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Healthcare in Mexico > Mexico Healthcare & Health Insurance FAQ > What is IMSS?

What is IMSS?

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social or IMSS is one Mexico's Social Security Institute. Yearly costs, enrollment for expats, pre-existing conditions and more are discussed.

Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, IMSS, is Mexico's Social Security Institute. If you are working for a public or private sector employer, you should be automatically enrolled in IMSS. If you are retired or not working and wish to enroll in IMSS, you may be eligible to pay into the system. However, visa status (permanent resident visas are preferred, temporary resident visas are sometimes acceptable), pre-existing conditions and age are all factors in eligibility for IMSS. Eligible expats typically pay $300-400 per year for IMSS coverage.

"Some expats have been able to qualify for Mexico's IMSS (socialized medical coverage). What I've observed is that 'little medical problems' are often not worth taking to an IMSS clinic at all. Folks will just go to a local doctor and pay 200 or 300 pesos ($10 to 15 US) to a local general practitioner, and typically 400 to 600 ($20 to 30 US) pesos for a high-end specialist in a major city. When a friend contracted a rare illness however, her IMSS case was 'bumped up' the system, and she was cared for in a leading Mexico City hospital. (costs quoted here adjusted for Feb 2017 exchange rate)," one expat elaborated.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Updated On: Dec 08, 2018

First Published: Dec 08, 2018

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Get a quote for expat health insurance in Mexico from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
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If you're moving to Mexico or an expat living in Mexico, understanding the Mexican healthcare system is essential. We offer an overview of the public and private healthcare systems in Mexico, health insurance for expats in Mexico, hospitals and prescription drugs.

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