foreign insurance. This is also true in Huatulco.
One such hospital that accepts nearly all insurances is Hospital Faro del Mayab in Merida. It is the newest specialty hospital in Merida and has over 200 doctors and specialists. Many of their doctors are fluent in English and other languages.
Hospital Faro del Mayab works with Amexcare to process insurance claims. Amexcare is one of the foreign claims companies that assist travelers as well as national citizens who have foreign insurance policies (such as a Mexican national: someone who lives in Mexico part of the year but has a U.S. health insurance policy).
Amexcare also works with other Merida hospitals: Hospital CEM Centro de Especialidades Médicas del Sureste,Onkort, and the newest EME RED Hospital. These same Merida hospitals will work with almost all foreign insurances.
But What About Healthcare Quality?
Medical care and specialists cost significantly less in Mexico. The quality of care is high, and facilities are modern. Many Mexican doctors have trained in Canada and the U.S.
Prescriptions are also a fraction of the cost as in the States and are high quality (generics here meet high-quality standards).
Community expat sites and Facebook groups are excellent places to find specific information about local doctors, pharmacies, and costs.
Long-term care, which is expensive in Canada and the United States, can easily be arranged locally with negotiable pricing. Doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel will come to your home or hotel.
What About Mexican Public Insurance Plans?
If you have Mexican residency, the medical plans you might qualify for are INSABI (formerly Seguro Popular) which is for temporary or permanent residents; or IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social) which is for employed people.
The main downside to the Mexican plans is that you are not normally able to choose your own doctor and the coverage does not extend abroad, to the private sector, or for your home country. International private health insurance is the best option.
Check the Cedula
Finally, to ensure the medical person you are using has legal professional status they must have a Cedula or their registration number for practicing in Mexico. You can ask for their Cedula number and check it online at either http://www.cedulaprofesional.sep.gob.mx/cedula/indexAvanzada.action or http://www.buholegal.com/consultasep/
In conclusion, it is wise to do some easy homework before you relocate or travel to Mexico. Be informed and carry the names and contact information you might need. Keep your emergency and embassy contacts handy. Canadian Embassy. U.S. Embassy. Emergencies are difficult and can be scary so if you have a system in place, you will be prepared.