There Is No Medicare In Mexico…Yet

One of the most misunderstood considerations that puzzle many gringos as they ponder a life south-of-the-border is the health-care options. What happens if I break my ankle on one of those damn charming cobblestones? Or a coconut drops on my head (you’re probably dead) while swinging in my hammock, or my gastrointestinal tract slips its track? Do I have to evacuate to Phoenix or, if I don’t, does the local medic have any semblance of a license to practice medicine…on humans? And will he speak English, ‘cause I sure as hell don’t speak Mexican?

The fact is that if you are one of the 40 million Americans who have no health insurance at home, you will be much better off in Mexico, and if you do have insurance at home, you still might be better off in Mexico. (I can’t speak to the Canadian situation, eh?).

So, can’t I just use my Medicare benefits that I’ve paid into for 40 years? No, not in Mexico…not yet. There are studies now being conducted to figure out a viable way to integrate Medicare into Mexico, and as the number of Americans moving to Mexico increases, it should happen in the future. To do so would not only benefit the recipients, but would also decrease the costs to the U.S. government, as services are a fraction of the U.S. amount in Mexico. (see this web site for more info: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~healthp/index.html.

With the number of North Americans (I know, Mexico is in North America, but here I refer to Americans and Canadians) moving to Mexico expected to skyrocket in the coming boomer-retirement years, there is a clear need for a consistent, easy-to-accomplish portability program for medical insurance. I expect this to happen in the near-future, but the feds are going to need to get involved to make it happen on a wide-scale. Already, there are U.S. companies that operate near the border on the north side who are covering their employees to have their medical care on the Mexican side…because it saves them a lot of money. It’s a great idea, and clearly illustrates the absurdity of the escalating costs on the north side, where a family of four, those who can afford it, can easily expect to spend over $1,000 a month for medical and dental coverage. Mexico, for the most part, provides care as good, and some people I know will say better, than the U.S. Many of Mexican doctors have been trained in North America and Europe and the system is designed to provide personal care, and not perpetuate the for-obscene-profit health-care corporatocracy that we have become. Health care costs have far out-paced inflation in our country as care has rapidly declined. There are many reasons why a person would not consider moving to Mexico, but fear of inadequate health services should not be one of them.

4 Responses to “There Is No Medicare In Mexico…Yet”

  1. Donald Schenk Says:

    I just had an emergency medical problem that opened our eyes to the problems of Medical Insurance coverage of Americans while in Mexico. Two weeks ago while in Los Barriles just South of La Paz I experienced severe abdominal pain and was transported to Amerimed in Los Cabos. I have Medicare and a secondary insurance that gives me almost no up front costs for care in the USA. I was examined and underwent two surgeries, one of which I am sure saved my life. Before each surgery I was told I had to pay up front the expected cost of the medical costs in cash or with a valid credit card or atm card. The first request was for 8,000.00 dollars US, the second was for 5,000.00 dollars, before I was released, I had paid a total of approx $22,000.00 US. At any point if we were unable to come up with the cash, I was told I would be taken by ambulance to a public hospital. My Medicare does not cover me in Mexico and while my secondary does cover 80%, Beech Street and Plan Handlers are not recognized by Amerimed. They wanted a letter of guarantee of coverage that the Insurance company would pay the bill as presented. Insurance company at this point is reluctant to provide a hospital in Mexico with a letter of guarantee for any charges, it seems like they want to review the charges first and see if all are valid charges. So, this becomes a catch 22, I am left with the responsibility of having to be able to have large sums of money up front…I saw a bill of another Tourist that came in with a heart condition, his bill was over $100,000.00 US. We currently own a home in Los Barriles and are now at a cross road of what to do….I am 66 years old…..

  2. Gustavo Nigenda Says:

    Dear friend:

    I enjoyed reading the article. I am currently involved in a study identifying the barriers to make Medicare pay services in Mexico. I have some questions that you may be willing to answer.

    Within the corporatocracy, are all corporations against Medicare paying services in Southern countries? Are others in favor? Which is the position of AMA, the insurance industry, HOMs and other relevant actors in the US arena?

  3. Walter Levine Says:

    Aren’t you forgetting that Medicare will cover Emergency Room visits and transportation outside the US (to the nearest ER) to get you stabilized and presumably thence to a US medical facility where Medicare does provide benefits?

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