Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Seguro Popular vs IMSS
I don't usually write about subjects like this because I don't like controversy but it is time for me to renew my IMSS. I am trying to decide if I should go ahead and pay the money or else let it drop and try to get on Seguro Popular instead. I think that most of my readers are living in the United States or Canada and they will not know what I am writing about. It is the two health care systems here in Mexico. IMSS costs around three hundred dollars a year, a little more to get someone to help you sign up. Seguro Popular is free. But you cannot have both. If you sign up for IMSS, you can't get Seguro Popular.
I was just reading some web boards about these two systems and there are conflicting opinions. Some people love the Seguro Popular system and others think that IMSS is the way to go. I have had NO experience with the Seguro Popular system. I do know that many of my expat friends, even the wealthy ones, are signing up for it and ignoring IMSS because of the strict rules for IMSS. You can't even use IMSS for several years and then after paying for it for a long time, they are likely to kick you off when you can use it. I have paid for it for maybe five years now.
I have had three operations since I came here. I paid for all of them out of pocket and went to private hospitals. I was pleased with all of them. The private hospitals here are wonderful and inexpensive. But if I had a major problem, I wouldn't be able to pay for it. Thus, my concern. Do I continue with IMSS or switch to Seguro Popular?
When I broke my ankle I went to the IMSS hospital in Guadalajara. I sat there for five hours and didn't see the doctor. I was sitting in a straight back chair with my ankle dangling on the floor, growing larger and more painful every minute. Doctors rushed past me. People were on gurneys all around me, in far worse condition than I was so I felt badly about complaining. But how about no toilet paper in the bathroom? And they didn't even have a wheel chair to take me from the car to the hospital. The man who drove me there had to borrow one from another patient. It was a nightmare.
They finally said, yes I could have the surgery but in a week. I would be in a room with several other sick people, catherized and heavily drugged for that week. I got out of there and went to the private hospital in Ajijic. I had to be on a morphine drip for several days because of the trauma of the other hospital and my blood pressure being so high. That is my only IMSS experience. Needless to say, it was not a good one. By the way, the entire cost of my several days in the Hospital Ajijic and the operation was a little over two thousand dollars. Best spent two thousand dollars in my life!
So, if anyone out there has had experiences (good or bad) with IMSS or Seguro Popular or any advice, I would really appreciate it. I need to make this decision within the next few days.