Healthcare for Expats Living in Mexico

Mexico boasts of pristine beaches, fascinating attractions, an all-year-round good climate, and a low cost of living. It is no surprise that it is a preferred country for tourists and expats from across the world. It is particularly attractive as a retirement destination for Americans & Canadians, due to the relaxed pace of life & warm climate that it offers. Besides the amazing destinations that the country has, Mexico is quite affordable to live in as compared to its immediate neighbors.

The country’s healthcare is highly advanced and affordable at the same time, which is another reason why expats may choose Mexico. The national capital, Mexico City has some of the finest medical institutions in the country, private and public sector both. For more information about healthcare for expats in Mexico and its healthcare system, click here.

Mexico’s public healthcare system is quite good, but may not be up to the standards of most expatriates. In general, expats prefer to rely on the private healthcare system because of the shorter waiting times and better medical facilities. It is recommended that the expats get an international health insurance plan before arriving in Mexico. This ensures that the expat and his/her family aren’t burdened by expenses should an unexpected medical mishap occur.

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Overview of the Healthcare System

The Mexican healthcare system works at three levels. The first level or the lowest level is a limited coverage system that caters to unemployed Mexicans. Expats won’t need to access this level. The second level is a national healthcare program for the public sector (IMSS or Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social). This program is funded in equal proportion by employees and their employers. The top-level include healthcare assistance from private hospitals and clinics.

Expats and travelers can further reduce their hospital and other medical expenses by buying a comprehensive health insurance cover.

With the Mexican healthcare system being more affordable than the healthcare system in the United States, many Americans often come to Mexico to undergo treatment. Most of these individuals do not have insurance, so they find healthcare in Mexico a better option.

Public Healthcare

A majority of Mexicans depend on the public healthcare system since it is affordable and very good at the same time. However, most of the public hospitals are based in the cities. People residing in the rural areas have to travel to these cities to avail treatment for critical health issues. Moreover, since so many people need medical help from a limited number of hospitals, there are always long queues outside these hospitals.

The Mexican government currently offers a subsidy for availing the public healthcare system in the country. Expats who work for Mexican companies are eligible to receive treatment under this program, but most will again choose global healthcare.

Private Healthcare for Expats

The private hospitals in Mexico charge much more than public hospitals. However, with the quality of staff they employ and the equipment they use, their prices seem justified. Most of the Mexican expats turn to these private hospitals to get treatment. Check out our hospitals in Mexico page for links to hospitals in the country.

Expats must also know that not all private hospitals provide treatment under an international health insurance plan. But they can issue the treatment invoice which global citizens can collect and present to their international insurance company to claim the reimbursement.


There are numerous pharmacies based all over Mexico. This is why it’s not difficult at all to buy medications from anywhere in the country. Another reason why there are so many pharmacies in Mexico is that many Americans travel to Mexico to buy their prescribed medications at a discounted price.

Emergency Medical Services

Expats can call 911 to obtain a public ambulance service in Mexico. If that doesn’t work, they can try 066, though this number may be discontinued.

Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Mexico

Mexico’s healthcare system isn’t as good as the American healthcare system, but in some areas, it can be quite good. The fact that it is pretty much affordable too makes Mexican healthcare a preferred choice not just for expats but also for medical travelers.

Expats can look for international insurance plans offered by leading insurance companies like Cigna and Allianz that offer a comprehensive cover. Expats must compare all the available international insurance plans and everything these plans cover before making their final choice. Contact us to request a custom quote.

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