Getting Health Insurance After Moving to Mexico

Types of Healthcare in Mexico

Mexico has both public and private healthcare. Public healthcare consists of IMSS as well as Seguro Popular. Some argue that the quality of these options are sufficient while others argue they are not good options should you need top quality healthcare. The private healthcare on the other hand is about as good as you can find anywhere in the world. Though obviously some hospitals are better equipped (and more expensive) than others this is still an option.

Let’s look at the healthcare options more closely

IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social)

This is the healthcare that is obligatory to provide to employees of Mexican companies. There are also options to pay into this plan if you are not employed or are self employed etc..

INSABI (formerly Seguro Popular)

This is the healthcare that is provided to all Mexicans who do not have access to IMSS or private insurance. It is provided by the government to ensure all Mexicans have access to healthcare.

Private Healthcare

Private healthcare are hospitals that charge for services rendered. You can either pay the hospital directly or you can use private health insurance to access these hospitals. The quality and cost of these hospitals vary and certain insurance policies will only give you access to a specified range of these hospitals.

What options exist for expats?

The options available to foreigners will vary depending on their immigration status. If you are in Mexico on a tourist visa then you don’t qualify for IMSS or INSABI. In this case you would need to get some sort of travel insurance of which there are too many options to mention in this article. You will need to check carefully what your private foreign insurance covers and what hospitals (if any) will accept it. If your insurance doesn’t cover Mexican private hospitals then you will need to go out of pocket and pay the hospital yourself.

 

IMSS Hospital

What is IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social)

The IMSS was founded in 1943. is the largest social medical institution in Latin America. It basically offers free health care to Mexican workers. Every Mexican business must pay a certain amount towards IMSS in order to cover each worker. This makes the IMSS somewhat of a tax entity as well.

How does an expat get IMSS

Although it’s somewhat forced on workers you can opt in voluntarily If you are living in Mexico and are now a legal resident. You can apply for IMSS as a family or individual. This applies to temporary resident visa holders as well as permanent resident visa holders. This whole process will be difficult if not impossible if you don’t speak Spanish. That being said you can apply online at the IMSS website http://www.imss.gob.mx/tramites/imss02008 With IMSS there are restrictions if you have an existing medical condition such as high blood pressure etc., and you could be denied coverage.

How much does IMSS Cost

IMSS is very affordable when compared to other private insurance options and at the time of this article the costs per year are (in pesos):

Age GroupCost/year (pesos)
0-19$4,650
20-29$5,500
30-39$5,850 
40-49$8,100
50-59$8,450
60-69$12,250
70-79$12,700
80 and up$12,750

 

INSABI Doctor treating patient

What is INSABI (Instituto de Salud para el Bienestar) Formerly Seguro Popular

Seguro Popular was established to offer a safety net to those who have no other access to healthcare. But there were still some fees attached and certain amount of beurocracy to access it. As of January 2020 Seguro Popular became the Instituto de Salud para el Bienestar (Insabi). The idea was to remove all the fees and red tape and allow easier and more direct healthcare access to the uninsured. Now all you need to do is show up with the correct ID and you have healthcare.

How does an expat get INSABI?

As with IMSS only expats with either temporary or permanent resident visas can access INSABI. There is no fee and there is no signing up or application process. All you would need is your CURP and your Mexican visa. You would just show up at what used to be a Seguro Popular medical facility with the above credentials and you’re good to go.

How much does INSABI cost?

As stated above INSABI is free. There is no sign-up and no cost

Summary

To wrap up we can see that there are a few options for health coverage for an expat living in Mexico. Depending on your current health condition and age some options will be more difficult to attain than others. And although some criticize the quality of INSABI (Seguro Popular) I would assume it’s a lot better than nothing. I hope this article has helped explain, albeit briefly, the options available to an expat living in Mexico.