Let’s not leave you hanging with my promise to talk about your 4th option for health care in Mexico.
The Mexican health care system provides socialized programs and private. There are 2 socialize programs: Seguro Popular and IMSS. In fact, Seguro Popular is no longer available for expats. Your only option is IMSS. You are limited to go to a regional hospital where you will wait your turn (plan on being there for a good while), the resources are strained and therefore, limited. Sometimes, even the most basic medicine, like Ibuprofen, is not available. While you can use this program, you are going to sacrifice better care for sure. If you’ve decided to make the move to Mexico, then Mexico shouldn’t foot the bill for your health care. And you want something better than what this can provide you.
Okay, so you’re on your way to the hospital…if you have chosen a private hospital (it is highly likely you have), you will be treated right away. There is rarely a wait. They will figure out what is wrong with you and stabilize you. At this point you will have a visitor from the billing office come to welcome you and ask for a deposit to start your treatment. They will give you the estimate and you must pay to proceed with your treatment. This is why you need the credit card with a $3,000 USD limit. They will also consider a bank transfer or cash. If you cannot pay, your treatment ends here and you will be responsible for services to that point.
Some costs will sound relatively inexpensive. For example, the cost of an MRI is about $4000 pesos, roughly $210 USD. That’s a far cry from the $15,000 USD bill in the US. A visit to the doctor will set you back about $700 pesos, roughly $36 USD. However – HOWEVER – if you have a compound fracture, it will cost you about $247,000 pesos, or roughly $13,000. A heart stent is around $190,000 – $1,140,000 pesos, or $10,000-60,000 USD. It’s the unexpected, big emergencies that add up.
Do you see why you might want health care coverage?
Seeking some professional advice on the matter, I asked Brett LaMar, a licensed broker with WeExpats Insurance Solutions. Brett and his wife having been living in PV for over 4 years.
What are the top 3 types of claims filed?
#1 Cardio Issues, #2 Orthopedic Issues, and all of the rest are pretty equal coming in 3rd.
What happens if I need to go to the hospital but I don’t have health coverage?
When you arrive in a private hospital for major issues you will be stabilized but before any further treatment is done you will be required to show proof of payment via credit card and apply a deposit usually in the sum of $2000 – $3000 USD. Otherwise you can show that you have an international health insurance policy and the billing department can work out a direct payment agreement with the hospital as long as you have satisfied your deductible.
How do pre-existing conditions work here in Mexico?
Pre-existing conditions are usually excluded, or included with a deductible load for that specific condition only. Some pre-existing conditions make your completely uninsurable. Excluded pre-existing conditions are sometimes able to be revised at policy renewal. For example, if you are no longer taking medication for said condition due to lifestyle changes or if you can show MRI ́s that the condition is now stable a few years after surgery is completed.
Brett can provide you with options for your situation. Cost of the policy depends on age and previous conditions. The cost of an International health care policy (coverage anywhere in the world) is 50-70% less than your average US private health insurance.
If you are over 60, you’ll need to take a health exam. If you’re under 60, you will need to complete a health questionnaire.
In Part 3, we’ll explore how a Medical Evacuation works.
Want to know how this applies to your circumstances? Click below to receive a free quote from Brett.