You may have heard that Mexico is now offering a “free” healthcare plan, INSABI – el Instituto Nacional de Salud para el Bienestar, which replaced Seguro Popular.
The idea is that INSABI provides free healthcare to all residents of Mexico who do not have health benefits through their job.
It is assumed that all residents, including expats, can take advantage of this plan since you only need to present a CURP, National Electoral Institute INE, or birth certificate to receive treatment.
Why pay for private health insurance if you can potentially get it for free?
The service provides free healthcare on the first and second levels medical issues and those levels are not clearly defined. Any serious illness or injury will be considered the third level and will be subject to fees. At what point will you discover that your medical situation is classified as the third level and end up having a bill for medical treatment?
If you require serious medical attention and end up paying, you may as well have purchased a proper policy that will cover all your medical expenses.
This healthcare plan is only offered in public hospitals; public hospitals in Mexico do not compare to private hospitals. Not only will you experience long waits at a public hospital, but they are often overcrowded, with sub-par cleanliness, lacking comforts, and provide only basic care.
Private hospitals, on the other hand, rarely have a wait time for consult, treatment, or surgery. They are equipped with the latest technology, offer access to specialists, and have a higher standard of cleanliness. A private hospital offers a friendly, peaceful atmosphere in a comfortable private room, with personalized care, and English-speaking staff.
It is important to realize if you end up paying out of pocket at the public hospital, it will not necessarily be less expensive than a private hospital. If you choose to pay out of pocket for a minor treatment rather than pay a deductible, only private hospitals offer a discount for residents.
Although it takes time to roll out this new government plan, there have already been complaints regarding the program, including wait times and instances where patients are charged for services and medication which were supposed to be free.
We recommend opting for private health insurance for peace of mind and assurance that you receive the best medical treatment available.