Mexico offers excellent private health care facilities. Private clinics and hospitals feature the latest modern facilities and are built to US-standards.
When you move to Mexico, you should acquaint yourself with the local medical and health facilities available in your local area. Find out where your nearest hospitals and clinics are, as well doctors, dentists and opticians and keep their telephone contact numbers at hand.
You can find this information out from neighbors, friends, work colleagues or contact your local consulate who may be able to provide you with a list of local health facilities in the city or town where you live.
Health emergencies in Mexico
Although Mexico has a number of universal emergency numbers, numbers for specific emergency services vary by state and locality, so inquire about the numbers for the local police, ambulance and fire station and keep these handy by the home and office phone (and save them in your mobile phone).
Mexico has recently introduced a national “911” (or in Europe 112, 999) emergency number. (Previously 060 worked in certain regions across in Mexico.) You can ask for the police, an ambulance or the fire brigade on this number.
Private insurance companies supply their own emergency contact numbers to policy holders and, depending on the insurer and the plan, some services will connect you to an English-speaking operator for assistance.
If you have a serious medical emergency a Medical Evacuation plan can help you get home to your own doctors, hospitals and be close to your family for recovery.
Mexico’s Social Security System
Mexico’s social security system is called the Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social, often abbreviated as just IMSS.
Mexico’s Social Security System is free at the point of delivery for Mexicans as well as foreign nationals with residency status who are in full-time employment by a company registered in the IMSS system (payroll taxes cover healthcare – see below). Foreigners resident in Mexico who are not working (e.g. retirees) or not working for company enrolled in IMSS may elect to purchase the IMSS health insurance separately for a modest monthly fee.
Employees of Mexican companies (including foreign employees) pay a percentage of their salary each month to the service, which entitles them to access the healthcare system and also provides insurance cover for their salary in case accident or ill-health prevents them from working. The payroll tax that covers healthcare is pay-able regardless of whether you pay into private insurance plan(s) separately.
The level of care delivered by the IMSS depends, in part, on where in Mexico you live: big cities have more resources but more people seeking them; villages and small towns have less people and also considerably less IMSS resources and expertise at their disposal.