Expat Healthcare in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
So you’re thinking of spending a decent length of time down here in Mexico, or even making the move down here permanently… one of the more common questions we get involves healthcare for expats. The issue of medical care can be even more pressing when considering certain demographics, such as retirees. With so many people in the United States and Canada choosing Mexico as their retirement destination, medical care can be very high on the list of things to check on before making the move.
Obviously, this can be a pretty involved subject, but we wanted to address some of the major points and give you a clearer idea of the healthcare picture here south of the border. The first thing to note is that overall, healthcare in Mexico is very good. As a country, it is recognized as the leader in Latin America, with cutting edge research centers and world class hospitals and medical facilities. The second thing to note is that in terms of cost, it is MUCH cheaper than you will find in the United States or Canada. Services and procedures will range from 50% to 90% cheaper than you can expect north of the border.
To give you an example, an average visit to the doctor in Mexico will range between 350 to 500 pesos. With today’s exchange rate of about 20 to 1, that equals $18 to $25 in US dollars. Obviously, you can find cheaper and you can find more expensive, but that is the normal range of what you can expect. I personally had blood tests done when I had a fever and the panel cost just under $20 USD. Depending on what you have checked, it will be about 20-25% of what tests in the United States would run. An overnight stay in a very modern hospital will generally be under $100 USD.
In the major cities, you can get top notch medical care for any serious medical condition, including cancer, major surgeries, dialysis or anything you would find in the States, at a significant savings. All these factors have made Mexico a very popular destination for both expats AND for medical tourism.
For complete directory of doctors and hospitals, consider downloading the eBook: Guide to Doctors & Hospitals in Mexico Your insurance company may also provide a list of doctors and, even, may have a list of approved doctors you may contact as part of your insurance cover.
A great way to start the process of finding a doctor in your city is to join one of the many Facebook groups for expats that exist for every major area in Mexico and get some referrals from people who have been in your shoes and found good doctors through trial and error.
Health Insurance while living in Mexico
Mexico does not currently have any joint healthcare agreements with other countries. There is also no “free” healthcare available so you will have to make sure that you have private health insurance that covers you while you are here. There are a plethora of insurance companies that provide a variety of health insurance options. We won’t get into specific recommendations in this article since everybody’s needs are different, but we recommend doing your research and finding out what is the best choice for your situation.
The premiums that you pay for expat insurance will vary based on many factors, just like they do in the United States with one difference. In some cases, the area you are moving to can affect the premiums a bit, but anywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula will be among the best rates in Latin America.
The only other option, which is somewhat limited in scope, is the nationalized healthcare. Hospitals and clinics run by the Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social are available to any resident of Mexico that has a job. You have to be a legal resident (temporary or permanent resident or citizen) and be legally employed. Part of the taxes you pay go to the IMSS so that you can be covered.
So that boils down the basics… healthcare is generally very good here and is MUCH more cost effective than what you may be used to. Whether you are paying cash or have one of the various insurances for expats/people living abroad, you will see your dollar stretch much further south of the border. Plus, many doctors here have been educated in the United States and have very good English. It may be a little intimidating the first time or two that you visit a doctor down here, but once you get a couple visits under your belt, I think you’ll be very pleased and impressed with how everything goes.
Let us know if you have any questions – we would love to hear from you!