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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What level of coverage does IMSS insurance provide? I'm 70 and apparently the annual cost of IMSS insurance for an American living there is about $780 a year. Hard to believe. Which is what makes me wonder if the coverage is worth having. The following screen clip is from Seguro de Salud para la Familia. Is a better level of coverage available that provides access to private providers and hospitals at a cost scaled to the Mexican economy? Tthe international insurance I found is quite pricey.


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I have high blood pressure and that and diabetes are two things which are important to someone at IMSS. They would like me to come in once a month to have my blood pressure taken and pick up some meds (if they have them). Truth is - no one there really knows how to properly take a person's blood pressure anyway. But - I do go to my clinica perhaps 2 or 3 times a year. But my meds run me about 700 pesos / month at the local discount farmacia - so that is almost half the cost of the insurance. Of course the clinica is clear on the other side of town so I spend about half a day going there.

I have never set foot in, nor would I likely ever consider, going to an IMSS emergency room.

I have not been to a 'specialist' at IMSS (cardiologist, opthamologist etc) in perhaps two years. I have paid out of pocket 1000 pesos for a visit to one of the best cardiologists in the area and just recently I had my eyes checked out at a local place which is one of the best for eyes in the nation and that cost me I think 350 pesos. But - many of the specialists at IMSS are the same people who have their own private prcactices outside IMSS (they are often times good). It may, however, take months to get an appointment and on the day you show up perhaps plan on waiting 3-4 hours to see the doctor.

My go to place for a lot of things is Cruz Roja. 100 pesos to get in and you pay for whatever materials they use on you (bandages etc).

I think in geeral - ignoring the age band increases - the cost of IMSS insurance goes up 10-15% each year.

But it IS so cheap that why not carry it...
 

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IMSS has exclusion to join if you have many of the pre-existing medical illnesses so you might not qualify. It also has waiting periods for coverage for other pre-existing illnesses from 3 months to 3 years.

Large city IMSS are usually state of the art hospitals now - not all. The agricultural poorer states still might have crumbling IMSS hospitals. The obvious other thing to consider about poorer smaller, cities IMSS quality of specialists' Dr.s' is these Dr.s only work 4 to 5 hours Mon. to Fri. at the IMSS and then in their lucritive private practice usually making good money but in a poor small cities or large towns it would not be lucritive so the better specislists only work in large cities and the others Dr.s or recently licensed work in these other locations.

Here in San Luis Potosi IMSS has excellent care. We know many Dr.s who work there and I have been in all their facilities. The two older large IMSS hospitals 2 blocks apart in Centro Historico could use major renovations instead of being patched up but function still.

Modern diagnosis and treatment of illnesses is very well know in the World now and is practiced with confidence so does it matter who or where you go anymore to get service?
 

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You’ll get a variety of answers that depend more than anything else on location. In general, IMSS facilities in major cities are many tiers above rural facilities.
Well that is particularly true of Mexico City. I once asked a cardiiologist - let's say I have a heart attack - where should I go. His first choice was a local cardiac specific hospital with all the latest gadgets/gizmos etc - but that is way too expensive he said. He thought for a second and said - I would hop in a taxi and tell them to take me to the general IMSS hospital in Mexico CIty. (That would make for an interesting cab ride).
 

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When I decided to use private medical insurance in Mexico (which I no longer have due to the increase in premiums after I hit 70) it was not because I didn't trust that the doctors in IMSS hospitals were competent, but because while my Spanish is pretty good, much of medical and legal terminology vocabulary is outside my understanding. I didn't relish the thought of not easily understanding what medical findings, treatments, or necessary procedures may be, should I end up in the hospital.

Also, with private insurance, there is the option to choose your doctor from their list, or request another if you don't feel okay about the treatment you are receiving, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have high blood pressure and that and diabetes . . . I have never set foot in, nor would I likely ever consider, going to an IMSS emergency room.
So I gather the IMSS insurance does not provide access to private healthcare facilities with higher standards of care, and that what IMSS provides is the most basic level of servcies? That's what I was trying to get at. And if you don't buy IMSS insurance, then as a exapt resident you would need to obtain insurance from a private for-profit insurance company?
 

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The words private and IMSS do not mix.
As I think I mentioned - they (for some reason) really care about high blood pressure. One year they ran out of money and had no more cardiologists on staff. They sent me to a private hospital to see a private cardiologist - just for an annual check-up. That was interesting because that visit may have been the longest 1-on-1 with any doctor I have ever had - in my life. (But the whole situation was not normal).
In 10 some years I don't think we ever seriously considered private health insurance.
Even in the priciest of situations - if you look someone square in the eye and say - I have no insurance - the conversation will change - they will work with you (or that has been my experience anyway). Not only that - I have had a surgeon call another hospital and speak to another specialist. They talked about my health and then they talked about my finances (as in out of pocket).
It is a totally different world from what you might be used to in the US...

When I had my one and only surgery at an IMSS hospital I was told to disrobe and handed a gown (which barely covered my genitals - I am tall). Then I was pointed towards a row of metal folding chairs, in a long hallway, and told to sit (bare-butted) for my turn. Maybe 5 minutes before it was my turn (after a couple/few hours) the anesthesiologist came and sat next to me. He said - ok - for this procedure we are going to give you a spinal. I replied - no we are not - we are going to put me to sleep - which in the end they did do. btw - I walked on my own two feet (no gurney) into the operating room (a room filled with perhaps 15/20 various staff) and laid down on the table on my own. Mine was not a real life-or-death emergency. To be honest it was a trial ballon for me to get a sense of how things truly worked at IMSS.

Now if you are/were a government employee (I believe even a teacher) then you may have access to a higher tier of medical care called ISSTE. I think it is free - but I do not believe you can buy into it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The words private and IMSS do not mix.
When I had my one and only surgery at an IMSS hospital I was told to disrobe and handed a gown (which barely covered my genitals - I am tall).
Not sure how well I could handle that situation. I can't imagine sitting in a corridor with my nuts--much less anything in their general vicinity--on full display for the world to see.
 

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Then if you cannot handle that you need to get a private insurrance or self insurre or forget about insurrnce in Mexico, that is the reality here- My husband was very large and I ended up buying some very large hospital gowns on Amazon and use them when he went to the hospital.. You just have to be ready if you do not fit the general profile of the population and we have insurrance in the top hospitals.. They still did not have decent gowns for him. So you are forwarn if you are a tall or large size have a couple of gowns at the ready for hospital stays.
 

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Then I was pointed towards a row of metal folding chairs, in a long hallway, and told to sit (bare-butted) for my turn.
I once had occasion to sit outside a Seguro Popular hospital for hours when I had to take my worker in for a scorpion sting. He had had a severe reaction, his throat was closing up, and he needed to be put on IV antivenom. Although this took about 3 hours, I was not allowed to leave and come back for him- they said when someone was in the emergency ward, there had to be someone there waiting for them.

What I saw in those 3 hours, sitting on the waiting room chairs in the outside courtyard made me never want to rely on Mexican public health care. (Although I realize that IMSS is supposedly a tier above Seguro Popular)

Women in advanced labor left writhing in pain on the hard plastic chairs for hours (there were several of them).

A guy had been brought in who had electrocuted himself. I believe he was dead or almost, on arrival. The doctors would not tell his wife and parents, who had brought him in, that he was dead, instead waiting until more relatives showed up, were told, and had to break it to the ones who had been sitting there for a couple of hours, assuming their husband and son was receiving care.
 

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I'm just mentioning this in case in helps someone down the road. Where I live we would go to Cruz Roja for a scorpion sting (not SP - I think Cruz Roja is the only place you can go). It will cost something like 700 or 800 pesos (which is kind of pricey for a Cruz Roja visit). If you have a gardener (who you pay 500 or so pesos) keep that in mind should he need treatment. btw - if you can, note the color of the scorpion...

One of the most generous gestures I have seen in Mexico - I was a patient in a private hospital, which was pretty much empty because it was so expensive. If there were 20 rooms (on my floor) perhaps 5 were occupied. This was at the peak of covid. The hospital basically opened its doors to women in labor to get them out of the public hospitals (and limit the potential exposure to covid). And they just kept pumping these women in and out rapidly. So I pretty much found myself in a maternity ward - which actually felt pretty good all things considered.

The dicotomy of life and death in Mexico is something I still have not gotten used to. Death seems to be more accepted than say in the US. I'm exagerating a little - but it is almost an - oh well - attitude. And for the life of me I can't understand the low value put on life by these people who shoot each other up at night - sometimes apparently over some really small things. Like an argument amongst friends while drinking beers. I wish religion truly played a larger part of people's lives...
 

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Religion plays a large part.. death is something every one has to go through , it is a passage to another stage or whatever and people here totally expect it and accept it. They all will tell you that people are in a better place and they they can finally rest.. It is a very fascinating part of living here.. Ther is not much separation between life and death.. as it is reflected in the language , it is something that does not last.. you go on to a better place so ythey say esta muerto.. using estar in this case it a pretty interesting reflection of the way people look at it.. The attitude about death in this country is way more sane and healthy than in the US..
When my husband was laying down on the floor, friends told me to cover his bare feet because he was going to be cold... or looked cold.. They are helping his face to relax and look good. There was a tenderness that was very touching.. They told me that a dead body could never be left alone. Here death is truly part of living and it is a way better attitude than in other countries like th eUS or France wher it is feared..and disliked..
People here are very fatalistic and I think it is a very good thing. It is not placing less value on life , it is lloking at death as a natural ending of life that everyone will go through one day or another.
 

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Where I live we would go to Cruz Roja for a scorpion sting
Unfortunately there is no Cruz Roja facility in my area- the Seguro Popular hospital was the closest place to take him and it was an emergency situation. I first drove by our local govt. clinic, but they were closed.

I wish religion truly played a larger part of people's lives..
But that is exactly what leads people to claim it was "God's will" instead of taking precautions to minimize fatal accidents, or learning a lesson from it.

I see Mexicans barreling down the highway, Dad driving and Mom in the passenger seat, their luggage piled up behind the cab, with their little kids in the back of the pick-up truck, right up against the tail gate. If they get rear-ended, those kids can easily be dead. While they will be devastated, they will say it was God's will. No it wasn't, it was inattention to safety practices. I realize that the average Mexican can't afford an SUV with seat belts for the whole family, but at least put the kids right behind the cab with the luggage in the rear as some protection.

Same for having the baby balanced on the moto seat in front of them, or driving drunk, or messing with the electrical wiring without turning off the breakers first, or any one of a host of other preventable accidents.
 

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So I gather the IMSS insurance does not provide access to private healthcare facilities with higher standards of care, and that what IMSS provides is the most basic level of servcies? That's what I was trying to get at. And if you don't buy IMSS insurance, then as a exapt resident you would need to obtain insurance from a private for-profit insurance company?
Not exactly. In a big city (like Mexico City) the IMSS hospitals provide much more than just basic levels of services. The doctors aren’t necessarily second-class either; many of them work in private practice during the hours when they aren’t working at IMSS.
Also, if you have IMSS, there is nothing stopping you from going to a private doctor or a private hospital instead of IMSS, it’s just that you’d have to pay for it yourself. And lastly, whether you are an expat resident or a Mexican national is irrelevant.
 
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