Canadian (BC) Health Insurance in Mexico
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Oct 24, 2012 10:59 PM Last Post By: Christindleo
Oct 17, 2012 11:28 AM
Canadian (BC) Health Insurance in MexicoHi all,
I am 67 years old, and will be heading off to Mexico, via San Antonio, for 5 months and a week, this year, My emergency medical insurance covers me for 17 days at a time, which should cover me for the week that I am in San Antonio. I keep putting off calling my emergency medical company to see how much the additional coverage would cost, as last year, which was for less time and I was one year younger, cost me just over $500. This is dependent on me continuing my regular universal medical insurance, which I intend to do.
My thought is, considering health care is generally less expensive in Mexico than Canada, perhaps I should not bother with purchasing emergency medical insurance, just making sure that my return flight to Canada does not touch down in the US.
Would love to hear your thoughts, and advice.
X-posted on Older Travellers thread.
Edited by: lotusland2
Oct 17, 2012 2:18 PM
1If you are hit by a vehicle or have a stroke or heart attack and you are hospitalized in intensive care, do you have enough money available that you can get a hold of? While I agree that medical care is generally less expensive, if the worst case happens, you will have to be able to lay your hands on a sizable sum of money to ensure that you are treated at a good facility by good doctors. If you are in the hospital for several weeks and require intensive treatment, it could cost much more than $500. You could be betting your life if you go without insurance. If it were me, I would want the piece of mind.
Oct 17, 2012 4:33 PM
2Unfortunately any health insurance you buy, does not take into account how much cheaper costs are in Mexico. They charge you as if you are going to the USA.
For example myself, I am no spring chicken anymore. I have been wintering in Mexico since 2001 and have never ever bought insurance. Insurance would be at least $ 200.00 per month. Multiply this by the many months I have spent in Mexico and it becomes a sizable sum. A conservative guess is about 38 months and the insurance premiums would have been about $ 7,600.00
Last winter an inattentive Mexican driver ran me off the road on my motor scooter. Make a long story short, my total medical expenses came to about 38,000.00 pesos over 3 months, about $ 2,910.00. For which I was re-imbursed $ 900.00 when I got home.
Oct 17, 2012 10:18 PM
3My relatives-in law, who also live in BC and are now over 65 have had good luck using their Mastercard insurance. I don't know the details about length of trip restrictions, etc. and if you don't have a Mastercard you would have to get one now to find out! The cost was really cheap.
SIL was hospitalized in Las Vegas and the bill was $27,000 and the MC insurance paid it just fine, with no problems, SIL was so impressed.
I think that some on the board don't realize that your Canadian medical plan will cover costs in Mexico, up to what the cost would be in Canada for the same thing. Really, Canadians only need extra coverage for the USA, where the costs are so much higher than here.
Any plan where you could just buy medical evacuation coverage?? Yes, and plan for a direct flight back to Canada!
Oct 18, 2012 7:19 AM
4BCMum, you will find that Mastercard will only cover you if you pay for all the travel costs ie Flights etc. using the MC. Your statements, unless YOU have have first hand experience it is only hearsay!
As for Cdn paying up to the rate, you are totally wrong, see my above post re costs and re-imbursement! I even paid Dollars 100.00 to have all my itemized medical bills translated to English as is stipulated.
Oct 18, 2012 10:56 AM
5RGM, could you kindly tell me which province you live in? I'm trying to get through to the BC plan, but not so easy!!
Just got my quote from my travel insurance carrier, and an extension will cost me an additional $661, total of $726. This is a U of Ottawa plan with Medoc! And, I have the "Optimum" plan, no deductible!!! Possibly I can look at a deductible to take the cost down?
I did need to use the insurance while in the US last summer for an allergic reaction to a bee sting, and they were very good, paying the ER charge directly, and even paying for the two prescriptions filled.
Re: credit card insurance, yes, my card does have some, but I think it has recently been "extended" from 2 days to 4 days for over 65ers.
Oct 18, 2012 11:29 AM
6RGM, definitely "hearsay" as you call it. However, my in-laws drive down to Las Vegas and own their own condo there, so do not incur any travel expenses other than perhaps gasoline for their vehicle which they might put on their Mastercard. The insurance is a totally different thing. Their time in the USA is for months each visit, staying within the legally allowed time frame.
And as you state that you have "NEVER EVER" purchased insurance, I am wondering how exactly you know everything???
Lotusland, there is a fair amount of detail on the BC Medical web site, easy to find quickly. As I am sure you imagine they get this type of question often. I once waited over two hours to get a person on the phone......and I do like to have this type of thing in writing.
Oct 18, 2012 11:48 AM
7Okay, after listening to canned music for what seemed like days, finally got through to the proper people. I did try to use the website, but could not find the info I wanted, although, having just spoken to the correct individual, probably should have keyed in "Out of province". She will be sending me out a brochure which describes BC out of province coverage, and also highly recommended taking out emergency medical insurance.
A summary of what I was told is that BC Med will only cover up to $75 per night hospital bed, will pay doctor fees in Canadian funds up to what a Canadian doctor would charge, no ambulance, chiropractic, physio, etc. That would explain the shortfall that RGM experienced.
I also discovered that I should be registering my absense if I am going to be away for over a month, and that I can be covered on occasion up to 2 years, but she spoke so fast that I did not catch how often. Otherwise, the 6 month rule applies.
Now I've got to determine whether I should take on the insurance extension! I recently spoke to an American who not-so-respectfully suggested that we Canadians are wimps when it comes to paying for health care!! I have to say that I'm not sure what takes my breath away more - paying the hefty premium, or taking the chance that I may have to pay for medical costs out of pocket!!!
Oct 18, 2012 11:40 PM
Oct 19, 2012 2:10 AM
9A one day and overnight stay in Yuma for one who complained of chest pains cost 5,000 USD. With a ten thousand deductible the bill was all on their dime, but maybe a good tax deduction. And maybe some reimbursement from B.C. Medical.
A broken wrist in Mexico yielded a 4,000 CAD bill for the procedures. I think travel medical came through.
We've bought for 7 winters in Mexico and four in USA. Most came with a 500 dollar deductible. We've never had a claim, so we could have saved a lot of money by not buying, right? But we don't want to be like our friend who lives in Mexico, a Canadian, who went through heart surgery there and is busy trying to pay off the 20,000 dollar bill on his Mexican earnings and having to come north to work summers.But then, we have a slight idea how much heart procedures cost where we now go, the USA. About ten times the Mexican rate. Its called insurance.
Oct 19, 2012 12:34 PM
10Lotusland2, I am in Ontario and very carefully checked the website for OHIP out of country coverage.
In there it is stated that they will cover emergency coverage and only if in a medical facility and then up to $ 400.00 per day.
If treatment is under $ 1,000.00 in Cdn funds then detailed receipts are required.
If over $ 1,000.00 then detailed and translated receipts are required.
I followed this to the letter and was re-imbursed just under Cdn $ 900.00 for my total Mexican expenses of about 38,000.00 Mexican pesos. I paid 1,200.00 Mx for the translations in addition to the medical expenses.
My injury was/is a broken surgical neck on my left arm and treatment included an operation and overnight hospital stay.
Oct 22, 2012 7:57 PM
11The reason tourists probably need health insurance is because you have no contacts to guide you to reasonably priced competent health care in emergencies. So, you will be steered to the most expensive hospitals in the area and charged what only rich Mexicans can pay.
Those of us who live there have often developed contacts who help us. My best friends are a doctor and his wife. They assured me that $5000 US will fix any problem I have and if $5000 doesn't do it, I will need a funeral. This would be in decent hospitals in Puebla city, with good doctors known to them.
In 1995, I had encephalitis in Mexico City, and was in the ABC hospital, a top rated hospital used by the old rich. Six days in a coma in IC, and 5 more days on regular room, with all sorts of MRI's and treatment cost a total of $13,000, nearly all covered by my work provided insurance through reimursement. My sister-in-law, a nurse, almosts dropped dead when she saw the bill.
Mexicans simply seldom have that kind of money and their hospitals are much cheaper.
Later, in the US, a nurse told me the rule in their hospital was you did not get into IC with a bill less than $50,000, in 1995.
Actually, unlike many, I have much more confidence in Mexican doctors. My best friend tells me if a patient dies in the care of a doctor, he will probably lose his license and may go to jail. The "protocol" which is current law requires a doctor to FIRST assure he has equipment and knowledge to treat that patient. If not, that patient had better die during transport to a higher level entity. If the patient dies in his facility it will be assumed he took on a case that he was not qualified to handle, and this is considered negligent manslaughter.
A couple years ago, in my state, a dentist worked on a boy's teeth. The boy died, and it was found the doctor failed to test DNA type for the anesthetic used, which meant that boy had a DNA type which put him at risk with that chemical. Both doctor and anesthestist are still in prison and will never practice again.
Not long ago, my friend turned away two patients in less than an hour, because he knew they were beyond his capacity to treat. One had swallowed rat poison of unknown type, I assumed attempted suicide. I forget the other one, but he did not want that person on the premises, not worth the risk.
Oct 24, 2012 10:59 PM
12Week ago i was in hospital. Thanks health insurance which saved my life. I am a heart patient.
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