There are three levels within the Mexican healthcare system, the lowest of which is a limited coverage system in place for unemployed Mexicans (which expats will not need to utilize) This is called Seguro Popular.
The second level of healthcare is a public sector national healthcare program, Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS). Expats working for Mexican companies automatically qualify to receive treatment under this program. Part of an employee’s salary in Mexico is automatically deducted to pay for the coverage. Retired expats can also join the group, although coverage is not automatic. The quality of care provided by the system varies considerably; some hospitals and clinics are truly first-rate, whereas others, particularly in rural areas, are less consistent. Currently the IMSS system is not accepting new applicants and if you have a pre-existing condition, you will not be accepted.
The top level of healthcare is provided by private clinics and hospitals. Expats already covered by the national healthcare system who would like to utilize this level of care should have additional health insurance in order to shoulder the high expenses incurred by this sector. Private hospitals are generally better and more consistent than government-supported facilities. Both of our insurance programs have a direct-pay relationship with the most reputable hospitals throughout Mexico.
The high standard of Mexican healthcare and the fact that it is provided at a lower cost than in neighboring USA has resulted in many US citizens, especially those who don’t have insurance, going to Mexico each year to find cheaper treatment and pay ‘out-of-pocket’.
Indeed, while the top tier medical care here in Mexico is affordable in contrast to the charges in the U.S., it is nonetheless expensive when the expenses have to come from an expat retiree’s nest egg, especially considering most retirees now live on a limited monthly income. Those of us who live here can limit our exposure to the expensive out-of-pocket medical emergencies by having a private insurance policy in place. Boomers-In-Paradise. org is the oldest and largest insurance “group” offering two insurance plans to its members.