So you want to travel in Mexico but are worried about health insurance….
Mexican health insurance for travelers comes in a few forms and the types of coverage are designed to fit different needs. Before landing on a plan, consider the type of trip, your personal health needs and learn a bit about the healthcare system in Mexico.
While things operate a little differently than the United States specifically (this article applies to all foreign travelers FYI), Mexico does have excellent doctors and hospital systems. Many doctors are educated in Guadalajara and Mexico City and a surprising number are educated or at least partially trained in the Unites States.
Public vs Private Hospitals in Mexico
Hospital systems are divided between public and private in Mexico. The resources available and levels of care vary between the two, with some of the public systems being more limited. Wait times are also typically longer at public hospital systems.
Private hospitals make up the majority of facilities in Mexico and the resources are more robust. Expats tend to utilize these systems regularly as do travelers carrying medical plans. Private systems are more expensive but the level of care is also greater in most cases.
The best private hospitals are located in major metropolitan areas. Very rural places are not likely to have excellent healthcare and transportation between hospitals in necessary for serious emergencies requiring specialized medical procedures.
Travel Medical Plans for Mexico
Most plans are designed for emergency use and not for regular visits. Travelers are not registered under any public resource plans or resident and temporary resident plans, making them separate from primary healthcare systems.
Travel medical plans are meant for emergencies like accidents or sickness that do not require evacuation to your home country.
Common coverage includes:
- X-rays, labs, treatments
- Doctor visits and services
- Prescriptions and therapies
- Hospitalization and operating rooms
- Trip delay (inquire about our plans for this)
Additionally, travel medical plans will often include medical evacuation. You can also purchase this as a standalone plan for worst case scenario situations. When looking at travel medical coverage for Mexico, also pay attention to the coverage limits and deductibles. Many of our plans have low deductibles around $250 USD and coverage limits up to $100,000 USD.
Healthcare costs are much less overall in Mexico which makes the coverage limits relatively robust for emergency care.
Medical Evacuation Plans for Mexico
Medical evacuation plans in Mexico are not designed for in-country treatment. The plans are meant to transport you to a hospital of choice in the United States (and possibly Canada). In order to receive transportation, the medical condition or sickness must warrant the emergency and be signed off by a doctor.
Many medical evacuation plans from Mexico include:
- Air transport between hospitals
- Ground transport between hospitals and air transport fields
- Transportation for children (dependents)
- Return of RV or vehicle
- Repatriation of remains
Limits are imposed on the total costs but they often run $500,000 USD or more, leaving room for transport to your hospital of choice along with a few extra benefits.
Medical Insurance for Expats
Mexican health insurance for travelers is different from in-country health insurance. Expats and immigrants require a different level of health insurance. Travel plans are ideal while making the move and getting settled but after confirming a new residency status and visa beyond that of a tourist, it’s time to work inside the system.
Mexico has two different national healthcare systems:
IMSS – This federal plan is part of the social system where employees/employers make contributions from their paychecks. Temporary and permanent residents (Expats) can apply and utilize this system by filing the appropriate paperwork and paying an affordable monthly fee. Some exclusions for preexisting conditions can eliminate eligibility however.
INSABI – If you don’t fit the IMSS program, this program has participating hospitals for temporary and permanent residents. Quality care is available but the IMSS does have more and often better options. Many expats choose private insurance programs to ensure they receive higher levels of access and care at this point.