In Mexico, I have access to two affordable healthcare systems: public and private. In Mexico’s private healthcare system, costs pretty much across the board run 25% to 50% of U.S. costs for comparable services.
So, while folks in the U.S. can legitimately worry that an unexpected, costly illness can deplete their nest egg, I don’t. Like other expats in Mexico, I can budget for healthcare: It’s a manageable expense. And I haven’t had to scrimp on quality, either.
Mexico’s private healthcare is good to excellent, with wonderful individual doctors and specialists, many top-notch hospitals, and cutting-edge technology. Many doctors in the private system have done part of their studies abroad, in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. (Don’t be surprised if you find yourself chitchatting with your doctor about places in common that you’ve visited or lived in; it’s a nice ice-breaker at the start of an office visit…and these tend to be more relaxed and personal than office visits back home, too.)
Doctors’ visits usually run from about $30 a visit up to $50 or $70 for many specialists. (I was recently charged a paltry $20 by a specialist for a quick consultation.) Blood work runs $30 and up, depending on what you’re testing for. Specialty procedures like colonoscopies can run $300 or so, with mammograms and bone density tests running around $100. And in Mexico, all your medical records—including X-rays and lab results—belong to you.
If you’re on a tight budget—or want a back-up health system—there is Mexico’s public healthcare. Expats on a valid residence visa can join the IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, or Mexican Social Security System). IMSS is the public system for employers and their employees. The cost is tiered by age, but expect to pay around $496 a year for coverage.
The Public systems may have some downsides. You may have long wait times for appointments and for nonurgent procedures and surgeries. And you’ll find fewer doctors who speak English, so you’ll need someone to translate for you at appointments if you can’t manage in Spanish. But at this low price point, it’s hard to complain.
For an overview of the public healthcare system, see our article How to Obtain Public Health Care in Mexico.
For a run down of all of your health care options, check out our Review of Health and Medical Insurance Options for Mexico.
And Mexico’s health benefits aren’t limited to medical care. Given the country’s range of warm-weather climates (you’re guaranteed to find the sweet spot for you), living a healthy, outdoor lifestyle is easy.
Stay tuned for our upcoming Blog Series about Awakening to Your Senses in Huatulco where we'll explore all of the ways Huatulco's sense of place contributes to your well-being. Plain and simply, Huatulco just makes you feel good and the lifestyle boosts your immune system.