2014-07-11 09:38:21

In this article, you will find useful information about Mexico's healthcare system, options for health insurance in Mexico, and vaccinations.

There are two types of hospitals in Mexico: public and private. Public hospitals are free to those who are enrolled in one of Mexico’s federal or state health programs. IMSS is the national program, and each state has various other programs, some only for government workers.

For access to one of these programs, it is necessary to have legal employment. Here is more information about the work visa for Mexico.

Private hospitals and clinics are also found throughout the country. Private hospitals offer much shorter wait times and generally better care than public hospitals, but they come with a high cost. Still, you may find that surgeries and other procedures at private hospitals are must less expensive than in some western countries. This is why you can find private hospitals with English-speaking doctors in popular tourist areas, such as Cancun or Cabo San Lucas.

If you have a minor problem like a cold or food poisoning, there is a better option than visiting a hospital. Many pharmacies have a small clinic attached where a doctor will examine you, often for free. If it isn’t free, then the fee will be small, usually between 20 and 50 pesos. The doctor will write prescriptions that you can fill in the same pharmacy.

Social health care and health insurance in Mexico

As mentioned, workers in Mexico have health insurance provided at either the federal or state level. Once you begin working in Mexico, you will need to visit an office of the relevant government agency to be enrolled in the system. Ask someone in the human resources department of your company for specific information.

Despite these social programs, many Mexicans also buy private insurance. This is because there can be waits of up to several months at public hospitals for non-emergency procedures. The hospitals can become quite crowded, which may cause wait times of many hours even for emergency procedures.

If you are living in Mexico without working, or if you are simply visiting, it is a good idea to have traveller’s insurance. You can buy traveller’s insurance online from a variety of companies, such as AIG or Global Travel Insurance. Or you can look at an insurance company that specifically covers expats, such as MSH International. Take a look at their websites to compare prices and coverage.


Vaccinations are not required to visit or live in Mexico. There is also no malaria or yellow fever in the country, and other diseases like dengue are extremely rare. When travelling anywhere abroad, however, it is a good idea to be vaccinated against tetanus, diphtheria, and hepatitis A and B in your home country before your trip.

Once in Mexico, you can get vaccinations for rabies, tetanus, or other diseases in the case of an emergency, such as a dog bite. Many public clinics provide these vaccinations for free, even to foreigners. You should first visit the doctor’s office in a pharmacy for a recommendation of which hospital to visit.

Dental care in Mexico

As with private health care, dental care in Mexico is quite affordable and of good quality. A thorough cleaning may be as low as 200 pesos (about $12 USD). In fact, many regular travellers to Mexico from countries with expensive dental care, like the United States, prefer to have their dental care done in Mexico. The best way to find a quality dentist’s office is to visit a big city and then do a Google search.

 Useful links:

Mexican Social Security Institute
World Health Organization, Mexico
AIG Travel Insurance
Global Travel Insurance
MSH International

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.