Medical Tourism in Mexico: Why You Should Consider It

Medical tourism is becoming a preferred choice for North America, especially the United States. With the rising cost of medical expenses throughout the marketplace, healthcare in Mexico is becoming an industry that is rapidly gaining international attention. Many Americans cannot afford or do not qualify for health insurance back home. Likewise, many treatments are not covered for those who do qualify. This has pushed Americans to seek treatment in other areas. Mexico is an obvious choice do to its proximity, amazing destinations and incredibly low costs. In fact, it is reported that medical treatments in Mexico can cost about 80 percent less than in the US.

Medical Tourism on the Rise in Mexico

Last year, the Association of Medical Tourism announced a 10 percent increase in the medical tourism market. Surgeries such as knee and hip are the ones that have risen the most over the years. Patients are in search of other medical markets, such as dental care. Over 15,000 people seek medical treatment in Mexico yearly, and the number is quickly rising.

Medical research

Medical advancements and quality treatments given in Mexico have steadily increased. Ongoing research and development is also credited with increasing the recent influx of people traveling for medical purposes. Doctors in Mexico are highly qualified and are often studying procedures and treatments that might be hard to find elsewhere. This is especially true in the Yucatan Peninsula, where many doctors target American and Canadian markets.

The Yucatan Peninsula

Merida, capital city of Yucatan, is the most populated metropolitan city in the region. It reaches approximately one million people. Although it is known for its colonial charm and historical roots, Merida holds another very important title. Merida is the undisputed healthcare capital of Southeastern Mexico, according to The Yucatan Times. Beyond its fine arts and cultural diversity, it has a high-level medical infrastructure that provides numerous public and private hospitals, clinics and various research institutions. Tourists also recognize Merida for constantly updating and modernizing its laboratories that attribute to its advanced studies and research.

The city also has the highest concentration of specialists in the geographical region. Most of the resident doctors studied in the United States and speak fluent English. Others know multiple languages. Merida’s doctors see patients coming from Central America, all of North America, and other parts of the world, as well. They provide services and a variety of medical procedures which allows them to offer specialized treatments that other countries offer at much higher costs.

High-Quality Services in the Riviera Maya

Medical tourism has grown plenty in the Riviera Maya region for the same reason. More and more highly qualified doctors move to the area to offer their services at prices that are less than half than you would find up north. The quality of hospitals and clinics has also increased dramatically, and Cancun is offering more specialized treatments.

Whether you’re seeking a simple procedure while on vacation, or actively traveling for treatment or surgery, the Yucatan Peninsula is definitely the go-to place. In fact, 85% of Americans that have received some sort of medical attention in the region have reported a higher level of personalized care. Experience teaches doctors in the Southeastern region to undestand medical tourism. They know how families react to different procedures in an unfamiliar environment.

Low Cost and Top-Notch Services in paradise


Healthcare in Mexico is a rapidly growing industry that generations billions of dollars annually. Statistically, most of Mexico’s medical tourism come from the United States and Canada. The main reason for this is the little to no delay in scheduling procedures. Moreover, patients value the unmatched cost and the short and inexpensive travel time by plane. Moreover, who would refuse to get better after surgery in the beautiful Riviera Maya?

The skyrocketing cost of healthcare and the overcrowding of public facilities and institutions in the USA are forcing people to look elsewhere. Economic indicators are pointing towards alternative solutions that will instinctively increase the demand worldwide. Establishing a health provider(s) abroad is no longer a farfetched idea. It’s a practicing concept that is gaining momentum by the day.

Mexico Healthcare

Should you purchase Medical Insurance in Mexico or back home?

Whether you are traveling or living in Mexico, it is highly advisable (almost compulsory) that you purchase medical insurance to cover you in case of anything. Given the fact that Mexican social security is a) hard to obtain as a foreigner (unless you have full immigrant residency status), and b) not necessarily top of the line treatment – sometimes lacking in doctors or equipment – it is an intelligent choice to cover yourself privately.

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Given the circumstance of needing health care in Mexico, you will be able to use private hospitals, private physicians or clinics without having to crack your head open about the costs. Although medical insurance in Mexico is significantly more economic than in the United States, for example, private health care can sum up to the thousands of dollars if you are involved in an accident or suffer from a serious illness.

Mexico offers a plethora of insurance companies that thrive in the country offering coverage for you and your family for monthly premiums. Depending on how much you are willing to pay determines the type of plan and how much coverage you get. Additionally, factors such as age, pre-existing conditions or past accidents determine whether you will have to pay more, or if you get insured at all.

Underwriters tend to look at family history and treat a family as a single unit, when in reality each member is an individual and should therefore be covered for their personal needs. Make sure you check which companies offer this type of service so that you ensure the best possible coverage for your family.

But the question remains. Should you purchase your medical insurance in Mexico or in your country of origin? As mentioned above, Mexico has a wide array of big insurance companies (ING, GNP, MetLife, Axxa) that offer different plans depending on your needs and the amount of time you are insuring yourself for, whether you are a national or a foreigner. The easiest way to go about it is by checking and comparing. Check the companies back in your country of origin (costs, small print, benefits, cons, amount of time it covers you outside your home country) and compare it to the companies in Mexico. At the end of the day, you get to pick what you feel most comfortable with.

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Although, as stated, health care in Mexico is cheaper than in the United States – a visit to a private doctor may cost up to $45 USD – the buildup in case of needing medical attention can take a toll on your budget. If you accommodate your budget to include either a monthly premium or an annual, life-long payment, you will end up saving thousands of dollars in the long run. Remember that where there are tourists, there are higher prices – and the medical industry is not left out.

Insurance companies cover more than checkups and accidents. Dental, maternity care, ophthalmologists and dermatologists, are some of the services that are included as well. Some even include – or have the option of purchasing for an extra cost – repatriation in the event of a life-threatening accident or death. Ask around to make sure you can also purchase additional guests when it comes to caring for health. Some companies will cover the plane tickets of someone back home so they can join you after an important surgery or accident.

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For those who visit Mexico regularly but do not live in Mexico full time, purchasing short-term medical insurance or purchasing one that works for both the United States and Mexico is ideal. Again, shopping around the industry is the best guaranteed way to find what suits you.

A short-term medical policy, such as IMG Patriot Insurance offer plans for as little as a week’s holiday. Usually, these are geared towards travelers and offer the “no questions asked” plans, but again, it all depends on your personal situation.

Purchasing insurance in Mexico is an easy task and it will be considerably more economic than in the United States in the long run. If you are a full-time permanent resident of this beautiful country, I recommend you go for one of the abovementioned Mexican insurance companies to take care of you.

If you have any questions about Mexican health care, insurance companies, or the pros and cons of investing in health insurance in Mexico, feel free to contact us. Additionally, for those looking for a paradise vacation – or otherwise – home, our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives are more than glad to help you through the process of becoming a homeowner in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!

Mexico Health Care Kit

Seguro Popular for foreigners residing in Mexico FAQs

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Seguro Popular is an option for foreigners residing in Mexico, it is a medical service offered by the Mexican government for those individuals that do not have with any other form of state issued medical care such as: IMSS, ISSSTE, SEDENA, etc.

   1.         What is Seguro Popular?

It is a state issued medical service that provides medical and surgical services, as well as pharmaceuticals hospitals and preventive health services. Its main objective is to provide financial protection to the non-insured population, through a scheme of health insurance, public and voluntary.

   2.         Who is it for?

Families and individuals who are not beneficiaries of the social security institutions or do not have some other mechanism of social security in health.

   3.        Is it is free?

In most cases it is free, a socioeconomic study might be required in order to set the premium.

   4.        What conditions are covered?

Currently Seguro Popular covers 284 medical interventions contained in the Universal Health Services Catalogue. This means that Seguro Popular will cover more than 90% percent of hospital casesm, 100% in health centers and 58% interventions for Catastrophic Expenses.

   5.        Can I join Seguro Popular if I have previous conditions?

Yes, however, the ideal is to apply for your membership when you are healthy.

   6.         If I am traveling out of my city, I am covered?

Yes, as long as it is an emergency and you present your current policy at the emergency room.

   7.        What if I lose my policy?

Go to the local office where you joined Seguro Populal and ask for a copy of your policy.

   8.        Do I have to pay for my medication in the Seguro Popular?

No, medication should be provided free to beneficiaries necessary for the treatment of diseases associated with conditions included in the Universal Health Services Catalogue.

   9.        Does Seguro Popular covers laboratory studies?

Yes, as long as they are required for the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that are within the Universal Health Services Catalogue.

10.        If I require an ambulance, is it covered?

No, both land and air ambulance are not covered by Seguro Popular.

11.        Can I choose the clinic or hospital where I want to go?

A health center or hospital will be assigned to each beneficiary. If there is more than one option in the area the patient might be asked to choose their medical center or doctor.

12.         I’m a foreigner, can I enroll in Seguro Popular?

Yes, it is possible to enroll as long as you can prove your lawful stay in the country with a migratory form.

The foreign national will have to present the following requirements:

  • CURP
  • Migratory forms (immigrant or nonimmigrant or permanent resident)
  • Passport

As you can see, Seguro Popular is another good option for health care in Mexico. Sadly most of the centers have mainly Spanish speaking staff, so be prepared to use your Spanish or ask a friend to go with you and translate.

Even though medical treatments, medications, and doctor visits are very reasonably priced many foreigners living in Mexico have some form of health insurance. Whether you opted for IMSS (Mexican Institute for Social Security), Seguro Popular, private health insurance or a combination of these, it is always better to be covered medical wise should an emergency arise.