One of the questions that I get asked all the time about living in Mexico is ” How is the health care down there?” Well, my initial thought is that it is much less expensive than the United States, and the drop off in quality is not as dramatic as I had feared it would be. The following insights are based on my personal health care experience here in Merida, Yucatan Mexico.
My experience here is contrasted between the US and the Canadian health care systems. I lived in both of those countries prior to moving to Mexico. The first 20 years of my life were spent in Canada. The last 15 years I spent in the United States. In some ways, Mexico’s health care system seems to be a combination of the two countries. Several different levels of private insurance are available in Mexico. Every possible range of insurance seems to be available from basic catastrophic to something that would be similar to a US plan.
There also is a Mexican government insurance available to expats through the Mexican Social Security agency called IMSS. Coverage is free for anyone who works for most Mexican corporations, and is available for a low annual fee for everyone else, including expats, as long as they can prove permanent residency (FM2 or FM3 visas). To insure children through IMSS its approximately $75 usd per year for each child. For my wife and I its about $100 usd per year each. IMSS is inexpensive national health care, and while it has its downside, it is certainly better than nothing.
At this point in our current situation we have decided to go with IMSS, in case something major happens, and just to pay as we go for everything else. Pay as you go medical care is certainly an option here, as it is very inexpensive. We had to take our 13 month old to the Doctor since we moved here, and it was surprisingly inexpensive to do so. We showed up at the Doctors office, and it was 30 pesos, that’s about $2 usd with the exchange rate as of this writing, and he prescribed a couple of medications the total cost was about 100 pesos about $7 usd, so $9 to see the Doctor and get a couple of prescribed medications.
I will be writing more about my experience on the Mexican health care system.