Healthcare in Mexico

A fragmented three tier system

Mexican healthcare is based on a three tier system: a public national healthcare system for the employed, a basic coverage for unemployed Mexicans and a private system, which is usually excellent but only available to those who can afford it.

Healthcare in Mexico

While all Mexicans formally have access to some form of basic healthcare, there are great disparities in quality and access. Coverage in Mexico is mainly based on employment status:

  • A social security system covers employees both of the public and the private sector. Expats who work for Mexican companies automatically qualify for coverage by the IMSS (Mexican Social Security Institute). Employees contribute part of their salary to fund this system.
  • The unemployed are covered by a system run by the Ministry of Health.
  • The third strand of coverage is based on a private insurance system.

A divided system

Each system maintains its own network of hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and health related centers, which cannot be accessed by those belonging to another system. This fragmented system leads to serious issues affecting the quality of care of the patients. The unemployed experience the lowest level of care, while the national security system varies between high quality care to less consistent care, especially in rural areas.

Private healthcare

The private system provides the highest level of care. Private hospitals in Mexico attract large numbers of people, especially from the neighboring United States, who wish to access the top quality healthcare at a considerably lower price than in their home countries. Care in this system needs to be paid for by acquiring health insurance. If you are sufficiently covered you can get high-quality treatment in all major Mexican cities. Doctors are usually well-qualified and many of them speak English. Facilities and equipment in private clinics are up to date and the service is excellent.

Expats and insurance

If you move to Mexico you should make sure that you have sufficient insurance cover for the treatments you might need during your stay. Most foreigners (and most Mexicans who can afford it) prefer to take out a private health insurance policy. Expats looking for admittance to a private hospital need to check whether foreign insurance is accepted.

If you do not have private health insurance or enough funds available to be admitted in one of the private hospitals, in an emergency you might end up in overcrowded hospitals and might have to wait for a very long time if you need a special treatment. Keep all of this in mind when planning your trip to Mexico, and make sure you are covered for all eventualities.

While all Mexicans formally have access to some form of basic healthcare, there are great disparities in quality and access. Coverage in Mexico is mainly based on employment status:

  • A social security system covers employees both of the public and the private sector. Expats who work for Mexican companies automatically qualify for coverage by the IMSS (Mexican Social Security Institute). Employees contribute part of their salary to fund this system.
  • The unemployed are covered by a system run by the Ministry of Health.
  • The third strand of coverage is based on a private insurance system.

A divided system

Each system maintains its own network of hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and health related centers, which cannot be accessed by those belonging to another system. This fragmented system leads to serious issues affecting the quality of care of the patients. The unemployed experience the lowest level of care, while the national security system varies between high quality care to less consistent care, especially in rural areas.

Private healthcare

The private system provides the highest level of care. Private hospitals in Mexico attract large numbers of people, especially from the neighboring United States, who wish to access the top quality healthcare at a considerably lower price than in their home countries. Care in this system needs to be paid for by acquiring health insurance. If you are sufficiently covered you can get high-quality treatment in all major Mexican cities. Doctors are usually well-qualified and many of them speak English. Facilities and equipment in private clinics are up to date and the service is excellent.

Expats and insurance

If you move to Mexico you should make sure that you have sufficient insurance cover for the treatments you might need during your stay. Most foreigners (and most Mexicans who can afford it) prefer to take out a private health insurance policy. Expats looking for admittance to a private hospital need to check whether foreign insurance is accepted.

If you do not have private health insurance or enough funds available to be admitted in one of the private hospitals, in an emergency you might end up in overcrowded hospitals and might have to wait for a very long time if you need a special treatment. Keep all of this in mind when planning your trip to Mexico, and make sure you are covered for all eventualities.

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