Mexico does not have any joint healthcare arrangements with other countries, nor is there any ‘free’ medical treatment available. If you move to Mexico you have to make sure that you are covered either by private insurance or through the Mexican social security system.
The Mexican social security system
The Mexican social security system goes by the name of the Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social or just IMSS. The IMSS covers both health treatments and salary payments in case of illness or accidents. Employees of Mexican companies have to pay a part of their salary to the IMSS, even if they take out a private health insurance as well.
Health treatment through the IMSS is free at the point of delivery, with the level of care depending on the area you live in. Big cities generally have a wider range of treatments, but also higher demand and long waiting lists. In rural areas health institutions are faced with less demand, but only offer a (sometimes very!) limited range of treatments.
Be aware that the social security level of healthcare is not what you are used to in most industrialised countries. Costly and long-term treatments are often not covered by the system, so many Mexicans and most foreigners prefer to take out private health insurance as well if they can. If you are not covered by the IMSS, you need to get a private health insurance anyway.
Private health insurance for Mexico
Mexico has a well developed private health insurance market, with many national and international providers to choose from.
Levels of coverage and premiums vary greatly, so shop around and compare carefully. Besides the level of coverage the cost of your private health insurance in Mexico will also depend on your age, your health conditions and other risk factors.
Many large companies provide private healthcare plans as part of their employees’ benefits. Health insurance costs have risen significantly in Mexico in recent years, so company health insurance plans are often a major bonus.
If you do not get a health insurance policy through your company you will have to take out private insurance yourself.