What To Do If You Get Sick or Hurt in Mexico

Does your insurance cover public or private healthcare in Mexico?

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you had an emergency while traveling through Mexico? WeExpats knows how concerning it can be to travel through Mexico without experience. Learn everything you can about the healthcare in Mexico before you travel in this convenient article. People get sick or hurt, and it’s always best to have a plan for seeing a doctor in Mexico in case your vacation should hit a snag. And as always, WeExpats recommends that you purchase travel insurance to ensure that you get the best healthcare in Mexico.

EMERGENCY:

If it’s an emergency, you can call 911—same as in the United States. Ambulances in Mexico are typically private companies, and you may even have several ambulances arrive to try and compete for your business. Be warned that you may have to pay for them on arrival, privately owned ambulances aren’t free.

NON-EMERGENCY:

If it’s not an emergency, then there are several options for the expat in Mexico. It really depends on the severity of the injury or illness.

To find all the hospitals and clinics in your immediate vicinity, the Mexican government runs a free phone application that has all the information. This app—called RadarCiSalud—has a multitude of facilities, with over 5,000 medical consultation offices located in convenient, local pharmacies. Featured in the app is a virtual locater feature which will actually show you where the facility or office is while laid over your street view, so you can find the facility easily when walking. It also has a conventional Google map with all the sites overlaid and some basic information about the facility. Unfortunately, it is only available in Spanish, however the interface is very user friendly even if you don’t speak the language.

For Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dgis.radarcisalud
For iOS:
https://itunes.apple.com/mx/app/radarcisalud/id1057984642?mt=8

Typically when searching for healthcare in Mexico, as a rule of thumb it is wise to think about seeing a doctor in Mexico at a small facility located in a pharmacy if you have something benign like the flu or a dog bite and you simply need some antibiotics or prescription medication. Of course, if you fractured your arm or some other pressing concern, it would likely be prudent to seek out a larger facility capable of handling your needs.

The following are the typical options available to American tourists:

PHARMACY DOCTORS:

Many pharmacy companies, such as Del Ahorro or Similares, have an in-house doctor available during the day for small issues such as infections or persistent illness. These consultorios are incredibly convenient seeing as how the typical wait is only an hour, and it generally only costs about $2 USD to see them, whether it be: stitches, blood sugar or blood pressure check, or any other medical consultation. There is no insurance required. With your medication costing roughly $5 or $10 USD, the total cost is very convenient and affordable. Plus, it’s a great benefit that you only have to go next door to buy your medication!

These doctors can still be helpful for more serious concerns because they can provide a referral to the nearest facility near you capable of treating your ailment. Unfortunately, their equipment is often limited, and they may not speak English. This is option is best left for your simple, run-of-the-mill cases.

HOTEL DOCTORS:

Many hotels will have a doctor on-site to attend to guests. It is up to the hotel chain in particular whether or not non-guests are allowed to seek medical attention—though many hotel companies will. The facilities at hotels are not much better than at the pharmacy consultorios, and they are substantially more expensive, however they could be convenient depending on your particular location in Mexico. One thing for certain is the doctor is almost guaranteed to speak English.

PUBLIC DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS:

Mexico has a private and a public healthcare system. The public healthcare system is rather good, though you can expect long wait times—especially at larger hospitals. Smaller clinics may lack diagnostic equipment, though they might have less wait time. The doctors may not speak English at public hospitals or clinics in Mexico.

PRIVATE DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS:

Private healthcare is a fantastic option. They are well-staffed with excellent equipment, and they have the shortest wait times—or only by appointment—of any of the options listed above. However, they are the most expensive option. The good news is they are often staffed with English-speaking personnel, doctors, and nurses.

INSURANCE AND BILLING:

At a private facility, they will ask for a credit card before even registering you with a doctor. Expect to pay in full before you leave the clinic or hospital. Your American insurance may not cover you abroad, and if it does, it’s very unlikely that it will cover you in full. Medical travel insurance is fairly inexpensive, and can be paid for easily through most booking websites like Booking or Expedia.

For those who have insurance and plan on seeking reimbursement for their payment, it is important that you ask for a factura, or a special receipt intended for being reimbursed. They will ask you if you have a tax number in Mexico (RFC) and you can give them this number, which is a stock number for foreigners who are not entered in the system: XEXX010101000.

So if you come across some unfortunate luck and need healthcare in Mexico, now you can rest assured that you have the proper information to make the informed decision that is best for your particular needs.

Interested in getting health insurance while living abroad? Get a free quote today by clicking below.

Interested in getting health insurance while living abroad? Get a free quote today by clicking below.

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