Make a wise decision
As more and more of my Mexican expat clients become eligible for Medicare in the US, more are asking how, or if, they can utilize their Medicare benefits. There is a lot of very misleading information out there, and when it comes to these types of things, you need to go back to the source to get the right answer. So, for Medicare, that means to go back to Medicare and find out; and also then if you have a supplement or Part C (Advantage Plan), go back to the company and ask them. Having Medicare cover anything in Mexico is an extremely narrow window, you must find out from the organization covering you (the supplement or Advantage Plan). I think relying on advertising or hearsay could be very risky for your financial future. And of course, unknowingly committing Medicare fraud would also not be a good thing.
Then there are the Canadians that may want to maintain their provincial health coverage. I have found that my Canadian prospects usually do know quite well where they stand with their respective province on this issue. And for those who have found a way to maintain their coverage, this article may apply to them as well.
In both cases, it often depends on how long you have been, or plan to be in Mexico before traveling back to the US or Canada. The point of this article is to discuss the risks and options of getting you back to your home country for treatment if you have maintained legitimate coverage there.
The first most common scenario might be that while living in Mexico you start having some weird symptoms, go to a doctor, and he/she diagnoses you with XYZ disease. It is quite serious, but it is not an emergency to get treated immediately. A couple of typical examples might be either prostate cancer, or cataracts. Typically, in both cases, you might take a week or a month or more to discuss treatment options, have further tests, and then schedule appropriate treatment or surgery. Catching a commercial plane ride from Merida to Houston for example only takes a couple of hours. In these cases, getting back to Texas or Ontario on a commercial flight for treatment would be the obvious thing to do. In some cases, the treatment you require may not cost that much in Mexico and many of us would just choose to have it done in Mexico and pay for it out of pocket. But other than that, taking advantage of your coverage back home would probably make sense.
The second scenario might be you come down with something that does require much more immediate help or treatment, but you could still be transported, and a commercial flight is out of the question. In this case evacuation insurance might be the ticket. In these cases, the company usually requires that doctors on both ends sign off on the transport as being okay. An example of this might be Covid, where they can stabilize you enough for an ambulance jet, and you would rather rack up the bill under your Medicare, than in a private Mexican hospital.
The third scenario is that you come down with something that requires immediate care. Typical examples might include a bad car accident, or appendicitis. These types of things usually require immediate treatment. Doing otherwise could endanger your life. These are the types of risks that international health coverage would cover and its one of many reasons expats buy this type of insurance. But if you are uninsurable, or over the maximum age for qualifying, then you’re on your own in the Mexican system. In some certain instances, your Medicare coverage might cover you (that is the stuff of another whole article), but it would most likely be that you would have to pay the bill and then file a claim and wait for reimbursement. This is why I recommend people call their Medicare organization and find these things out ahead of time.
So, in cases where you can be stabilized for transport, and wish to get back home to be treated and take advantage of your coverage there, then a good evacuation/travel med plan might be just the ticket. Although there are a few restrictions on getting these policies, generally age and pre-existing conditions don’t matter. And the premiums are quite reasonable. Coverage can be bought for travel with specific dates, as well as annual coverage which include multiple trips.
Following are links with more information and quotes on one of our most popular options.
Travel Med-Evac policies:
Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have questions. You can reach me at email@example.com
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