Mexico HealthCare, IMSS

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.

Healthcare, health care, MexicoIMSS hospitals are usually well equipped with many staff doctors known for their practices in private hospitals.

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.

IMSS

healthcare

consists of:

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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26 Responses to Mexico HealthCare, IMSS

  1. Allen Rogers

    November 21, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Barbie,

    I am 54 years old and planning on moving to Mexico in about 2 years to do missions work. I have been researching living in Mexico for the past 6 years. I really appreciate the articles that you have here concerning Healthcare. I just read this article and I was dismayed to find that you state: “And yes, it is available to foreign residents. In fact, public health care is guaranteed to all Mexican citizens regardless of pre-existing conditions. (Foreign residents of Mexico are eligible without exception, other than those who suffer from chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.)” I am dismayed because I am a type I diabetic. I had always understood before that I still would qualify even with being diabetic. Can you fill me in on more information?

    Thanks!

    Allen

  2. Bob Crooks

    November 21, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I have a related question. I have fully controlled Type II diabetes. I also have high blood pressure– well controlled, but with a number of medications. Would either of those disqualify me?

    Thanks,

    Bob

  3. W.J. Bear Valonis

    November 21, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I have an artificial aorta valve that was put in on 10/02/02 .Sounds like that will me not eligible. What are the alternative if I still want to live in Mazatlan?

  4. Barbie

    Barbie

    November 21, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Hi Bear, check my blog:
    http://moneysavingmexico.com/healthcare/imss/ and:
    http://moneysavingmexico.com/?s=imss and:
    http://moneysavingmexico.com/healthcare/mexico-health-care-costs/
    “In fact, public health care is guaranteed to all Mexican citizens regardless of pre-existing conditions. (Foreign residents of Mexico are eligible without exception, other than those who suffer from chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.)”
    And, from a friend 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.”

  5. Barbie

    Barbie

    November 21, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Dear Bob, No guarantees – only way to really find out is to fill out the papers – contact a Mexican insurance agent is what we did – and then find out – doesn’t take long, however, please read my response to Bear here.

  6. Barbie

    Barbie

    November 21, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Dear Allen – Please read my response to Bear.

  7. Jeff

    April 24, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I have an artificial aorta valve that was put in on 10/02/02 .Sounds like that will me not eligible. What are the alternative if I still want to live in Mazatlan?

  8. Brad

    April 24, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Dear Allen – Please read my response to Bear.

  9. George

    April 25, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Dear Allen – Please read my response to Bear.

  10. Simon

    April 25, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Barbie,

    I am 54 years old and planning on moving to Mexico in about 2 years to do missions work. I have been researching living in Mexico for the past 6 years. I really appreciate the articles that you have here concerning Healthcare. I just read this article and I was dismayed to find that you state: “And yes, it is available to foreign residents. In fact, public health care is guaranteed to all Mexican citizens regardless of pre-existing conditions. (Foreign residents of Mexico are eligible without exception, other than those who suffer from chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.)” I am dismayed because I am a type I diabetic. I had always understood before that I still would qualify even with being diabetic. Can you fill me in on more information?

    Thanks!

    Allen

  11. Dennis

    April 25, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Dear Bob, No guarantees – only way to really find out is to fill out the papers – contact a Mexican insurance agent is what we did – and then find out – doesn’t take long, however, please read my response to Bear here.

  12. David

    April 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Barbie,

    I am 54 years old and planning on moving to Mexico in about 2 years to do missions work. I have been researching living in Mexico for the past 6 years. I really appreciate the articles that you have here concerning Healthcare. I just read this article and I was dismayed to find that you state: “And yes, it is available to foreign residents. In fact, public health care is guaranteed to all Mexican citizens regardless of pre-existing conditions. (Foreign residents of Mexico are eligible without exception, other than those who suffer from chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.)” I am dismayed because I am a type I diabetic. I had always understood before that I still would qualify even with being diabetic. Can you fill me in on more information?

    Thanks!

    Allen

  13. Daniel

    April 27, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Dear Bob, No guarantees – only way to really find out is to fill out the papers – contact a Mexican insurance agent is what we did – and then find out – doesn’t take long, however, please read my response to Bear here.

  14. Richard

    April 27, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Barbie,

    I am 54 years old and planning on moving to Mexico in about 2 years to do missions work. I have been researching living in Mexico for the past 6 years. I really appreciate the articles that you have here concerning Healthcare. I just read this article and I was dismayed to find that you state: “And yes, it is available to foreign residents. In fact, public health care is guaranteed to all Mexican citizens regardless of pre-existing conditions. (Foreign residents of Mexico are eligible without exception, other than those who suffer from chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.)” I am dismayed because I am a type I diabetic. I had always understood before that I still would qualify even with being diabetic. Can you fill me in on more information?

    Thanks!

    Allen

  15. alena kusi

    July 16, 2010 at 3:59 am

    my husband, 65 and i, 60 years old would like to retire in mexico in 2 years. he is a type II diabetic and an diabetic amputee – i am healty. what to do?

  16. Barbie

    Barbie

    July 16, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I’m afraid your best bet would be applying for private Mexican Insurance. But…are you sure with your health problems…you are willing to give up Medicare? You have a lot to think about. Barbie

  17. Pingback: Lake Chapala Healthcare | Mexico Retirement Blog

  18. froy

    July 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    me voy a jubilar vivo y trabajo en ciudad juarez pero trabaje muchos años en la ciudad de mexico y en las cotizacione al imss no aparesen las cotizaciones delos años que trabaje en la ciudad de mexico alguien me podria dar informacion selo agradeseria mucho

  19. Barbie

    Barbie

    July 8, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Have a great retirement, and thanks :)

  20. Jon. Kollin

    March 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    RE: IMSS
    I am 62, and we are moving to Lake Chapala. I have recently been reading on another Forum about IMSS and new rules. But what I am looking for is some definite answers. I do not know where to find them. More on that later.

    I have, under medicine control, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems. Other than that there is no heart disease, no HIV, no cancer. Where can I begin to find out if I will be excluded when applying for IMSS coverage?

    I will be in Ajijic the first week in April for vacation. Who/Where is a source for definitive answers to health questions?

    Our move will be Jan/Feb 2013.

  21. Barbie

    Barbie

    March 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Hi Carlton – I am quite positive that there is no age limit on IMSS. Barbie In fact, age is the basis for the cost of IMSS.

  22. Marie

    April 14, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Hi Barbie:

    You’ve mentioned that IMSS healthcare is available in most major cities. Are you referring to the application process only or does it mean that you can seek medical attention only in major cities?

    Secondly, can an application for IMSS healthcare be accomplished at a local Mexican Consulate office in the United States even though you’re not physically living in Mexico currently but own property in Mexico?

    Appreciate your newsletter !

  23. Barbie

    Barbie

    April 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Marc, no, you can seek medical attention wherever – especially in an emergency. But it is easier found in – maybe not just major cities, but “larger cities”. And, the second question, I’m not really sure about. Call the Consulate to check, but I don’t think you can – but, I’m not sure.

  24. Alan

    May 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Hello Barbie.

    I have a question. What about Seguro Popular? IMSS has been doing a overhaul of their system the last few years and things have tightened up in some areas of Mexico and in general. I have a lot of information about the Seguro Popular through experiences I have had with them in San Luis Potosi.

  25. Rick (Ricardo)

    May 23, 2012 at 7:41 am

    May 23 2012,
    Just a little update. We live one hour north of Mazatlan (small town 10,000 res.). My wife is Mexican and has IMSS insurance. If you go to a local clinic, be prepared to spend a long time waiting (maybe 3-4 hours.). Go as early and close to opening time as possible. My wife was supected to have Lupus and referred to a specialist in Mazatlan. It took 6 weeks to get in to get the appointment (total “Manana”). If you can’t make appointment, it might take another 4-6 weeks. Dr. perscribed numerous meds (all free) and more lab work (all covered) for July 9th (we will be in USA). She will need to be there as she will be out of meds.
    We also use local family Dr. (VERY affordable) when we don’t want to wait. Most drugs very cheap (insulin is costly) and easy to get. Good luck
    Rick

  26. Barbie

    Barbie

    May 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Hi. In short, and I’m certainly no expert, The Mexican Seguro Popular project is a government healthcare initiative, which aims to provide social security benefits to underprivileged members of the population. It is considered the basis for the wider implementation of social support throughout Mexico.
    7/25/11 – It is a government funded social program that addresses the health and wellness of Mexicans nationwide, and will provide access to free medical care, medicine, and specialized treatments for deported migrants for up to three months. Immigrants who are deported from the United States into Mexico often lack documentation and work experience, making it hard for them to find work or acquire social aid. Seguro Popular’s new program does not require migrants to show any sort of identification, proof of work, or residency, nor pay any charges for the health care services.
    My big question is, who the heck is supposed to pay for this…the beneficiaries are in the millions…??? Barbie

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