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Public Health Care System in Mexico (IMSS)

Public Health Care in Mexico (IMSS)


IMSS is Available to Foreigners

 To Understand how IMSS works, see the article below  "Health care in Mexico: How the IMSS works" By Michael Forbes,Guadalajara Reporter, Friday, March 04 2011 

To join the system you must:

  • Have valid visa - Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente
  • Prove Citizenship (Passport)
  • Marital Status (Certificate)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Complete Application Form
  • Provide two pictures

Julie Vargas (, our immigration expert, can help you with signing up for the IMSS. She does charge a fee, but if you don't speak Spanish, it's well worth the money. 

Note! There is no age limit. There are some limitations regarding pre-existing conditions and you will learn all these details and more on a Focus Program. The cost for IMSS is on a per person basis and varies, dependant on age, from $100 to $300 USD per year. Although they quote the coverage as “all inclusive,”  most foreigners (Mexpats) use IMSS coverage for emergencies, but for day-to-day issues, they use local doctors who charge by the visit.

The coverage is quite broad and includes consultations, tests, hospitalization, surgery and medicines. It also includes basic dental and optical; but only within the IMSS structure - their doctors, clinics and hospitals.

After you receive your card, you need to go to the local IMSS clinic so that they can assign you to a Doctor, as well as the time (morning or afternoon) when you can be seen for an appointment.

You will need to take the following with you:

  • IMMS cards given to you when you register
  • Validation of payment
  • Your health questionnaire…if you have used an agent to help make the process easier, make sure you get a copy of this form to take with you.

 The new Chapala IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social) clinic is at 95 La Estacion—turn left at the recently refurbished old railroad station and go four blocks or so.

If you do not speak Spanish, you will need to take someone with you to all appointments. In the first level of IMSS, very few people speak English. You walk into the building and head upstairs to sign in. Turn to your right once you get upstairs. There will be a lady sitting at the desk to whom you will give your paperwork.

There are some drawbacks to IMSS and you will get the whole story from our health care expert on one of the Focus on Mexico programs. Our Expert Speakers do not speak through rose-colored glasses. You'll get the good and bad so you can make an informed decision. It’s important for you to get the pros and the cons. 

As with many government run Health Care institutions, the IMSS is not without its bureaucracy. Most foreigners will take the IMSS plan and use it strictly for emergencies. Then they sign up for the Maskaras Clinic Discount Program to cover their day to day issues and annual checkups, etc.

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