Mexico HealthCare, IMSS
Let me tell you about Mexico’s version of Medicare.
Age is not a consideration for IMSS Healthcare.
It’s the closest thing you can get to universal healthcare in Mexico. And yes, it is available to foreign residents.
In fact, public healthcare is guaranteed to all Mexican citizens regardless of pre-existing conditions. (Foreign residents of Mexico are eligible for IMSS healthcare, without exception, other than those who suffer from chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease. If you do have a pre-existing condition, it’s mandatory you discuss it with a doctor at IMSS to see if it would be covered later, or if it will affect your coverage as a whole.)
If you are accepted, IMSS healthcare covers only minor illness, such as colds etc., and nothing involving surgery the first year. The second year the insurance will cover everything other than broken bones, and orthopedic surgery. The third year finally covers everything. Medication is covered as well for anything needed for diagnoses, and it is provided to you during your visit. Prescriptions are not covered if you buy it at any other pharmacy.
Any pre-existing condition that is not reported and later found to exist causes cancellation of all coverage. Again, I must stress: If you do have a pre-existing condition, it’s mandatory you discuss it with a doctor at IMSS to see if it would be covered later, or if it will affect your healthcare coverage as a whole.
Mexico’s healthcare system is a part of their social security system called “Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social” or IMSS for short. The IMSS is a tripartite system funded equally by private employees, private employers, and the federal government.
Requirements for proof of birth date, nationality, etc. can be satisfied with a current passport. Doctors at the clinic can conduct the necessary examination and determine eligibility.
Upon acceptance, cost is per person per year and according to age: as much as 3000 pesos for age 60+ to as low as 977 pesos for age 19 and under (these rates are for March 2004). The cost is subject to change from year to year.
IMSS healthcare is available in most major cities and it takes about 6 to 9 months for coverage to be activated after acceptance. Once accepted, you are a life member as long as premiums are paid.
1. Clinics with general practitioner who is qualified to handle minor illnesses and injuries.
2. Small hospitals with surgeons, internists and pediatricians.
3. Large intensive-care facilities with various specialists.
The general requirements for joining the IMSS program are:
1. You will be asked to complete a questionnaire, with the assistance of a doctor. (Make sure you report all pre-existing conditions – it can put your coverage at risk if you don’t)
2. Submit to a basic medical examination which includes checking your blood pressure and listening to your heart. Other tests may be requested.
This is from one of my friends living in Mexico:
“Mexican national health insurance through IMSS (the Social Security system here) can be purchased by foreign residents. Runs around $300 or so per person per year. However, we’re in good health, and prefer to pay out of pocket for private care if and when the need arises. Private care here is so affordable that paying as you go is a viable option, depending upon your risk tolerance and the depth of your resources.”
The cost of the health care coverage is approximately $350.00 U.S. per year. You may apply only in January, February, July and August. This program is open to all foreigners regardless of nationality and/or immigration status.
Healthcare article by Barbie.
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Barbie Parks is the publisher and editor of MoneySavingMexico.com. She is the author of Retire In Luxury: How To Retire Abroad And Live Better on Less and her latest book, Money Saving Mexico: How To Save Money On Everything South of the Border.