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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
  • Last Utility Bill (phone or electricity bill)
  • CURP Number (Population Code # obtained through Immigration office)
  • Blood tests and other tests as required

Note! There is no age limit. There are now many 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 $150 if in your 20's up to to $350 USD per year (if in your 70's). Although they quote the coverage as “all inclusive,”  most foreigners (Mexpats) use IMSS coverage only for emergencies, but for day-to-day issues, they use local doctors who charge by the visit.

Prior to 2011 it was a lot easier to join IMSS but since there many people have been turned down due to pre-existing conditions. 

You will not be eligible for IMSS health insurance if you have any of the following medical conditions (and this is only a partial list):IMSS IMPORTANT NOTE 

  • Allergy or asthma
  • Chronic diseases of the blood
  • Cancer or tumors
  • Diabetes mellitus with:
    • Renal failure
    • Retinophaty
    • Neuropathy
  • Peripheral circulatory failure
  • Heart diseases
  • Liver diseases
  • Nervous disorders or chronic psychiatric issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatism or arthritis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Stomach ulcer
  • AIDS or HIV positive status
  • Congenital diseases (from birth)
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Vascular incidents or strokes
  • Deformation or movement limitations by accidents or diseases
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Toxic substance addiction

If approved, 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. The facilities are quite basic, the waits are long and you will need to have a translator.

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. In the last few years more people have been turned down than accepted due to pre-existing conditions. One of the downsides is you pay your fee when you apply and once your medical tests are done, if they turn you down, they do not refund you the fee. We have also had some cases where people were in IMSS for some years and then had a serious medical issue and were told this was a pre-existing condition and they were not covered.

Due to all the issues with IMSS, Focus on Mexico realized we needed to find an alternative for our Clients. After a lot of research of many Health Insurance Options we found a fantastic alternative. We are happy to report that we have now put together our Focus Best Doctors Health Care Plan for Worldwide coverage up to $750,000 USD per year, with a low deductible of $3000 USD and an annual premium of only $1090 USD and pre-existing conditions are automatically covered after 12 months. Best of all you are eligible to get a second opinion from the top 5% of the best doctors in the world.

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