Social Security Health Insurance for Mexico’s Permanent Residents

Are you and your family considering giving up your health insurance back home because it is too expensive? You don’t want to be unprotected in case of an accident or major health problem that you could develop after moving to Mexico.

There are several plans available in Mexico for Private insurance carriers. Still, if you’re only interested in coverage for significant events, and you are willing to pay as you go for check-ups and regular care. In that case, this information will help you navigate the Social Security Health Insurance for Mexico’s permanent residents.

Continue reading

Seguro Popular for foreigners residing in Mexico FAQs

 photo Health insurance_zpszbyg5cq9.jpg
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.

Childbirth at the Local Public Hospital – “Best Treatment I’ve Had”

On Friday I posted about the variety of health care options available to choose from on a day to day basis in Mexico. Today, I’m going to share the story of an expat who’s worked in the office here for the past few years and their experience with the public hospitals, specifically his wife and childbirth.  While most expats we know won’t be going in to have a baby delivered any time soon, it reflects how good the service is even in Mexico’s “working-class” health care system.

Here it is in his own words:

“My wife and I have had 4 children; the last 2 were twins, so it was 3 childbirths for my wife – the first was in a semi-charitable hospital specialized in childbirth and maternal health in Mexico City, the second was the public-insurance hospital (IMSS) in Playa del Carmen, and the third was a hospital in Canada.

“As for cost, for the one in Canada my wife – who is Mexican – was not yet covered by public health insurance, so we had to pay it out of pocket.  While they gave us easy, interest-free payment options, it was a HUGE bill, by far the most expensive.

“The cheapest?  The IMSS hospital in Playa del Carmen.  Our entire family was covered by my wife’s insurance; we had started a little family business, and I had “hired” her.  The monthly fee was pretty low.  In any case, I know you can also get full coverage on a person-by-person basis for about $350 a year.  However you get this insurance, it’s simply cheap.


Best Service

“Now, you’ll never guess which was the best treatment.  The specialist hospital in Mexico City was very professional, and without a doubt knew what they were doing, but my wife said it was impersonal.  Canada – well, it was Canada.  Nice doctors, nice nurses.  Did everything right, and were very friendly, but nothing above and beyond.

“The public-insurance hospital in Playa – she remembers going in; the nurse put on music, and made a real effort to make her comfortable.  It was the longest birth of all them, but she never felt like they were rushed or anything, she was comfortable and well-attended the whole time.

“After the last birth in Canada, she said the level of service and comfort was a close call, but Playa del Carmen’s IMSS hospital still won out – and this is considering that it was all but free!


The Choices

“Now we had our options in Playa.  There were excellent private hospitals that would’ve charged anywhere up to about $1600 for childbirth – a far cry from the $8000 we paid in Canada!  There were also private gynecologists who charged about the same or somewhat less.

“We were thinking about those options.  But in the end we thought: we have this insurance already; there’s a brand-new, pretty-looking IMSS hospital in town.  Previously they would’ve had to send us to Cancun, which we weren’t terribly interested in, but with the new hospital we could be a 5 minute drive from our house.  We knew people who work at the hospital, and had been there for some of the pre-natal check-ups.  Everything seemed professional and well run.

“We decided to go for it, and – considering it was the cheapest and BEST treatment my wife had – we’re glad we did.


The Down Sides

“Not everything is rosy and perfect.  We had only one major complaint; I wasn’t allowed into the delivery room.  This is standard practice in all public/low-cost hospitals in Mexico. The private options I mentioned would’ve allowed it.  Since all the options looked really good, the question came to this – was it worth $1600 for me to be in the delivery room? Since we were still paying off the little townhouse we bought, we decided ‘no.’

“My wife would’ve liked.  I would’ve liked it.  But the excellent treatment they gave her helped to balance that somewhat.

“The other downside was the quick shipment out the door.  They definitely took the time to make sure she and the baby were in good shape and that she had rested enough to go home.  But the baby was born at 6 am; by 2 pm, she was at home. “Same day delivery” I guess …

“BUT Canada was no different!  While I did get to be in the delivery room, she was also out the door before at the soonest possible moment.

“So, in the IMSS hospital, I stayed up all night in the waiting room, read an entire book of The Lord of the Rings, drank about 10 cups of coffee (there’s an all-night OXXO, like 7-11, across the road) and probably paced a hole into their brand-new floor.

“I remember when Tom came by to pick me up around noon so we could get my older son and mother-in-law to welcome our new baby as a family; we didn’t have a car, and I wouldn’t have been in the shape drive any way.  I must have looked like a wreck, but I was the happiest man in the world.  I had just talked to the doctor, who also looked like a wreck after being up all night delivering babies; but, as attested to by wife, he has spared no effort to make everything go well.


The Bottom Line

“The bottom line is that IMSS, one of Mexico’s “cheap” options, gives Canada’s first-world healthcare a run for its money, which cost about 100 times more (if we count all the usage we got out of it); even if Canada had been free, IMSS still won out on the comfort they provided for my wife.”

So, there you have it.  I’m going to dig up some more health care stories from expats here in Mexico in the future.  I can tell this already; while it’s not all perfect, you begin to see a pattern – lower cost, better service.


-by Thomas Lloyd



Do All Expats in Mexico Go To Fancy Hospitals?

So, the word is out; world-class, high-quality, top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art hospitals are available in many Mexican cities, and they cost a fraction of what similar hospitals do in the U.S.  The logical conclusion; all expats – including those who couldn’t afford such service back home – go to fancy space-age hospitals where they pamper you above and beyond what’s necessary.

The impression is true to a certain extent – at least to the extent that pretty much any expat who wanted to could go to this kind of hospital.  And plenty do … when the feel they need it.

Reality is much more varied …

This greatly oversimplifies the reality of health care in Mexico – even health care that’s suitable for and really used by Americans and Canadians living here.

The reality is this: health care in Mexico offers a wide variety of options, many of which are suitable for expats at some point or another.

The “local” clinics

Think about this; would you feel it necessary to go to a world-class hospital with the best equipment to check out a cut for stitches or a cold that has been going on a little too long?  Probably not.  Even if the price is relatively low, it would just seem like overkill.  And besides that, it might just be an unnecessary “trip.” Even if that hospital’s only 20 minutes away in taxi, there might be a good local clinic right around the corner from your home that can do the same for even less money.

Consider this story from Glynna Prentice, a seasoned expat at International Living:

“I once needed to see a doctor when I was staying in the colonial city of Guanajuato, where I have a small house.

“I got recommendations for fancy doctors in Leon, a major city of about 1.7 million people less than an hour from Guanajuato. But in the end, for convenience, I chose to go to a small clinic in Guanajuato’s historiccentro, a short walk from my house.

“The clinic treated walk-in patients, many of whom clearly were not wealthy. The waiting area had plastic chairs and out-of-date magazines. But the doctor, whom friends had recommended to me, was a well-traveled, middle-aged woman with a bright smile and a very professional manner. She sorted me out in no time. And her bill? Just $20.”

The Public Insurance Option

Besides the local doctor’s practices which can offer very good service, a growing number of expats are using Mexico’s public insurance (IMSS) for their regular needs.  For a flat rate of about $350 per year, it covers everything, including vitamins, eye glasses and sometimes even basic dental work.  While their hospitals lack the state-of-the-art equipment of the private hospitals, they are clean and cover more than just the basics; the state-of-the-art private hospitals are always there for anything very major, and for everything else the costs are kept to a bare minimum.

On Monday I’ll share the story of an expat who works in our office, and his experience with IMSS.

I’ve given two examples of different options here.  But the point is that you can find basic doctor’s offices that can offer a prescription for a minor infection, or do minor stitches; some that are are small, but specialized in specific health issues; large public hospitals; large private state-of-the-art hospitals and a dozen other options, which you can choose from at any time according to your needs.

Of course, not all the clinics and hospitals are good.  But the majority will deliver what they promise, and be honest when something is beyond their scope, usually quite willing to recommend the best place to seek the treatment you need.  Asking around you can quickly find out which hospitals or doctors (of all budgets) are reputable.

Glynna Prentice finishes her article with this simple and important observation:

“In general, I continue to use Mexico’s high-tech hospitals and specialists for my check-ups and medical tests. But it’s comforting to know that in Mexico I have a range of options, depending on my needs. And all of it at wonderfully affordable prices.”

That’s the key – “I have a lot of options – at wonderfully affordable prices.”

-by Thomas Lloyd

Mexico Preconstruction Condo Kit

How Old Do You Have to Be to Retire … in Mexico?

How old do you have to be to retire? How old do you have to be to retire in Mexico?


They are two distinct questions, and have two distinct answers.


We all know that in the U.S. and Canada retirement age is on the rise – often due to financial constraints.


In Mexico, there are several factors to consider:


  • The cost of living is lower, which makes it easier to retire sooner.
  • It’s easy to start your dream business; it costs less and there are fewer hurdles. Mexican bureaucracy can be a marathon, but outside of the government offices you’ll find that it’s easier to get things going. Most people running their business in Mexico just keep doing it – even if they’re financially ready; they just like it so much.
  • It’s easier to be healthy making it easier to choose to keep working or to have an active retirement otherwise.  Warm weather, good and affordable healthcare and easy access to fresh, healthy food have many advantages.


When it comes right down to it, you might not think of it in the same way as you do there.  You may just enjoy life here so much, that the distinction between work and retirement blurs and even disappears!


-by Thomas Lloyd


Mexico Health Care Kit

How Does Mexico Compare to the 10 Best U.S. States for Retirement?

What’s the best place to retire in the U.S.?  A recent slide show at visualized and summarized the findings of a recent Bankrate survey.

You can go take a look at at, but a quick glance will show you that the results are … surprising.  The empty badlands and sprawling wheat fields of the Dakotas, the plains of Nebraska and the hills of the Appalachians – beautiful places, to be sure, but not exactly the sunny retirement that most people imagined.

So, what happened in this rating?  Is Bankrate just trying be counter-culture and shock people?  Actually, if you read the stats, they are just being realistic.  The classic favorites in the Sunbelt are simply too expensive for the average (or even above average) American.  To find a good balance of cost of living, health care, low crime and good services you have to look northward.

In my opinion, a much better solution would be to look southward – to Mexico that is.  Of the factors Bankrate considered, many locations in Mexico excel:

Cost of living – Mexico tends to be about half that of the U.S. on average.  I’m sure this means that most nice places in Mexico are noticeably less expensive than the states on that list.

Health care – Mexico’s healthcare has modernized significantly, and now has hospitals on par with private hospitals in the U.S.

Retire in Mexico Beaches

The beaches of Playa del Carmen

Modern services – Banks, supermarkets, transportation, etc. – these will be well run, modern and comfortable.

Crime rate – Surprisingly, many parts of Mexico are safer than many parts of the U.S.  Yucatan, for example, has a crime rate as low as Wyoming, one of the safest states.

Sunshine & warm weather – Many parts of Mexico enjoy sunshine over 300 days a year.  This includes beachfront areas and small lakeside towns in the hilly central highlands.

And … we can’t forget that with all this, you can still be on a beautiful beach, or perhaps a charming lake front if you prefer.  So, you can go digging up nice retirement towns in South Dakota, if you like.  I’m sure the people will be friendly and the landscapes will be beautiful … during the 3 months of summer, at least.

Or you could come down to Mexico and enjoy even lower cost of living, sunnier weather with most of the same benefits.  The beach will be much, much closer.

You choose.

-by Bea Lozano

Awa Condos Playa del Carmen

A U.S. Retiree Saves Almost $20,000 At a Mexican Hospital!

Hospital care for retired people in MexicoI just found this amazing story about a retiree who spent 9 days in a hospital in Mexico for emergency medical care.  His family paid under $6500 USD.  In the U.S., the same care would’ve cost $125,000 USD!


Even with medicare coverage, his family would’ve paid $25,000 USD as a co-payment.


Read the story at The Snowbird’s Cactus, the new blog we recently started about starting life in Mexico – “A hospital in Mexico saved my father’s life … and cost less than $6,500″.


-by Thomas Lloyd


Mexico Real Estate Testimonials