North America

Health Insurance in Mexico:
Looking After Employees Working Abroad

By March 5, 2019 No Comments
Health Insurance in Mexico: Looking After Employees Working Abroad

Exploring business opportunities around the world has become the norm in the 21st century economy. And with it, an ever-increasing need for companies to access international employment, or have their staff traveling abroad on short- or long-term assignments. According to the Mexican Migration Policy Unit, Mexico received 39,836,817 visitors in 2018, of which 1,043,646 arrived in the country for business purposes. In this context, thinking of staff safety and health insurance coverage should be a priority for all employers planning to expand their business into the country.

Mexican healthcare became universal 10 years ago, but there are still many challenges to making the system truly equal and accessible to all. Whereas there are plenty of high quality facilities comparable to those of Europe and U.S., most are located in main urban centers and many are not part of the public system. Rural and isolated areas may not have appropriate medical capabilities, and evacuations may be required in the event of an emergency. Mexico also has the second-highest rate of adult obesity, estimated to be 32% for adults, and almost 16% of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes.

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Ensuring Proper Healthcare in Mexico for Global Employees

To ensure employees are appropriately covered for medical emergencies and healthcare, the first step is understanding the length of time that the person will be working in the country.

  • For short-term visits (usually not exceeding 60 days of travel), the market offers a range of Corporate Travel Insurance options. However, the employer must be careful when reviewing the terms and conditions of the policy issued to ensure it provides comprehensive coverage for its employees, including: pre-existing medical conditions, any high-risk activities required to perform the job, the duration of the trip and destination, medical evacuation to the nearest medical facility of excellence, and appropriate transportation to the country of residence.

This type of policy will only cover emergency treatment, whereas any elective or regular check-ups are excluded. Additionally, Leisure Travel Policies will not usually cover employees traveling for business purposes, so disclosing the purpose of the trip at the time of purchase is mandatory.

  • For long-term assignments, the market provides international Corporate Travel Insurance policies that provide health assistance with broader benefit options, so employees are able to access medical centers and get regular treatment for chronic or long-term illness during the time of their assignment. Understandably, these types of policies have considerably higher premium fees than those for short-term periods.
  • For permanent employees in Mexico, both work contract parties must make contributions towards the IMSS (Instituto Mexicano de Seguridad Social). The employer pays between 20-30% of the base salary, depending on the type of job and risk involved, whereas the employee will pay 2.375%, plus 0.4%, if the salary is above three minimum wages.
  • The IMSS will provide coverage for employees’ healthcare in Mexico, maternity leave, work-related accidents, social daycare facilities, and make contributions towards retirement and unemployment funds. However, the quality of the public health facilities does vary widely, and not all are adequately equipped. In fact, the OECD estimates that 50% of the public healthcare spending is made on a pay-and-claim basis. In this context, it is customary for top employers to provide additional private health care to their staff, so they are able to secure employees’ best care in the case of illness, speed up treatment waiting lists, and have access to English-speaking health professionals.

Expand into Mexico with an Experienced Expansion Partner

Health insurance in Mexico should be a priority for any employer looking to expand its business into the country and looking after its employees’ welfare. Velocity Global can help with every step of your expansion strategy into Mexico—or one of the 185+ other countries in which we operate. From Global Immigration to International PEO (Professional Employer Organization) we can help your organization break into new international markets in as few as 48 hours.

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