One of the main concerns of any person looking to retire overseas is the quality of healthcare. Is it possible to get medical treatment as good as what’s available in the U.S. and Canada? The answer…a resounding yes. Sometimes it’s even better than what’s on offer at home, and at a more affordable price too.
Measuring the quality of healthcare is difficult, and it’s hard to put a number on it. We can, however, put a number on the price of medical procedures. And these costs (as well as quality) helped us score each of the 24 countries in the healthcare category of International Living’s 2018 Global Retirement Index.
Read on to learn more about the top five countries in the world for healthcare. In each of these countries you’ll find clean, excellent hospitals, highly trained doctors, and affordable care.
There are three things that should be considered when assessing the healthcare options in any country; quality, affordability, and accessibility. Mexico ticks all the right boxes in each of these categories, with wonderful individual doctors and specialists, many top-notch hospitals, and cutting-edge technology.
Every medium to large city in Mexico has at least one first-rate hospital. Many doctors speak English as their second language and a large percentage have completed at least some of their medical training in the U.S. That said, Mexico’s medical universities are very good.
National healthcare insurance is available to all residents. Depending on your circumstances and whether you have a pre-existing condition (yes, you’ll be covered anyway), you can apply for one of the two national healthcare programs, IMSS or Seguro Popular.
IMSS provides mandatory coverage for Mexico’s employees. It is also the nation’s social security agency. Funds for the program come from the government, employee contributions, and employers’ contributions. They offer a full range of treatments and care is handled through an appointment system. And if hospitalized, your family is your primary nurse and non-medical caregiver. Expats holding a residency visa may apply for this medical insurance and it costs around $350 to $450 per year, per person.
The second program available to expats is called Seguro Popular. Unlike the IMSS program, participation in Seguro Popular is strictly voluntary. The cost is determined through an interview process that determines your standard of living and assigns a very modest cost, at the end. This program has hundreds of hospitals and thousands of clinics covering millions of people across Mexico. This is the most popular program for expats because there is no age limit to apply and you cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions. There are, however, a few things not covered by this program, such as dialysis. And while not completely inclusive of all ailments, they cover the majority of illnesses and procedures. Seguro Popular is continuing to expand and improve its coverage by building new hospitals and clinics across the country.
Mexico offers a very good system of care, especially when combined with one of the national insurance programs. Prescription costs are silly-cheap and out-of-pocket expenses rarely run more than a few hundred dollars per year, on average. “You’ll find all the common brand-name prescription drugs here, at lower prices,” says ILMexico Editor Glynna Prentice. “They generally cost 25% to 50% of what you’d pay north of the border. Generics are available for many off-patent drugs, as well.”
Many doctors routinely make house-calls and phone you to inquire about your health, after treatment. In fact, many pharmacy chains provide a free physician whose office is attached to the pharmacy. Simply walk in and pay nothing for a consultation. And most medications do not require a prescription.