Tuesday, January 7th 2020

Goodbye Seguro Popular – So What’s Next? Find Out What’s Happening in EASY Plain English

Written by

Rafael Bracho

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Goodbye Seguro Popular – So What’s Next?

Find Out What’s Happening in EASY Plain English

Goodbye Seguro Popular – Introduction:

If you follow the Mexican news, then you might have seen the latest news on Seguro Popular. Mexican President López Obrador (AMLO) and his government have decided to scrap the long-standing Seguro Popular healthcare system in favor of what he believes will be a better system. 

So goodbye Seguro Popular; but now you might have the question: So what’s next? 

Goodbye Seguro Popular – What is Seguro Popular:

As you might recall from our article on Public Healthcare in Mexico, there used to be two main systems of public healthcare in Mexico: IMSS and Seguro Popular.

– Recap About IMSS –

IMSS is Mexico’s social security institute. Mexicans pay and then they receive the benefits from this program. If you have a temporary or permanent residency, then you could also pay to join the IMSS. It’s very affordable, has good doctors, and the IMSS has a decent (though limited) supply of medication. But it also has little to no amenities, lacking personal service (like meals in hospital stays), and if you have a pre-existing condition, then you are likely barred from joining.

– Recap About Seguro Popular –

Seguro Popular used to be even worse. It was there for people who could not afford IMSS or were ineligible due to pre-existing conditions. Once again, expats with temporary or permanent residency could apply. If you had money to pay, then you would be charged based on what you could afford. If you had no money, then you could apply to get the benefits for free. Seguro Popular’s healthcare was the most barebones care in all of Mexico—exactly what you would expect from a developing nation with often inadequate and antiquated facilities.


Goodbye Seguro Popular – So What is AMLO Doing?

As you might recall from our in-depth article on the subject, AMLO is basically integrating the IMSS, ISSSTE, and Seguro Popular (as well as other organizations like la SEDENA) under a new organization called Instituto de Salud para el Bienestar (INSABI). 

Starting January 1st, 2020, this new program will offer free medical attention and medications for all Mexican citizens without restrictions. This will also apply to legal residents.

Mexican President López Obrador claims this is a retaking of Mexico’s healthcare system which was slowly being dismantled and privatized. Now even the most disenfranchised citizens can benefit from the healthcare that is necessary to ensure a thriving population and society.

Mexican citizens will not need to pay fees or join organizations to receive a policy. The only requirements that Mexican citizens will need will be any one of the following:

  • Mexican birth certificate
  • INE (voter registration card)
  • CURP (Mexican equivalent of a social security number)

*In addition to presenting an official document, Mexican citizens will also be required to not have social security with the IMSS or the ISSSTE. 

Goodbye Seguro Popular – What is the New Program?

The new program that will replace Seguro Popular is called Instituto de Salud para el Bienestar (Health Institute for Welfare)—with the acronym INSABI. It will have a budget of $80B MXN (the equivalent of $4.25B USD) being provided by the Mexican Fund for Catastrophy Protection Expenses.

Instead of local governments being in charge of their own hospitals and health centers, now they will be under the direct control of INSABI. They hope that this consolidation will be able to deliver medical supplies and prescription medication to the most remote parts of Mexico—or as AMLO said, everywhere “Coca Cola and Sabritas products reach”.

In addition, doctors, nurses, specialists, and other medical personnel will be offered financial incentives to reside in poor rural communities so that all marginalized Mexican citizens can benefit from this program. This move will cover 64 million Mexican citizens who do not currently have health insurance. 

Goodbye Seguro Popular – How Will This Affect Expats?

It is still unclear how this move will affect expats. In short, INSABI is not for foreigners. Therefore, you might think that it will not affect you at all.

If you are a temporary or permanent resident who has been buying into Mexican social security programs then you can still get service from the IMSS or ISSSTE facilities. However, you may want to recognize that the services will be available to all Mexican citizens now.

This could mean longer lines with medical resources and hospital staff stretched thin—certainly thinner than before. 

The best way to ensure that you and your loved ones receive the optimal care that you need in case of an emergency is to get expat health insurance. At WeExpats, we broker several insurance packages to fit any budget. Quit fretting over what will happen under the new socialized health program and get your trip abroad insured today!

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