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Melanie Lansing of Mexico Insurance Advisors – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The best strategy for health insurance in Mexico is:
  1. Find an insurance agent in Mexico who offers many different options: Mexican, International and Expat health plans.
  2. Find a bilingual / bicultural agent who can assist you with navigating the Mexican health & medical systems.
  3. Purchase a full cover, full term plan that offers guaranteed lifetime renewability in the contract.
  4. Speak to your agent about pre-existing medical conditions and how they might be covered.
  5. Compare & contrast different health insurance plans, benefits, and deductibles.
  6. Don´t go without it! Health insurance protects not only your retirement nest egg, but also your dream of living in Mexico!
 
Dan Dathe – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Mexico delivers health care through 3 systems:
 
IMSS Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social – a social security benefit funded by the government, employer, & employee. It is available to permanent residents but non-citizen enrollment is subject to underwriting and coverage can be denied, coverages excluded, or waiting periods required.
 
Below is the current 2018 rate schedule for IMSS age brackets in pesos and US dollars at the current exchange rate in parentheses:
 
Annual rate MX
0-19 $ 3,250 ($177)
20-29 $ 3,850 ($210)
30-39 $ 4,100 ($223)
40-49 $ 5,700 ($311)
50-59 $ 6,000 ($337)
60-69 $ 8,700 ($475)
70-79 $ 9,050 ($494)
80 y más $ 9,100 ($497)
 
Seguro Popular – public universal coverage available to all citizens and permanent residents who are not eligible for other government plans. There is no pre-existing condition clause. Enrollment rates range from free to a sliding scale based upon multiple factors.
 
Both IMSS and Seguro Popular are regarded as offering very good to excellent care and treatment through its network of public hospitals and clinics; the majority of Mexican citizens secure coverage through one of these public plans. Private practitioners are duty-bound to work a regular schedule within both public systems. Naturally quality of health care varies from one locale to another and generally the more populated the metro area the greater the accessibility to quality care.   
 
Private Medical Insurance, a private sector insurance policy delivered through private care facilities. Similar to coverage in the U.S., it is more costly, subject to underwriting, but can provide more comprehensive extended coverage.  Procuring new coverage at/beyond age 60-64 is improbable. Some underwriters will continue to cover existing insureds up to age 100 but premium escalates significantly.
 
Some expats choose to enroll in either IMSS or Seguro Popular and supplement coverage with a private sector catastrophic policy.
 
Carriers such as SIGNA and BlueCross/BlueShield underwrite global travel/student/business insurance for temporary or permanent residence abroad. These plans are geared toward foreign study and lengthy business assignments and foreign nationals in Mexico who are part-time expats and not permanent residents. These global plans, in particular plans that include coverage in the U.S., are comprehensive but costly. 
Francisco Gutierrez of Isaac Insurance – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The best strategy for health insurance in Mexico, is the one that is tailored specifically for you.  If you read all the valuable contributions shown so far, you are on the right track. You would know already that there are many options available, but, with those many options, which one is the best for you?
 
I lived in the US and then in Canada for a few years and was always told to get the advice of a licensed local Insurance Agent. Better an independent broker, used to compare different carriers and plans, and suggest what better suits you. The same advice is valid in México.  Nevertheless, if you still don´t have your residency card, Mexican insurance companies may not write a policy for you, for legal and underwriting reasons.
 
Then you have to resort to certain carriers that are all around the world, which offer International Health or Travel Insurance. They sell through Internet or through travel agents, who are advised "Not to play the Insurance expert", because they are not licensed.  They may be based in Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Ukraine, etc., and their operations may or may not be supervised by local authorities. Some have commercial offices in America. There is nothing wrong a priori, because we here are all "International" and open to different cultures and ideas, but if you are not very familiar with health insurance concepts, limitations and procedures, mostly because you have relied on your local provider, it is critical for you to get the help of an agent who can tell you how things really work in Mexico, and also see what is available all around, and how can you combine, let´s say your Provincial Care, your Medicare, your parts A, B, or your supplemental coverage, with the Health System in México. See if you can use it here, or at least get reimbursed for money spent here, and then, how can you get the proper documentation to request reimbursement back home.
 
It is a big issue. Legislators and authorities are still working on how the International Insurance Products can be sold in a practical, safe way to consumers, because there is a real need. Even American Carriers are cautious. Few offer International Coverage, or do it through their off-shore units.
 
Then, we have the "consumer groups" or "clubs" which are even championed by opponents to Obama Care, as the alternative for making health care affordable, But please remember, health care is expensive by itself, and there are insurance carriers who have hundreds of thousands of participants in their book of business, who get eaten by the loss ratio. Forming groups is not a new idea in México. We had our experiences during the 80´s and 90´s, with results so bad to insurers and clients, that the authorities had to make changes in Laws and Rules.
 
The cost of Medical attention in Mexico, is about 30% of what would cost in the US and Canada.
 
If you wish to get quality attention, then your Insurance premium should be about 30% of what costs in your country, deductible no more than 30% of your foreign deductible, and works very different.
 
Discounted prices will buy you discounted coverage.
 
The average claim paid by Mexican insurance is about $4,000 US Dollars. Insurers negotiate lower rates with providers. If you go straight to the doctor or hospitals you can be charged twice as much. For those reasons I suggest your deductible in Mexico to be between $1,000 and $1,500 USD. It works per each illness. Very different from US or Canada.
 
With a $4,000 or higher deductible you would be excluding most medical procedures and treatments performed in Mexico. The worst part, is when need a medical treatment, but you estimate that would have to be paid out of pocket because is lower than your deductible, you may give up your access to quality providers and go to a cheaper, almost gray market, which can become costly.
 
Mexican insurance companies have different age limits, exclusions, waiting periods, regional rates, many combinations of deductible and co-insurance, as well as quality tiered network providers. Some speak English, most don´t.  So, really please get a good agent. It won´t  cost you more, and can make a difference in one of your highest priorities while abroad-- your health.
Yvon Marier of Travel  Info Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Child recieving care with Medevac Insurance, Mazatlan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWhen retiring in Mexico, what we recommend is to have Mexican insurance and to keep your insurance in Canada or in the US as well. Travel Med EVAC covers your transfer from one hospital to another and if you have to spend 1-3 days in the hospital in Mexico before going back to the US or Canada, your healthcare insurance in the US or Canada will not cover your hospital fees, but your Mexican insurance will.
 
In addition, it’s good to have Mexican healthcare insurance for when you have minor injuries such as breaking your arm and other procedures that are not big enough to require medical evacuation, because you do get healthcare coverage for these.
 
Another thing to keep in mind is if you have healthcare insurance, you have to renew your membership every year. A lot of times, as they get older, people cannot afford to keep their medical insurance anymore. With Med EVAC YVON, as long as you renew your membership, you remain a member. Med EVAC YVON is not going to cut you off because you turn 75 or even 95. As long as you pay your membership, you’ll be okay.
 
As an example, I was talking to a couple the other day who stayed in Mexico for six to seven months and spent almost CA $6,000 (US $4,500) on hospital bills. They said that if they had bought a Travel MED EVAC membership for $300 and put $5,000 in the bank, they would still have had enough money to cover a day or two in the hospital and then fly back home.
 
Healthcare in Mexico is inexpensive enough to pay out of pocket without Mexican insurance. If you can afford to have both Mexican insurance and insurance in the US or Canada, I would recommend it. If you cannot afford to have both, I would recommend that you go with Travel MED EVAC. 
 
Here at Travel MED EVAC, we had a couple of sad cases this year. For example, a lady asked me the other day if she could get Travel Med EVAC. I told her it’s not a problem. After talking to her for a while, she said, “I just spent five days in the hospital, and I need to go back to the US.” She bought airline tickets from Mazatlán to Mexico City, and then from Mexico City to the US. She passed away in Mexico City a few weeks ago before she could get back to her healthcare providers in the US.
 
(Child receiving care with Travel MED EVAC Insurance, Mazatlan, Mexico, pictured.)
 
 
Valerie Friesen of Blue Angel Solutions – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Medjet Assist – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAn expat thinking about retiring in Mexico should plan ahead and investigate the different health insurance offerings. 
 
There are two kinds of expat residents in Mexico. One type is like me who have made the choice to live full time in Mexico. We have chosen to secure a private medical insurance policy. Not all expats would be comfortable with this. 
 
This private medical insurance policy can be complemented with the different Mexican public insurance benefits handled by IMSS or Seguro Popular that are available to expats who are living full time in Mexico.
 
Sometimes there may be confusion between the Mexican public medical insurance Seguro Popular and a Mexican private medical insurance company called Plan Seguro. 
 
The other type of expat resident in Mexico would be what we could call "snowbirds," or expats who would be in Mexico four to six months and other tourists on vacation. These foreigners generally would not be able to access the Mexican public insurance. Snowbirds can have a home in Mexico, but don't stay 12 months a year in Mexico. If they want to get a Mexican private medical insurance policy, they have to live in Mexico for a minimum period of six continuous months in a year. 
 
In general, there are two strategies for medical insurance that expats could employ if they stay in Mexico for at least six continuous months. 
 
Strategy A would be to arrange for medical travel insurance. This would particularly be for people who haven't travelled very long or those who rent, don't own property in Mexico and may not come back to Mexico again. Some of these policies can only last a maximum of three years and then the policy owner must switch plans. Getting the travel medical insurance presupposes that a person has some other full time medical insurance. The purpose of the travel insurance is to provide medical coverage temporarily while someone is out of the service area of his primary medical insurance.
 
I just had Canadian clients in my office who made the choice to take advantage of a travel insurance plan that we had. He and his wife had been coming down to Mexico for a number of years and trying out different parts of Mexico. They were over at Playa del Carmen for a while and his wife had a medical incident and the treatment cost was US $400. Their Canadian health insurance plan reimbursed them for only $50. In my client's mind, it would have been better to have bought a travel plan in that case because they would have been covered and fully reimbursed. 
 
The other strategy for expats staying in Mexico for six continuous months would be to buy a full medical insurance. Many expats do this and I have customers from Canada, and United States who  annually come to Mexico part-time and they've purchased  full medical insurance for years. 
 
Some expats who stay part-time in Mexico buy a very economical catastrophic insurance plan, which is a specified benefit kind of plan. A catastrophic event is defined as one that affects both the person's body and bank account simultaneously. Having a gall bladder removed is not catastrophic because the cost of the procedure is low. Examples of catastrophic events are: cardiac by-pass surgery, strokes, cancers, or major accidents- usually vehicular. 
 
The benefits from a catastrophic insurance plan are close to or exceed $150,000 USD / year.  Individuals who get this kind of plan say, "I'm not sure I want an evacuation plan because I need to be stable before I would be evacuated anyway. The bread-and-butter minor medical conditions like a bladder infection I can pay out of my own pocket. However, if I have a major trauma, I want the peace of mind that I am taken care of."
 
When it comes to medical evacuation plans, many companies operate the same way and they are very clear that they are transportation companies. You want to keep your insurance in the US or Canada or wherever you have it. What happens with med-evac plans is if something happens to a foreigner in Mexico and he has medical insurance in the US or Canada, he would want to be transported back to his home country where he is insured OR back to Mexico if travelling in Central or South America.
 
If a non-Canadian foreigner had a heart attack in Mexico and had to be rushed to a hospital in Guadalajara, this person needs to be stabilized and pay out of his own pocket for the hospital time, intensive care services, or other services in the hospital until the hospital decides that it is safe for the patient to be moved to another facility. 
 
There are a couple of med-evac options, but the inclusion is usually hospital to ground ambulance, to air ambulance, to another ground ambulance that would take the patient to the next hospital. The patient would not be discharged until he has found a hospital with an available bed and who is willing to accept him. The cost of how long it takes to stabilize an individual comes out of that individual's own pocket.
 
The agents who sell these med-evac policies have been asked, "Can you come up with a policy that covers up to $50,000 for medical evacuation?"  Unfortunately, no insurance company is going to offer a plan with $50,000 coverage that would cover stabilization services. It is financially infeasible as there are just not enough people who get these types of policies. 
 
An Air Ambulance evacuation is not the only option. There are times when patients are well enough to be accompanied by a medically-trained person on a commercial flight when transferring to a different hospital outside Mexico.
 
Peter F Gordon, MD of Lake Medical Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Peter F. Gordon MD in his first Puerto Vallarta medical office, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe see all kinds of arrangements here, from complete traditional coverage to no coverage at all. The cost for ambulatory health care is so reasonable that most people do not use their insurance for it. Some will ask for receipts to get reimbursed while others just pay out of pocket. The greatest worry is how to pay if a hospitalization is needed.
 
For people with no coverage, the private ambulatory services are so reasonable that almost everyone can afford it. When it comes to hospitalizations, there are some public facilities that evaluate each patient and their financial social situation before they charge them. They, too, are very reasonable and sometimes free, depending on the person’s circumstances.
 
Almost all the private hospitals work with a few big-name insurers and will bill the insurance company for the major portion of the bill, leaving the patient only with their deductible. In some cases, if the hospital does not work directly with the insurance company, the patient will have to pay the bill and get reimbursed from their insurance company, and the hospital will provide the necessary paperwork for the patient.
 
In our office, we have another solution: we offer a program that works with over 350 different international medical insurance companies at no additional cost. If the policy qualifies, and they almost always do, the patient is able to see a physician for $100 pesos or have a hospitalization for $500 pesos with no deductibles and no co-insurances. And they do not even have to communicate with their insurance company. We handle it all.
 
(Peter F. Gordon MD in his first Puerto Vallarta medical office, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, pictured.)
Cathie LoCicero of Travel MedEvac – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Patient being transported via Travel MedEvac – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMy best strategy for health insurance when retiring in Mexico is to also get an insurance policy that covers me in Mexico.  It depends on your economic situation and also depends on how close to the border you are. 
 
For most people who retire in Mexico and still have insurance as an American in the United States like Medicare or a Canadian who is still part of the Canadian medical system, the number one thing you want to do is to get home. 
 
People need to be very careful about insurance policies because you read the big print, but you don't read the small print. I always tell people, "When you get any kind of insurance, start at the back and read the restrictions, exclusions, and conditions first, then go to the front because you need to know what you're not covered for." 
 
If it's important for you to go home, you want a good, solid air evacuation program that's going to take you home or wherever you want to go in the United States or Canada without the restriction that you can only be brought to the nearest facility if you cannot be treated where you are first hospitalized. Most of these programs will say, "If you cannot be properly treated where you are first hospitalized, A-B-C or X-Y-Z program will pay to transport you." The next step it says is, "To the closest medical facility capable of treating you." 
 
If you're in Cabo San Lucas and you break a hip or have a heart attack and they take you to some smaller hospital there, this smaller hospital will treat you immediately with what they can do, but they really don't have the facility to treat you further. You have an insurance policy that says that their legal obligation if you can't be treated where you are currently is to move you to the closest facility that can treat you further. Nine times out of ten, they will bring you to the new H+ hospital, which is a magnificent medical center with everything in that hospital that you can imagine. 
 
I've toured the H+ hospital twice and have gone there to see a couple of doctors. They've got a medical office building with all kinds of doctors next to the big hospital.
 
The transport insurance program's only obligation is to get you to the H+ hospital. If you wanted to get back home, you want a program that sits on top of anything else you have that's going to guarantee that you get to a medical facility in the United States or Canada. 
 
I use myself as an example because my American home is in Scottsdale, Arizona and there happens to be a Mayo Clinic right here in Scottsdale. I tell people, "If you're visiting me in Scottsdale and we go to lunch, have a couple of glasses of wine, and step in front of the Scottsdale Trolley and get mowed down and the paramedics take you to the Mayo Clinic, you may very well want to stay there because it's like being in a spa." However, if you're visiting me from Seattle, Washington, your family would probably prefer to have you back home where they could visit and keep an eye on you. Your insurance would never pay to take you back home because that's just not part of their contract. 
 
For medical care in Mexico, there are some very fine insurance policies that you can get that are very affordable because medicine and medical care is less expensive in Mexico. You can get a policy that covers you as an expat or even as a frequent visitor. If you're coming back and forth, you can get a policy that covers you specifically for healthcare in the country of Mexico. That's something that you would definitely need to have if you did not want to go home or even if you just wanted to have a cushion to make sure that you would have the option to just stay in Mexico or go back home. 
 
There are age restrictions in Mexico on getting insured. Don't wait until you're too old. There are some policies that you must take out before you're 65 years old. Other policies, you must take out before you turn 75. 
 
One thing I would request people not to do for a couple of reasons is to enroll in Mexican insurance programs that Mexico has for their own citizens. This probably will go against other people giving advice about insurance in Mexico. There are programs in Mexico called "Seguro Popular" (the popular insurance), which is for the working class or low income class people. There's the "Seguro Social" (Mexico's social security program handled by the IMSS). As expat residents, you can actually pay for those programs and they will cover you. It's cheap for Americans and Canadians to sign up for these programs.
 
First of all, on a moral basis, and this has nothing to do with being an insurance agent, foreign visitors to Mexico should not take advantage of these systems even though they're very inexpensive because the hospitals are oversaturated already. They're trying to take care of their own people. I've been in these Seguro hospitals and some of them are new and very nice. 
 
I've gone into health because when I had my youth group, I had 36 kids in my group and I would help the kids and their moms. It would just be so sad to go in the waiting room of one of these hospitals. The locals get in line about five or six o'clock in the morning to take a number. They are so sick or carrying sick babies. Everybody's coughing and sneezing. If you're not sick when you go in there, you're going to be sick when you come out. The people wait for hours and hours. 
 
One of my friends in Puerto Vallarta and her son decided that they would make sandwiches with sliced Mexican ham and mayonnaise, put them in little bags, and buy cases of water. They go around the waiting rooms and hand out sandwiches and water. Some of the locals are afraid to get some because they think they need to pay. My friend says, "No, gratis (free of charge)." There's no food and water for them in the waiting rooms and the locals sit there for hours. It's just sad that these Mexicans are so poor and they don't have any other option because they're so sick. 
 
We had one of our air-evac members fall and break his hip and they took him to the Seguro hospital in Guadalajara, but nobody knew that he had been taken there. His gardener found him fallen on the ground, called an ambulance, and took him to the hospital. He was an elderly man who was out of it. He didn't ask the medical personnel to phone anyone so none of the gringos knew that he was there. 
 
Finally, somebody realized that they hadn't seen the old guy and tracked him down. He'd been laying on a gurney in the hallway with a broken hip for three days. They gave him food and water while he was lying down in the hallway. The point is that the hospital was just so oversaturated that they could not attend to him. They did not even have a bed to put the poor, old guy in. 
 
You really do need private insurance. If you're going to move to Mexico, put that in your budget as part of what you need. I'm always open to help people and give advice on which program and insurance policy would fit their needs the best and interview people personally because there's not a one-size-fits-all policy. 
 
Here in the United States, people are always complaining, "These immigrants come over here and they suck up our services, get to use our emergency rooms, and we pay for them." If you're an American and you think about that, the fact that these poor immigrants come over to America to get jobs and the employers abuse them so much that they don't provide them with any medical benefits on these jobs. Americans, through our taxes, end up paying for the medical care of people who are desperate and go to our emergency rooms when they are sick or they have sick children.
 
As a responsible person going to live in another country, make health insurance a part of your budget and plan to take care of your own medical needs either out of pocket or through private insurance you purchased.
 
(Patient being transported via Travel MedEvac,Mexico, pictured.)
Juan Eufracio Marquez Flores of LM&A Immigration and Legal Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Graphic for Seguro Popular, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf you have Blue Cross it’s really good because you can have access to the best hospitals in Guadalajara and automatically the Blue Cross will cover those services, surgeries or anything else.  If you have Blue Cross you can check which hospitals in Guadalajara or in Mexico in general will cover you for surgeries or any treatment and that’s in the private hospitals.
 
Another option is if you already have American health insurance, there are a lot of expects who would like to get IMSS or Seguro Popular here in Mexico.   The majority gets it just in case of an emergency when they have a health insurance in US that will not cover anything in Mexico. So for a person who has US health insurance that will not cover here in Mexico, basically they have 3 options: IMSS, Seguro Popular, or buy Mexican health insurance from any private company.
 
I usually will recommend IMSS for people who will only have major surgeries or accidents. I do not recommend it for a regular treatment like a cold, flu or anything of those. For these issues, I suggest to go to a private doctor because it’s much faster. IMSS and Seguro Popular will cover any accident or any major surgery. When a foreigner gets into an accident, the Red Cross is usually the first paramedics on the scene. Usually they will check the accident victim’s ID. If they don’t have any ID and if the Red Cross cannot contact a relative, they will send the patient probably to a private hospital, which is why it’s very important to have IMSS and your IMSS card, so in the event of an accident, you will be taken to an IMSS hospital and they will take care of the surgery, which is much, much less expensive than the alternative. To get enrolled into IMSS, the foreigner would have to be Residente Temporal, they need their birth certificate, electric bill/utility bill, and then one picture and CURP.
 
A CURP is a registration number. It’s similar to the social security number that every person has in the US. Here we call it CURP.  In order to get a CURP, the foreigner would first have to get their immigration card and then request a CURP card from the immigration authorities, which will take about one week. With the IMSS, the applicant has to do a medical evaluation—heart, blood, urine, the entire set of medical tests—so that the doctor can evaluate if the person qualifies. If that person has a pre-existing illness or condition, the applicant will not be qualified. These disqualifying conditions include cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and any neurological disease. There are others but those are the most common. 
 
If the applicant qualifies, they will get IMSS. Once they get the IMSS, in order to get the full coverage, they have to be enrolled for 3 years. The first year will only cover accidents and some medical attention. The second year will cover some surgeries and not dental or eye care. The third year provides full coverage. That means after the third year if they have full coverage, if the person has cancer or diabetes, the patient can be treated and the IMSS will cover any surgery and for your medication and anything else for free. They can get free medication too. And also when a person has IMSS, besides medication and the surgery, it will also will cover any x-rays or any tests. 
 
When you have IMSS you have to go to the IMSS clinic. The person cannot go to a private doctor. Which IMSS clinic to go to is determined by where the person lives. If the people live in the county of Chapala that means that they only will go to the county of Chapala clinic. If the people live in the county of Jocotepec, those persons only will have to go to the clinic in Jocotepec. Those clinics are basically for emergencies and they are not hospitals. That means in those clinics they can take care of flu, cold or any infection. But for any surgery, they will take the patient to a regional hospital. That regional hospital is in Tla Jomulco for Jocotepec and the lakeside.
 
The La Jomulco IMSS hospital is the one that takes care of the majority of the counties that are around the lake. Even in that regional hospital, they can cover hemodialysis, hernia surgery, and some dental but there are other IMSS hospitals in Guadalajara that have certain specialties like heart, and renal care. And if that regional hospital would not cover certain surgeries they will take the patient to a hospital in Guadalajara where they have the equipment and all the needed medical attention. 
 
For IMSS, you have to pay every year. That means that the foreigner needs to pay every year and the fee depends on the age. Right now the maximum fee is 4,506 pesos (US $246). There is no age limit. That means that the foreigner can be 70 years old or 80 years old and if he qualifies with all the medical tests, they can be entitled. And that means that if he gets to 90 years old, he or she will still get the service.
 
IMSS is a federal health insurance but the IMSS was created only for workers. That means that all the employers will have to register to put all their workers into IMSS. IMSS has service for persons who are not employees but they only want the medical attention. If a foreigner has a gardener or a maid, by law they have to give IMSS to the employee and that employee can get free medical attention with the fee that the employer pays to the IMSS. So basically that’s what the IMSS charges to the foreigners or to any Mexican that only wants medical attention. 
 
Then the Seguro Popular is also another branch of the Department of Health of Mexico and it’s very similar like the IMSS. They only cover medical attention, while IMSS also gives protection to the workers and any employer can get their pension what the employer is declaring that the employee is making. The Seguro Popular is basically medical attention. To get enrolled to Seguro Popular, they only need their CURP, electric bill, immigration residence status (either Permanente or Temporal) and that’s it. Seguro Popular is free. That means that the foreigner doesn’t have to pay a thing. But there are some surgeries where they are going to do some social-economical evaluation and if they see that the person is a foreigner and they want a surgery, instead of charging the full surgery that they will charged in a private hospital it will be minimum. For example, if a foreigner needs a surgery maybe either a Mexican or a foreigner only will be charged 3,000 pesos (US $164), which is basically nothing and it can save up to 30,000 pesos (US $1,640) when they get it. And there are some surgeries that can be full coverage, either provided by Seguro Popular to a foreigner or to a Mexican.  Seguro Popular needs to renewed every 2 or 3 years but there is no fee that needs to be paid. 
 
Just like IMSS, there is a small clinic in every town for Seguro Popular and those small clinics are for regular medical attention which I also do not recommend because of what the patient has to do in order be seen.  The patient needs to go there, write their name on the list, and wait until his turn. If you have a fever or a cold won’t want to wait, which is why I recommend using a private doctor. If a person wants to use Seguro Popular, hat person needs to be patient.  Sometimes in these small clinics when they see that the person really has some fever, that patient can jump ahead of the others waiting in line.
 
When Seguro Popular says that it can give full coverage on any accidents or surgeries but the difference between IMSS and Seguro Popular is that with IMSS you have to pay every year and in order to get full coverage you have to be 3 years. Seguro Popular right away.  The government runs both IMSS and Seguro Popular. 
 
Many expats don’t sign up for Seguro Popular or IMSS because sometimes they don’t know. Now they’re starting to know. Maybe some have an excellent opinion on the IMSS and they will highly recommend the IMSS. There are others who will say, “No, I don’t like the IMSS. I like Seguro Popular,” but that’s their individual experience. If you ask me which one of the two I recommend, if you’re talking about equipment and if you’re talking coverage, it would be IMSS because once you get the full coverage, if the person for example has cancer he will receive the whole complete treatment until the end. 
 
If a foreigner comes and does not have IMSS, does not have insurance from the US that will cover here, they didn’t have a Blue Cross and they don’t have Seguro Popular, they can go to Hospital Civil. The University of Guadalajara runs hospital Civil and it’s basically a hospital that gives a lot of services. It’s for poor people who cannot afford coverage.  However, there will always be a minimum fee for any type of surgery or treatment.
 
(Graphic for Seguro Popular, Mexico, pictured.)
Michael Keller of Guardian Insurance Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Michael Keller talking with expat retiree about health insurance – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf you plan on retiring and living in Mexico full time, it would be best for you to purchase a private, year round Mexican health insurance policy.
 
Depending on the company, they all have waiting periods that you need to be insured with them before you can get coverage for certain illnesses and diseases. For example, you have the wait time is two years for HIV and AIDs. Some companies need you to have stayed here for 60 days for anything else. Some companies need you to have stayed here for a year for you to be covered for cancer.
 
So if you’re coming here at a certain age or if you’re planning on retiring down here in Mexico, it’s best to buy the policy 6 months a year and start ahead of time so you can start knocking out some of those waiting periods before you get down here for anything that could possibly happen.
 
It important to know that Medicare is not accepted at all if you are outside of the US. What some people do is to get insurance with a health insurance company here in Mexico that we work with that will also insure them in the United States so they are not paying for two policies. I know one person who has a US $1,200 premium in Mexico, which is half of what he was paying in the States to get the coverage in the US and in Mexico. So sometimes, when people know that this option is available and they are carrying two insurance policies – one for the US, and one for Mexico, they cancel their US health insurance and just stick with the one they have for Mexico and everywhere else in the world.
 
(Pictured: Michael Keller talking with expat retiree about health insurance.)
John Venator of Casa de los Venados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
AirMed International plane – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe have Medicare, which everybody should sign up for. We also participate in the Medicare prescription drug program. As long as you have a way of either going frequently to the US or if you have friends or friends of friends coming to see you periodically, they can bring you down the prescription medicines, and that works for us.
 
We have Medicare supplemental insurance, which will pay for services here in Mexico. As our safety net, we pay an annual subscription price for a company called Medjet. There are other comparable companies but this is one that I chose because it is the one that my employer, since I traveled internationally a lot, used for me and other employees that traveled internationally. Before we even get hospitalized, we would be brought back in a medical jet to the US. They only downside is that with Medjet, they won’t cover anyone after the age of 80, so at that point, you have to figure out what you want to do. 
 
A friend of my parents, who had a condo in Cabo San Lucas, where my parents came down every winter, unfortunately had a major heart attack and her son, who just ironically happened to be a doctor, had her “Medjetted” back to Denver from Cancun for $27,000. If you figure the once in a lifetime expense versus the money we pay annually to Medjet, and you want to be self-insured, then you have to pay if you think that that is what you have to do to get back to a hospital in the US. You also have to decide whether you want to pay insurance up to at least age 80 or do you want to roll the dice and if you have a hit, you pay Medjet all at one time.
 
(AirMed International plane, Medjet, pictured.)

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