Being Healthy in Mexico
Health is a number one priority for those relocating to Mexico City, especially considering the problem of air and noise pollution, as well as traffic, infrastructure and crime factors that such a megalopolis inevitably poses for its denizens. One has to abide by certain basic rules so as to be able to stay healthy in the big city. Foreigners usually have to go through a period of physical adjustment in Mexico, since general standards of sanitation often leave much to be desired, and also due to the fact that there are different types of bacteria that your body will be introduced to and will have to become immune to. In order to be fully informed on the best health practices, hospitals, and doctors in Mexico, the MedToGo book is the definitive guide.
Obviously the first rule to remember is to never drink the tap water. While some people go as far as to not even brush their teeth with tap water, this may be a little extreme. Also, even if one has lived for a considerable time in Mexico, eating off street corner taco stands can be risky to say the least. Although it's difficult to go through the transition process without being affected by "Montezuma's Revenge" you can take the basic precautions. Be wary of any salads served at restaurants and drink bottled water. Another thing that many foreigners underestimate is the altitude of Mexico City. This can often put a strain on many people and takes time to get used to. If you have a heart condition, be sure to consult a doctor before and after making the move to Mexico City.
Mexico City offers many parks and also some nearby get-away options for weekends, be they colonial towns, the beach or natural springs and spas. There are also numerous and excellent sports clubs and gyms in the city. Prices vary but are generally on the higher side. Consult a physician before undertaking a fitness regimen.
Health and Medical Care
When it comes to medical and health care in Mexico, many expatriates have their doubts and their fears. Coming from countries with some of the best health care and hospitals in the world, many expatriates just don't know what to expect in Mexico. The truth of the matter is that there's no need to panic. In fact Mexico has some very fine hospitals that offer excellent care, and also for considerably less in terms of cost. Have a look at our insurance section for more information.
While Mexico has very good doctors and physicians they also charge considerably less than European or U.S. doctors. An appointment can cost as little as $30 to $50 USD. Clinics operate under excellent conditions in all major towns, and especially in the big cities. Yet ultimately the well being and safety of your family relies on good medical and health insurance. Again, you can find more on the topic by clicking here.
The first and most basic option for foreigners residing in Mexico that hold a FM2 or FM3 visa is the IMSS nationwide health insurance program that offers services including a visit to the doctors clinic, hospital expenses (covering minor injuries and sickness) and intensive care facilities. The coverage only costs US$225 per annum. It takes six to nine months for the coverage to take effect. Nevertheless you do not have a choice of physicians, as the IMSS program has its own physicians.
The ideal choice is private coverage that will cover all medical costs in the best private hospitals in the country. Many policies go for around US$1000 per annum. The best health and medical insurance plans cover expenses of up to $500,000 to $1,000,000 dollars per year (renewable every year) and offer a network of the best hospitals around the globe (including Mexico), covering dozens of countries, including different deductibles that fit your lifestyle, free coverage for all children under the age of ten, coverage of 100% of hospital and medical expenses in the country of residence after your choice of deductible, and medical care covering birth defects, premature births and other complications. Also covered are medical check-ups, emergency help lines, repatriation of mortal remains, and more.
While one may find almost any kind of medication in Mexico, the same medicine is relatively cheaper in Mexico than in Europe or the U.S., and often a prescription is not required. But because many pharmacies do not have trained pharmacists on staff, it's important that a doctor is consulted for a prescription and that any prescription is translated into Spanish to avoid problems.
In terms of hospitals, Mexico City has two world-class hospitals, both with a fully bilingual, English-speaking staff of doctors. The ABC (American British Cowdray) Hospital is located in Colonia America, right next to the American School, while the Angeles Hospital is located in the Pedregal, in the south of Mexico City. Another good hospital is the Spanish Hospital in Polanco.
Monterrey also has fine hospitals, notably the Hospital San Jose Tec. de Monterrey, the Hospital Santa Engracia, and the Hospital Jose A. Muguerza.
Guadalajara has the Americas Hospital, Hospital del Carmen, Hospital Mexico-Americano, Hospital San Javier, Hospital Dr. Angel Leaño and the Hospital Santa Maria Chapalita.
For a comprehensively researched list of hospitals in Mexico, MedToGo offers a Health and Safety Travel Guide.
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