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Healthcare in Mexico


Healthcare in Mexico

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Healthcare in Mexico

There are three principal healthcare options available in Mexico. The first being several social security associations which offer health insurance for the formally employed and their families, totaling almost fifty million beneficiaries. They are funded by certain allocated employer/employee payroll taxes and legal government contributions. The second are government services led by the Ministry of Health and restricted services from nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) for those who are uninsured, a surprisingly large number at around approximately forty-eight million. The last is the private sector, and as the private insurance market accounts for less than two million enrollees, the private sector is predominantly financed out of pocket.


Private Healthcare

No matter what country you decide to relocate to, getting private healthcare is always a safe option. The quality of national healthcare fluctuates from country to country. The price of the most fundamental care is often very high and this is supposing you find a suitable hospital or doctor to begin with.

Private healthcare, on the other hand, often adheres to a standardisation of service. Consequently, as an expat, it is probably wise to invest in private healthcare at least until you are completely familiar with the national health system. Getting medical treatment for you and your family without comprehensive health insurance could prove arduous, and no-one wants the hassle of bureaucracy in an emergency. You may even find that the country you are emigrating to has no national health service.

The benefits of private healthcare include:

  • Peace of mind

  • Better efficiency and quality of service

  • Could save large sums money (possibly thousands of pounds) in the case of an emergency

  • A vaster choice of services and practitioners

  • No waiting lists or bureaucracy

  • Ensures you do not have to settle for local, possibly inadequate or unhygienic, services

  • Request an English-speaking doctor / nurse

Necessity, not luxury

In recent years, private health insurance enquiries have soared in popularity amongst emigrants. By way of policy comparison, people and businesses are continually looking to reduce the cost of their private healthcare. For many, this is because private health cover is not considered an extravagance, but a requisite for living overseas.

However, it must be acknowledged that the rules and regulations associated with international private healthcare are often complex, and attempts to find realistic costs and cover can be both timely and tedious. Therefore, it is vital to approach private health insurance with a few certainties in mind:

Who can provide it and what you should expect

Many private health insurers now provide cover for most countries, so your options are vast. However, if you are emigrating to a country without nationalised healthcare, there are many factors to consider when choosing an insurance company and policy many of which differ by location and cost.

Will the insurer cover:

  • Maternity?

  • A chronic illness / condition?

  • A country at war?

You will have to weigh-up the costs of such services as private doctors, outpatient medicine, and dental cover. But that's not all. You may also have to decide where you'd like to receive treatment in the case of a serious health problem or injury. Does your adopted nation meet requirements, or would you prefer to return to the UK for treatment?

Your chosen destination

All though a policy may meet your medical requirements, a country's health service may not. Therefore, wherever your business takes you, it is important to consider:

  • Laws and regulations of the country

  • Accessibility and availability of treatment

  • 24-hour emergency treatment

  • Security

  • Case management and service delivery

Choosing your health insurance policy

When deciding upon a suitable private health plan, will you require any of the following benefits? If so, will you be able to receive them?

Cover for:

  • The region / country of relocation

  • Psychiatric care

  • Rehabilitation

  • Therapy

  • Emergency evacuation and transportation

  • In-patient and day case management

  • Out-patient treatment

  • Chronic and existing illnesses and conditions

  • Maternity

  • Dental / optical requirements and treatment

  • Out-of-area treatment

You will find that many policies include a small standard excess, which will be charged either per year, or per claim. However, if you choose a higher excess plan these premiums can be remarkably reduced.

Do I have any other choices?

Treatment in the UK

It is a general truism that emigration is fraught with significant costs. As a result, people often consider private health insurance one cost too many especially if they are on a tight budget. They are all too willing to run the risk.

Consequently, many emigrants and travellers opt to return to the UK for medical treatment, but often overlook the fact that this too can be a very risky option. Firstly, you still need to be registered with a UK doctor to be eligible for treatment upon your return. If unprepared, you could find yourself in the same situation back in the UK.

Secondly, you need to account for medical emergencies which would require immediate attention. Is it really worth the risk?


The Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) is the largest institution in the social security sector. Social security has expanded as a result of economic growth and this is reflected in the different needs of the Mexican people.

The Ministry of Health became a significant source for those living in poor rural areas, or the unemployed; essentially those who did not qualify for social security benefits nor had the facilities to buy private insurance. The IMSS and the Ministry of Health were both established in 1943.

Private medical care is extremely varied in Mexico. There are both superb facilities with highly-trained medical staff and then there are also unregulated and unsupervised physicians.

Since 1943, and the establishment of these medical institutions, there has been little change in the structure of the health care system in Mexico. This has led to a continuing divide between those who qualify for social security benefits and those who are uninsured.

When you move to Mexico, it is important to immediately familiarise yourself with local health and medical facilities, and obtain the contact numbers of your nearest hospital, doctor, dentist and optician so you are well prepared in the case of an emergency.

The British Embassy and Consulate in Mexico is an essential place of contact in case you need advice or support. Its address in Mexico is:

British Embassy and Consulate in Mexico

Mexico City
Rio Lerma 71
Colonia Cuauhtemoc
06500 Mexico DF
Telephone: +52 55 5242 8500

Visit The Mexican Consulate in the United Kingdom, which is in London if you have any queries or problems before you plan to move permanently to Mexico. It is located on:

16A St. George Street
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7235 6393

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