Healthcare, Mexican Style – Private or National?
Healthcare in Mexico is always a lot less expensive than you will find in the States, and the quality of health care can be very good!
One of the most important things people should consider prior to retirement is the availability of medical healthcare facilities located in the area where they are planning to live…Mexico stands up pretty well in that respect.
In Mexico,there are insurance plans offered to everyone – even foreigners. The insurance we checked on was very reasonable, compared to what we were paying in the U.S.
In Mazatlan, along with health/ medical insurance, there are plans you can buy that will air-evacuate you back to the states. SkyMed offers a complete package that meets recommendations of the US and Canadian Consulates. Members traveling more than 100 air miles from home, buy a plan that returns them to their local hospital and medical care providers. And Medevac Critical Care Air & Land Ambulance, 24-hour mobile emergency units, staffed by quality physicians and well-trained paramedics and life support equipment, offers medical evacuation from Mexico to the United States and runs only about $50 to $100 a year.
If an emergency situation presents itself, call the Red Cross (Cruz Roja) for an ambulance. The Red Cross provides this service and will take you to any hospital of your choosing in Mazatlan. Sr. Alberto Osuna, director, says his agency’s ambulance is free of charge and that any hotel in the Golden Zone can be reached within seven minutes.(donations are accepted). 981-3690 or 985-1451. If hospitalization is necessary, ask your doctor what his fee for the entire procedure is beforehand. Then, request a daily-itemized bill.
If you find yourself in a hospital or clinic and think you have been charged questionable or excessive healthcare fees:
- Don’t be intimidated.
- Don’t sign anything.
- Don’t surrender your passport.
- Don’t complete or sign an Exit Survey.
- Don’t pay your account before receiving an itemized bill.
Under Article 91 of Mexico’s Consumer Protection laws, you can demand reimbursement of overpaid charges for any type of service. Save all receipts and itemized accounts in the event you need to initiate legal proceedings. Under Aritcle 281 of the Sinaloa Penal Code, it is against the law for any “hospital, sanatorium, clinic, dispensary, nursing facility or any other health center” to stop you from leaving by claiming you have not paid your bill.
If this happens to you, immediately call or go to your Consulate. You can present your case, concerning any complaints about medical care or over-billing to La Comisión de Arbitraje Médico del Estatdo de Sinaloa (Medical Arbitration Commission for the State of Sinaloa). Rafael Buelna #202, 2nd Floor/Las Conchas de Mazatlan Building, telephone 983-9300, Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no cost to appear before the Arbitration Commission.
Like I said, healthcare in Mexico is always a lot less expensive than you will find in the States, and the quality of healthcare, south of the border, can be very good.
I always laugh when I tell friends that we also get all our dental work done in Mexico and hear the inevitable response… “But are they really dentists?” Believe me, the good folks practicing in the health fields in Mexico have the same training and the same certificates as the good folks in the States. And, sure, some are better than others, but that goes across the board…we’ve found.