CBS affiliate KENS 5 in San Antonio recently reported that an increasing number of Americans who live in Mexico and own Mexico real estate are opting to enroll in the country’s Seguro Popular universal health care system.
“I just felt we needed some feeling of security if something happened to us in an acute way,” expat Albert Lerner told KENS 5.
Lerner and his wife Rhonda reportedly signed up for the plan and chose not to enroll in any U.S. medical care plans.
“In the past,I’ve paid for medical care [in Mexico] and it’s been superb,” shared Rhonda.
Prior to the Seguro Popular plan,healthcare in Mexico was similar to the United States and mostly available only through employers. However,the Mexican congress created the plan to provide coverage for those who are self-employed,work odd jobs or are too poor to pay for insurance. After nearly 20 years and two presidents,in 2012 Mexico reached its target number and enrolled more than 52 million people in the plan,which is very close to universal coverage.
Just a few weeks after the Lerners enrolled in the plan this September,both Albert and Rhonda suffered serious lacerations after falling onto broken glass at a backyard gathering. Then,a few days later Rhonda sprained her ankle. In both cases the Lerners told the CBS affiliate that the doctors in charge were “perfectly bilingual” and that they paid nothing for their emergency room visits due to their enrollment in Seguro Popular.
“If you own a home,its only $300 a year,” Albert Lerner said.
The premiums for Seguro Popular are charged on a sliding scale and home ownership is one of the factors considered. Renters are also eligible,however,as is anyone who is not covered by another insurance plan and can prove legal residency in Mexico. In addition,children are fully covered under the government-funded plan.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health,“Evidence indicates that Seguro Popular is improving access to health services and reducing the prevalence of catastrophic and impoverishing health expenditures.”