How to find the best health insurance in Mexico and Latin America
Whether you’ve recently moved to Mexico or have been residing in the area for a while now, at some point in time you’re going to need a visit to the doctor. The cost of care in Mexico, and much of Latin America, tends to be more affordable to expats. However, high-quality medical treatments can still set you back, with procedures such as a heart bypass costing around USD $27,000.
While the right health insurance plan can help you avoid out-of-pocket payments, the tricky part is knowing which one to go with. In this Pacific Prime Latin America article, we’ll tell you what you need to know to secure the best health insurance in Mexico and Latin America.
What are your healthcare needs?
As with any product you’re planning on purchasing, you need to know what you’re going to use it for. That’s why the first step in securing health insurance is to consider your healthcare needs. Ask yourself the following questions to get a better idea of what those needs are.
How often do you visit the doctor?
One simple way to start is to ask yourself whether you need inpatient coverage, outpatient coverage, or both. If you pay regular visits to the doctors, the right plan for you will likely offer outpatient benefits, which means care outside of overnight hospital stays is covered. Conversely, if you’re generally in good health and have not experienced any major medical issues in life, a basic inpatient-only plan may be enough to alleviate the costs.
Do you have a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition is an illness or injury that you have either previously had or already have when you’re getting health insurance. Most health insurance coverage excludes pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and cancer. This is even more likely when it comes to local health insurance plans since they often have more limitations than international plans. Even though pre-existing conditions are a general exclusion, some insurers will provide coverage with restrictions like additional premiums and waiting periods in place.
Do you have a doctor of choice?
If you have a preferred specialist or GP, you’ll want to make sure that your policy covers visits to them. You can speak with your broker or insurance provider to find out whether the clinic you usually go to is part of the policy’s provider network, which are the healthcare facilities that the insurer either recommends or requires you to use. While you’re free to visit any doctor you like, going to one outside of your insurer’s network of providers could mean little to no reimbursement.
What coverage benefits do you need?
Once you understand your healthcare needs, you’ll need to find out what coverage benefits apply to you. When comparing health insurance plans online, you’ll notice that there are many differences when it comes to coverage benefits between insurance providers, and sometimes even from the same provider.
With the most basic plans, you’ll usually only be covered for hospitalization expenses in one country and receive no other benefits. More comprehensive plans may provide additional benefits like outpatient, dental, and maternity. The right benefits for you will depend on your unique requirements, though most local and international plans in Mexico typically include inpatient and outpatient coverage and vaccinations.
On top of that, you can get coverage for additional treatments as add-ons to your existing plan, such as:
- Global coverage
- Pre-existing conditions
- Health check-ups
- Dental treatments
- Maternity care
- Vision/optical care
Know how to compare health insurance options
Looking for the best health insurance can seem like a daunting task, but if you don’t take the time to compare your options then you could end up with the wrong plan. Price comparison sites and plan comparison tools like ours are a great starting point since they can save you a lot of time and effort. Instead of getting quotes by going back and forth between various sources, these tools do it for you.
However, you must be careful when going this route since some insurance comparison sites are only looking out for themselves. It’s advisable to use a licensed broker to compare health insurance quotes to avoid being cheated. That way, you can guarantee that you’re looking at the top health insurance plans from a range of insurers.
What to keep in mind when comparing plans
There are many factors that you should consider when comparing plans. Keep the following factors in mind to ensure that you’re getting the most value out of your plan comparisons.
- Price – Letting the lowest price dictate which plan you go with is not advisable. Cheap premiums often come with substandard benefits.
- Renewability – While international health insurance plans are typically lifetime renewable, that doesn’t usually apply to local ones. Without lifetime renewability, your insurer can choose whether or not they want to renew your policy, putting you in a tough spot if you develop a serious health condition.
- Network of providers – Take a look at the hospitals and healthcare facilities that the policy covers to see if you would visit the ones that are included.
- Coverage area – Look at whether the plan offers local or international coverage. Expats and frequent travelers need to pay particular attention to this since an international health insurance plan may be the most suitable option.
- Insurer reputation – Going with insurance providers that are recognized for their customer service and claims reimbursement can save you a lot of headaches in the future. Also, make sure that their premium increases are stable to avoid exorbitant prices later on.
Look at ways you can lower your premium
Even though the price is one of the key factors that’ll determine whether you purchase a health insurance policy, it’s advisable to avoid the cheapest ones. Knowing how to save on your premium will allow you to get the benefits you need without breaking the bank. One of the most effective ways to do just that is to adjust your deductible.
In insurance jargon, a deductible is an amount you must pay for healthcare before the plan comes into effect. In most cases, higher deductibles mean lower premiums. The same goes for lower deductibles and higher premiums. Just make sure that the deductible is one that you can actually afford to pay if need be.
Get help from a licensed broker
The easiest way to ensure you get the best health insurance in Mexico, Latin America, or anywhere else in the world is to work with a licensed broker such as Pacific Prime Latin America. Insurance brokers compare plans from various insurers to help you find the best options for your needs and budget.
With more than twenty years of experience in the insurance industry, we have the knowledge, expertise, and relationships with the world’s leading insurers to ensure you get the plan you’re looking for. Aside from reviewing your options, offering plan comparisons, and helping you narrow down the right plan, we also provide an array of additional complimentary services such as renewals support and claims assistance.
Whether you’re looking for travel health insurance for Mexico, the best retiree health insurance, or anything in between, Pacific Prime is here to help. Contact us for a free plan comparison and quote or impartial advice today.
When she’s not writing, she’s likely searching for a new restaurant or cafe to try, reading or doing yoga.
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