Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS)

imsscard0001.jpgIMSS is the Mexican national health insurance agency.

As I think I reported here a couple of months ago I accompanied my gringo neighbor, Steve, to the local IMSS office to provide translation services for the renewal of his IMSS enrollment. While there I inquired as to what is required for me to enroll.

A few weeks ago I took copies of all of the documents I thought were necessary to apply for enrollment. As it turned out I was told that I must have my birth certificate translated into Spanish and was informed that I could have it translated down the street at the Centro de Idiomas (language school) of the University of Veracruz. So off I went.

The teacher with whom I met at the Centro de Imiomas indicated I could return the next day to pick up the translated document. When I returned she informed me that there were a couple items she wasn’t able to read from the 1970 photocopy of my birth certificate and asked me to make corrections. I corrected three items, such as my father’s middle name and the name of the street where my family lived at the time of my birth, the teacher promptly made the corrections, had the office director certify the translation, I paid $250 pesos, and I was on my way.

Today I returned to the IMSS office with copies of my passport and FM 3 visa, the translated birth certificate, 2 frontal head shot photos, and copies of my cable TV bill. Within 10 minutes after entering the office the fellow helping me had completed the necessary paperwork and escorted me to the outer office where I would receive the premium invoice, which I would take to and pay at the bank next door. Generally fees for governmental services here are paid at a bank. I waited in line, with my service number in hand, for about fifteen minutes when I was beckoned to the service counter where the invoices are produced. Within five minutes I had the invoice in hand and was off to the bank next door.

I waited in line at the bank for about 10 minutes, paid the $1,930.44 peso fee ($180. USA) for one year of health insurance coverage, received my receipt, went across the street to obtain two copies of the payment receipt, and crossed back across the street to the IMSS office.

I provided a copy of the receipt to the outer office service counter, went back to the office of the fellow who had completed the initial paperwork and gave him the other copy of the receipt, and within 10 minutes he handed me my enrollment card, upon which visits for medical attention are recorded, and my copies of the paperwork. That was it. All-in-all, it took about an hour or so.
As of June 1 I will be enrolled in the IMSS health insurance system. Next May I must renew my coverage and pay the annual fee, which, incidentally, is now $2,905 pesos for those over the age of 60.

As with my experiences with the immigration offices here and in Merida, the folks who attended to my IMSS application were uniformly very pleasant and efficient.



Filed under Mexican National Health Insurance

15 responses to “Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS)

  1. Jan

    hi.Thanks for the good report. Didn’t they do any health screenings or have you fill one out? Thanks…….

  2. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for visiting and for your good question.

    There was no requirement for health screening or questionnaire.

    I don’t know much about health insurance but do not remember ever having to provide a health screening when enrolled in the various insurance programs provided by my government employers during my working years in the USA.


  3. Welcome to the wonderful world of Socialised Medecine!

    Sooner or later you’ll probably find out just why it is that those who can afford it go privately.

  4. Eddie,

    I see nothing at all wrong with those who can afford it seeking private health care coverage, but I think health care coverage should be provided to all and the least expensive manner to do so is through a publicly funded, one-payer system.

    Please understand that I am speaking from the perspective of one from the USA, where there are tens of millions who have no health coverage.

    All reports I have received, and from my limited experience with it, indicate health care available in Mexico is excellent. However, not everyone is covered.

  5. Bill

    When you actually have an emergency, or a serious illness (which I really hope doesn’t occur), I’ll be interested in learning of your opinion. “Cheap” doesn’t mean “good”, or even “adequate.” One also needs to be aware that certain, maybe all, pre-existing conditions are excluded from coverage – or that’s my understanding. Yes, for the routine office visit the cost of medical care in Mexico is low, but when you get into the hospital or clinic and find that equipment doesn’t work, or there’s not a piece of equipment you need, or there isn’t enough staff, or trained staff, employed or on call – the “low cost” might not be worth it. Zie gazunt!

  6. Hi Bill,

    It will indeed be interesting to see how things work out if I need some serious medical treatment.

    I have talked to a number of folks who have been very satisfied with the medical and dental treatment they have received here in Mexico and I know there are thousands of gringos who travel to Mexico for medical and dental treatment.

    We’ll see. Have you been enrolled in the IMSS? Have you had the experience that “the hospital or clinic” here “and [found] that equipment doesn’t work, or there’s not a piece of equipment you need, or there isn’t enough staff, or trained staff, employed or on call”?

    My ultimate coverage for catastrophic, terminal disease is a bottle of pills, a bottle of tequila, and a lawn chair on the beach at low ride.

  7. Ramiro Aguirre

    I Have a Mexican friend in New York, that needs foreing insurance to covering his wife with breast cancer in Veracruz, Mexico, please explain me what we have to do to obtain this insurance. Thanks for your efforts and I am sorry for all inconveniences

  8. Anthony Bonaduce

    Hello Bill,

    I have been living in Oaxaca, Mexico for the past 10 years. During that time I have carried private medical for myself and daughter (Mexican). I was unaware that I was even eligable for IMSS insurance. Do to some horrible financial setbacks, I am looking for something to supply interum protection for my daughter and me until thing get better. Is there anything that would preclude this gringo from paying the premium and receiving the insurance?



  9. You Know Me


    All I know is that legal residents of foreign nationality are eligible to participate. I’d got to the local office and ask.


  10. Fillup

    Thanks for the great info, I am looking to relocate to San Felipe. This will help.

  11. of course health insurance is very much essential for your own sake”;.

  12. some insurance agencies are very greedy that is why i always take a second thought when dealing with them~~’

  13. there are insurance agencies that are scam too so make sure that you deal with legit insurance agencies :~`

  14. estrella

    no les recomiendo el seguro

  15. Pingback: Anthony bonaduce | Imageflip

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