Living in Mexico. EVERYTHING you need to know (and then some)
medical insurance for mexico. do you need it and how to get it
August 11, 2021
In all the years I’ve lived here, I can honestly say I have not spent more than $1,000 (USD or Canadian equivalent) on medical expenses. I’m a relatively healthy 50-year-old woman who eats well and exercises five mornings a week.
I work all seven days (so likely too much work aka, stress) but I have picked up the Mexican siesta tradition, which means I get a lot of sleep, which seems to help destress. Since my 30s, I have dumped my previous bad habits which were social drinking too much and social smoking…also too much.
Mexico has been a clean slate for me since moving here and is something I truly appreciate. The fresh air, fresh made foods and the lack of reason to get out and get moving every day. In saying that, health care costs are not on my mind much because I don’t often require it.
As I write this, I’ve lived here, as a full time permanent resident, for 13 years and have never been to the hospital. I have, on a few occasions been to local doctors, at which time I simply paid cash. I am one of numerous foreigners living in Mexico on the pay-as-you-need medial system since it’s not something I need often and can pay for in cash when I do need it.
If you are someone with medical conditions and / or just want the medical insurance peace of mind, there are options. You can, before coming, investigate extending your current insurance to cover you while in Mexico. It is imperative to understand that not all hospitals take all forms of insurance as payment. You will need to cross reference and then double cross-check that your insurance company is accepted by area hospitals where you intend to live.
You can also sign up with an entirely different company that provides medical insurance specifically for foreigners here in Mexico. You will want to look that up by the region where you intend to live since again, not all hospitals across Mexico accept all forms of international medical insurance payments.
The other option is to sign up for Mexico’s public medical health system, Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS). To sign up, you need to be either a temporary or permanent resident. If you’re snowbirding, you cannot sign up. Once you are successfully in the system, you have to pay for at least four weeks before you can receive benefits.
If you work in Mexico as an employee, you are automatically enrolled in the IMSS health care system by your employer. In the event of an accident, IMSS will pay a portion of your salary for a maximum of 52 weeks.
If you are not an employer or an employee in Mexico, you can sign up voluntarily. After your four-week wait, you can then begin to receive coverage for medicine and hospital expenses as well as primary and secondary care, but there are limitations.
That is where, sometimes, private health insurance may be better. Private hospitals and clinics offer a different and sometimes more advanced range of services. They are often more modern when compared to public Mexican hospitals. Within the private system you will find English-speaking medical staff along with specialized services and often shorter wait times.
A random list of companies that say they offer medical insurance for foreigners include Allianz Care, Guardian Insurance Mexico as well as Insubuy, International Citizens Insurance and Foyer Global Health. I cannot (and am not) vouching for any of these companies. I am only doing a bit of your homework for you in locating companies that say they offer the service.
If you prefer to opt for Mexico’s public health care system, you can check it out here on the government’s official website. Aside from the usual personal information, you will be asked for your postal code, email address and CURP. If you don’t have a CURP, here is what it is and how you get one.