Mexico's public healthcare system is known as Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS). They provide universal healthcare to Mexican families and foreign residents (Expates). They also have a public option known as Seguro- Popular which is available for all residents of Mexico.
Tourists, Residente Temporal and Residente Permanente holders need to arrange for their own health care needs. US Medicare and Canadian health coverage is not available in Mexico.
(Newly elected Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has recently indicated that he will discontinue Seguro-Popular and combine it with the current IMSS system or a completely new health system. This seems like a monumental task that will require many approvals but may shake up the systems for a while. We will keep you updated on any changes we are aware of.)
Foreign residents (temporary or permanent) can apply for the Mexican public healthcare insurance system known an IMSS on a voluntary basis. This provides access to doctors, clinics and hospitals in the IMSS system in Mexico. Some medications are also covered under this plan. The cost for coverage depends on your age. There are restrictions and limitations that apply and some pre-existing conditions will disqualify you from enrolling and other pre-existing conditions will not be covered initially on these policies.
The following is a list of excluded conditions which include
mental illness, addictions, malignant tumors, congenital diseases and HIV—among others. You cannot enroll into the IMSS insurance program here in Mexico if you have any of the preexisting conditions . You can see a list of excluded and deferred pre-existing conditions here.
Demand for care is usually higher than the supply of services, so you may have to wait for care. (People who are enrolled in IMSS through an employer get priority over those who enroll voluntarily.)
There are two ways to enroll:
- First, anyone (foreign resident or Mexican national) who is formally employed in Mexico must pay their employee IMSS contributions and become enrolled in the program, regardless of any other private health insurance they may have;
- The second is by voluntary enrollment, which is open to those not in formal employment and wishes to enroll on a voluntary basis. For example, foreign residents who live in Mexico and retired.
Expats or foreigners who wish to enroll voluntarily must a Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente VISA card to qualify. FMM Tourist Card holders are not eligible.
The price for annual enrollment varies depending on your age. You can get the current rates from the table on this page. We have a client here in Acapulco that is 73 years old and she pays $7,200 pesos per year.
Approximately USD per year or Canadian per year at today's exchange rate.
Application and Payment
You can begin the application online or in person at your local IMSS office. You can register to access their web services here. You’ll then visit your local IMSS office to deliver your completed paperwork (original and copies), which includes:
- Your current passport
- Your current residency permit
- Proof of address, e.g. your latest electricity bill
- Marriage certificate* (if applicable)
- Birth certificate(s)*
- Application form and health questionnaire provided by IMSS
- Two photographs, same format and rules as those for your residency permit. Passport size photos
- Bank payment receipt for the first-year’s premium (made on the day you visit the local IMSS office)
Here is a list of required documents.
- If you have foreign-issued marriage and/or birth certificates they will need to be Apostilled (sometimes referred to as ‘notarized’) and translated into Spanish before you can submit them along with your application. In the US this can be done at the Secretary of State office in the State where the documents were issued. Since Canadian documents can't be apostilled you can legalize them here.