Mexico Medical Insurance
In Central America bordering the southern United States is the vibrant country of Mexico. Since 1853 Mexico has had a landmass of 1,964,375 km2 comprising 31 republican federation states with a total population of about 112,470,000 as of July 2010. Independent from Spanish rule since the early 19th century, Mexico has been slowly making a shift towards a democratic government since elections in 1997 and now has had a completely elected government since 2006. Rapid technological and economical growth since the 1990’s has also allowed Mexico to become one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world.
Mexico offers health care through various providers such as public institutions, private physicians, and private entities. The country spends close to 6.4% of its GDP on health care for the population. The Mexican health care system is separated in 3 unequal yet parallel systems. The first system is made up of 6 government run social security organizations that provide for about 50 million gainfully employed citizens of Mexico. The second is the Health Secretariat that provides for the uninsured poor, offering only limited health care such as selected vaccinations and oral re-hydration for children. Care given from this sector is extremely limited and not recommended for use by expatriates. The final system is the Private sector which is utilized by close to 3 million Mexicans. Close to 25 percent of patients either with social security benefits or no insurance prefer to use private care because of how more reliable it is, even though they have to pay out-of-pocket. Private Hospitals in Mexico such as the Hospital Angeles Del Carmen in Guadalajara, American British Cowdray Hospital in Mexico City and Hospital San José Tec Monterrey are some of the most advanced tertiary care centres in the world. Expatriates using these should know that a majority of private hospitals do not accept foreign health insurance so a cash or credit payment will be required in advance, but the cost is considerably lower, when compared to the US. It is important to discuss with your international health insurance company or advisor whether or not a particular hospital in Mexico will accept their payment method to ensure the coverage of medical payment.
Several infectious diseases still affect Mexico today, making it a safety factor for expatriates living or travelling in the country. Some of the more commonly seen diseases in Mexico are Hepatitis A, Typhoid fever, Dengue fever, Malaria, Leptospirosis, Rabies and bacterial diarrhoea. Several other mosquito borne diseases exist and an expatriate should take preventative measures to avoid being bitten. HIV/ Aids is also found in Mexico but only about 0.3 percent of the population, approximately 200,000 people, had the virus as of 2007, with 90 percent of the cases were spread through sex. The epidemic has had a varied impact across the country; the highest numbers of infected cases are located in Mexico City, Veracruz-Llave and Jalisco states and are generally concentrated within urban areas.
Access to health care is widely available in Mexico but rural public health facilities should only be trusted for basic medical needs, due to the possibilities of lack of equipment and supplies. The majority of health facilities both private and state-organized provide adequate care. Medium to large sized cities in Mexico will typically have at least 1 first-rate hospital. If you should be hurt or injured in any way in remote areas, an international medical insurance policy will help ensure you receive the air ambulatory or medical evacuation services necessary to reach the nearest centre of medical excellence.
Though terrorism is seen throughout the world, domestic crimes are more of a concern for expatriates living or travelling in Mexico. Theft, kidnapping and drug related violence are the most common reoccurring crimes in Mexico. Theft and pick-pocketing, though not usually life threatening, is seen throughout the country. Expatriates should exercise caution when travelling in public areas, such as airports and bus terminals, and should be careful when wearing anything visibly expensive. Kidnapping on the other hand is on the rise and becoming more dangerous, in that more often are people being killed even after the ransom has been paid. Kidnapping is most prevalent in the states of Guerrero and Veracruz. In order to protect yourself and your family from the usual high ransom price, making it difficult to obtain within the allotted time, it is advised to obtain kidnapping and ransom insurance coverage.
Drug related violent crimes are on the rise and usually seen in the northern states such as Chihuahua, Durango, Sinaloa and northern parts of Baja California. There have been more than 3,490 drug-related murders within the first six months of 2010 in the states of Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Baja California, Sonora, and Nayarit. Though travellers and expatriates are not specifically targeted you should exercise extreme caution when travelling, particularly to cities such as Nogales, Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana.
Mexico’s weather and natural disasters are something for an expatriate to take into consideration when travelling or living in this country. There are 2 main seasons during the year, the rainy and the dry season. The rainy season usually occurs for most of Mexico from May to September to October but the hurricane season lasts from June to November. Many parts of Mexico are subject to earthquakes, the last major earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale which hit the peninsula of Baja California in April of 2010. The state of Oaxaca also has earthquakes reoccur regularly. The final potential natural disasters to be aware of within Mexico are the 2 currently active volcanoes of Popocatepetl and Colima. Danger zones have been erected around each volcano, which have also been closed to the public, and can change in size depending on the current level of activity. These Volcanoes can routinely disrupt transportation within the surrounding area, but during an eruption air travel can be disrupted or stopped hundreds to thousands of miles downwind of the Volcano.