Saturday, July 4, 2020

Mexico's Free Healthcare - An Oxymoron

As an independent worker in Mexico for most of my life, I had to provide my own medical insurance.  If you are an employee in a company, your employer, by law, has to provide the IMSS healthcare.  That means that 50% of the Mexican population doesn't have healthcare.  Well, they didn't until Seguro Popular.  President Calderon was responsible for that change and many ex-pats pay for that service as it is cheaper.  

Presidente Dingus declared free healthcare for everyone starting his first day in office.  It was a lie.  No one can walk into any clinic and receive healthcare.  The new program, INSABE, has no cost but good luck getting treatment for free at IMSS.  Patients have tried it and they are charged high rates and no pay,  you can't leave the hospital.

IMSS is not the best but it is a low-cost option for foreign residents and it has treated my Mexican family fairly well.  A lot depends on the hospital you are assigned to and who the director of that hospital is.

Yesterday, I went to renew my policy.  It's a typical bureaucracy and requires several trips.  I walked in, and the first thing was to take my temperature, use hand sanitizer, and walk across a special mat filled with antibacterial goo.  I then went to my local delegation representative who asked for; passport, resident ID, social security number, and my contract.  This last year I have been on restriction for not paying on time.  You don't receive any notice, you're on your own.  I only have had access to clinics this last year (such as my experience in San Miguel de Allende in January in which I may have had Covid).  If I have an emergency they would probably treat me but for any elective or non-emergency surgery, I would be on the street.

My contribution this year has gone up.  Last year it was 10,000 pesos and this year 12,250.  I asked why and the smart ass government employee answered, "I don't make the rules".  So I need to return with copies of my birth certificate, CURP (my governmental registration), copy of my residency card, and something else.  They will give me a slip to pay at the HSCB bank and then I will return and get my renewal for this next year. 

Surgical intervention 24,196                                  1200 USD
Toco-surgery intervention 10,873                            540 USD
Transfer by ambulance 2,191                                   100 USD
Chemotherapy session 7,113                                     350 USD
Hemodialysis session 4,857                                        240USD

Hemodynamic study / procedure (Stent) 44,458    2220 USD

I have been checking the cost to the public should you as a foreigner (non-member) need healthcare.  Steer clear of IMSS.  The prices are higher than in a private top drawer hospital.  Better to shop around and know in advance if you spend any time in any specific area.

That makes me wonder about Medicare when I turn 65.  Medicare costs the same or less for private Mexican medical insurance and I can choose any hospital I want.  Many ex-pats pay good money for Medicare but what do you do in an emergency?  Medicare doesn't cover that.  I don't live in the states so if I need heart surgery, why not just have it here.  It would be too costly and too inconvenient to be in another country when I can be at home for recovery.

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