Medical Care for Retirees in Cancun

Discussion in 'Living in Cancun' started by V, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    We've been living and working abroad for many years. Whenever we've thought of returning to the U.S., one of the things that has stopped us is a reluctance to return to the system of health care delivery that exists there- overpriced, overcomplex, and sometimes disappointing.

    It's unfortunate when your most important life decisions must be dictated, to some degree, by concerns about where/how you're going to get coverage for health care. But, that's how it often is, for Americans.

    Medicare has no extraterritorial benefits, not even for emergency services. The U.S. government could perhaps save considerable money if their retirees, living abroad, could access health services where they live, and receive coverage. But, you've got to return to the U.S., if you want any benefits. Private health insurance for older people can prove expensive; thus, a search for alternatives seems in order.
     
  2. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Medical care, Cancun

    Have any of you qualified for coverage from IMSS, while in a FM3 Visitante Rentista status in Mexico; and, if so, could you describe how that's done? The U.S. Consular Agent in Playa del Carmen, Samantha Mason, said she knew of one retiree who had. I got the impression from her that both he, and she, had favorable impressions of the services, there, through IMSS in Playa.

    If possible, I'd also like to hear from anyone on this forum who's had a significant amount of medical services from IMSS, to let us know their impressions. (I said, "significant amount" only because learning to efficiently access any medical system usually requires repeated contact to learn how it works.)

    I've been in four of the IMSS hospitals, here. Did you know there are ten in all, in Cancun? IMSS, a government institution, is the largest medical provider in Mexico.

    Coverage, normally extended to employees of nongovernmental companies in Mexico is, as I presently understand it, phased in over the first two years and has limitations of coverage for some pre-exisiting conditions when an expat, residing in Mexico, enrolls in the system. The annual assessment is approximately $3,000 pesos for a 60 year old person who is not employed here, yet holds an FM2, or FM3, and wishes to be covered. If you're younger, it costs less than that.

    Regional General Hospital, Region 17 of the IMSS system is the most impressive to see. It's absolutely modern, and enormous. Four stories high, and covering an entire, large city block in one monolithic structure, it is the local pride. It has been operational for two years, but is still being developed towards its full, designed operational capacity. I was told by one doctor that they perform approximately 300 surgeries a month at that facility: 175 medical residents study there, making it a large teaching hospital, as well. It is locally know as the "District 510 Hospital"; and, as the, "Hospital of Specialities." It is located just behind the "Gran Plaza".

    General Hospital, Zone 3, is probably the one most of you have seen, and noticed. It lies between Ixcaret and Coba. Perhaps you weren't even aware that it was a hospital, because it also contains a large polyclinic. But, it is an important trauma center. The ICU there has with four, fully equipped, ICU beds. The chief of the ICU is an extremely pleasant, English speaking doctor.

    Now, I've also been in Galenia Hospital, and Hospital Hospiten, one of a chain of international hospitals that started, originally, in the Canary Islands. The later is the only hospital in Cancun (according to the medical director) in which an invasive intervention (cardiac catheterization) can be performed in the event of a heart attack; where a stent is needed; or, as the best possible diagnostic tool for coronary artery disease, all using the same technology. They are justifiably proud of this capacity as it requires expensive and highly specialized imaging equipment, and specialists skilled at doing it. Patients needing any of these procedures are often referred to Hospital Hospiten from other hospitals in Cancun.

    The local private hospitals all look nice, and people have used them, and reported on some of them favorably, on this forum. But, I'm concerned about how small they are: in an emergency, you generally have a better chance in bigger facilities, with more staff on hand. Hospital Hospiten is the biggest of the private hospitals, with 59 beds. The others are really tiny, relatively speaking. If I recall correctly, Galenia Hospital has nineteen beds, and Amerimed Hospital, another popular choice among expats, just seven. The actual, effective size of the private hospitals may be even less than they appear if, for example, they typically run low patient counts, as I understand they do. On the other hand, the private hospitals seem to be more heavily staffed with nurses, with as many as one to a patient, and offer "boutique" services, like meals cooked to order.

    The private hospitals are not inexpensive. My neighbor, who has an FM3 with permission to work, here, broke her collar bone, and went to the emergency room at Galenia Hospital. An xray, cloth sling for her arm, and a physician's assessment of her condition cost a total of 6,000 pesos, I was told. By contrast, when my five year old nephew from Connecticut, fell out of a hammock, landing on his head, at Isla Mujeres, he was seen at the emergency dept of the Isla Mujeres General Hospital. An xray; attendance by several physicians (all of whom spoke English and acted appropriately), with suturing of his wound, cost just $18 USD, at that State of Quintana Roo sponsored hospital.

    Doctors whom I've interviewed, locally, have, without exception, said the best doctors, locally, are those who work full time in the government institutions where they see lots of patients and perform lots of procedures- keeping their skills up; then, operate small, private clinics, where you can conveniently see them, during their off duty hours. There is an appealing logic to the suggestion.
    ___________________

    No matter where you receive medical care, the provision of medical care is- very uncomfortably- not always even, with one person reporting a sterling experience, and another a "nightmare". My last contact with the U.S. in this area was at George Washington Hospital, Washington D.C., the home of the George Washington Medical School. I had one of the medical professors for my doctor. He was very skillful and knowlegeable, but the system broke down in every other way possible, and I came out of it feeling lucky not to have suffered any lasting harm. It was also very expensive, with a single night in the hospital, with treatment, costing $30,000 USD. So, we have to accept that, if some share their experiences with the medical services here, in Cancun, we can also expect to hear some good, some bad.... That's life, isn't it.
     
  3. mixz1

    mixz1 Guest

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    As a point of information, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of California (my medical plan carrier) lists these hospitals and physicians as part of their "Coverage Outside the USA".

    HOSPITALS

    Hospital Americano
    General Hospital Retorno Viento #15, Super Manzana 4
    Cancun, Mexico

    Hospital Total Assist
    General Hospital Claveles No. 5
    Cancun, Mexico

    Hospital Quirurgica Del Sur
    General Hospital Av. Lopez Portillo 872
    Cancun, Mexico

    Hospiten International S.L.
    General Hospital Av. Bonampak Lote 7
    Cancun, Mexico

    Operadora De Hospitales Cancun
    General Hospital Av. Tulum Sur 260, Manzana 4,5 Y 9, Sm7
    Cancun, Mexico

    PRACTITIONERS

    Albarran, Miguel
    General Practice Claveles #5 2nd Floor
    Cancun, Mexico

    Alvarez, Victor
    General Practice Amerimed Hospital
    Cancun, Mexico

    Hidalgo, Daniel
    General Practice Amerimed Hospital
    Cancun, Mexico

    Paz, Raul
    General Practice Amerimed Hospital
    Cancun, Mexico

    Bravo, Fermin
    Respiratory Therapy Av. Tulum Esquina Nizuc Mz. 1
    Cancun, Mexico

    Solis, Gabriela
    Dermatology Ave Lopez Portillo
    Cancun, Mexico

    Rosine, Alain
    Internal Medicine Calle Nachi Cocom
    Cancun, Mexico


    Curiously, they only list one hospital and one practitioner in Merida:
    Clinica De Merida
    General Hospital Av. Itzaes 242
    Merida, Mexico

    Morales, Salvador
    General Practice Centro Medico Las Americas
    Merida, Mexico
     
  4. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    I'm covered by ISSSTE here.

    I was refused treatment by them when I had pneumonia. It was a paperwork issue, as in, the patient files were in a truck and not in the hospital building at the time I was seeking treatment. The doc refused to look at me without my paperwork in her possession, because that would be illegal. I was welcome to wait until the truck arrived and was unpacked and they found my file...after that they would treat me. But they figured it would take a couple of hours before the truck even arrived. So I left and went to see a private doc the next day.

    It was the biggest crock of bureaucratic bullsh*t I've ever encountered anywhere, ever. It was also a one-time thing I suppose (they were remodeling the clinic and had moved the files temporarily off-site for that process).

    I think the IMSS here in QRoo is supposed to be a bit better than ISSSTE, here, though I understand that in other parts of Mexico ISSSTE is supposed to be much better than IMSS.

    I have heard terrible stories here of people needing to be in line at IMSS at 6 am in order to make appointments, not cool at all.
     
  5. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Hi, Rivergirl. As always, I appreciate your contribution (and, of course, this is an open forum which allows people to post, freely, pretty much anything they like, so long as it complies with Steve's rules for the forum); but, I was hoping people would contribute mainly first hand information, from actual and significant contact with IMSS, and other medical providers, and avoid, where possible, filling the thread with too many "terrible things I've heard" comments. Please forgive me, but I'm hoping the contributors will help put together a useful body of info on this thread, as a result. Without a doubt, you have had many first hand experiences with medical care in Cancun, having lived here for six years, as you have, and will have some significant information and impressions, of your own.

    Finally, I'd like to say I do not wish to limit anything anyone wants to post and, in general, I'm grateful for that freedom; but, I did have a rather serious object in mind with this thread.

    Thanks, Rivergirl, and thank you Mixz1, for your contributions, thus far. The list of hospitals approved by your insurance company includes two or three that I may not be aware of, at this point. Perhaps we'll learn more about them from other posters.
     
  6. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    That was a graceful slam, thanks.
     
  7. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    I hope you understood it in the very gentle, and respectful manner that it intended, with appreciation for your many contributions to this forum.
     
  8. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    I know you didn't mean to offend me.
     
  9. Life_N_Cancun

    Life_N_Cancun Guest

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    A big shocker to most Americans here is that many of the private hospitals will LET YOU DIE in the waiting room if you dont have cash.....

    About 6 months ago a friends wife was going into premature labor and the assholes at Galenia wouldn't even let them see a doctor until he came up with $30,000 pesos CASH!! and this was at midnight on a weekend... so he had to run all over town while his wife was bleeding in the waiting area at Galenia. Upon his return with the money, they treated her and delivered her VERY premature baby who proceeded to spend the next month in their version of a NICU. All told the bill was in the $50,000 DOLLAR range. Had they seen her when she walked in, they very well might have delayed her giving birth....

    The baby boy is home now and doing ok, but there are concerns about possible heart issues, thanks in no small part to the outrageous behavior by the Galenia staff.

    My point is AVOID THAT SORRY EXCUSE FOR A HOSPITAL AT ALL COSTS!!!!

    PS: I know that some of you had have good experiences with the doctors at that place, but in an emergency situation they don't give a $hit about you unless you have cash in your hand! :evil: :evil: :evil: :mad:
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    I was admitted to Galenia as an emergency case with a Deep Vein Thrombosis. I wasnt once asked for any money until I was discharged 4 days later, although If I recall correctly they did ask for proof I had a valid credit card on admission.

    As for public hospitals I have heard enough horror stories that I would avoid at all costs.
     
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