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How to Get Health Insurance for Less Than a Dollar a Day

How to Get Health Insurance for Less Than a Dollar a Day

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Campeche, Mexico

Read more about finding affordable health care in Mexico in International Living Postcards—your daily escape

One of the most important things to consider before moving overseas is your access to quality health care. It’s something I always factor in when assessing the livability of any particular place. It was actually one of the deciding factors that prompted me to make the move to Mexico, which is known for its excellent and affordable medical care.

Something you may not know about Mexico is that foreigners living here can take advantage of the national health care system, IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, or Mexican Social Security Institute). The cost is age-based and very, very low. If you are 60 or older, for example, you’ll pay less than $300 a year…for full-coverage health insurance—including your prescription medicines.

This is a great option if you have Medicare or a health insurance policy in the U.S. that won’t cover you in Mexico. IMSS is also a great plan for anyone who opts to live part-time in Mexico, as many Canadians do. It’s like a low-cost health insurance safety net for the months you are in Mexico.

IMSS covers everything from doctor’s visits for minor nuisances like the cold and flu to major procedures like heart surgery and joint replacement. You can have your heart monitored, your cholesterol checked, and a broken bone set. And as you leave the clinic or the hospital, you can stop by the pharmacy to fill your prescriptions. It’s all covered; there are no additional costs.

IMSS is the medical system for all tax-paying Mexicans, serving millions of people. As a result, IMSS has hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies scattered all over Mexico—so you’re never very far from an IMSS facility. The drawback is that IMSS clinics and hospitals vary in quality and waiting times may be longer than in private facilities. (This program is similar to the national health care program offered in Canada.)

Any expat with a residence visa for Mexico can get IMSS coverage; just go to your nearest IMSS office in Mexico and sign up. Best of all, you can sign up for IMSS at any age—a huge advantage over private health insurers, which usually won’t initiate a policy for anyone over 64.

Subscribers to Mexico Insider recently received a detailed article about health care options in Mexico, including the IMSS program and private health insurance options. Subscribe to Mexico Insider and gain instant access to the article.

Glynna Prentice
Your Mexico Insider , International Living

Editor’s note: Excellent, affordable health care is only one reason why Mexico is our favorite retirement haven. To find out about the others—additional cost-saving programs that foreigners qualify for, tax issues, hot property bargains, and more—and basically everything a potential retiree needs to know about living in Mexico, subscribe to Mexico Insider .

Read related articles:

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- The Mexican Answer to U.S. Health Care

- The Solution to Sky-high Taxes and Rocketing Health Care Costs

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