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Updated: Mar 8, 2022

I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we don't go on vacation to another country expecting to be hospitalized, right?

If you have medical insurance with international coverage and plan to travel to or live in Mexico temporarily or permanently, it’s important to investigate beforehand what sort of medical care is available.

In Mexico there are several private hospitals that accept hospitalization insurance but, as with everything, there are guidelines and not knowing them can lead to many complications.


Keep reading to learn about your rights and obligations in Mexico as a patient, as well as other tips to avoid distress during a hospital stay.

A visit to the hospital can come up for various reasons, such as receiving a new family member, attending a medical consultation, getting lab work, visiting a relative, being hospitalized or any other circumstance. This is why it’s essential to know your rights and obligations as a patient in accordance with Article 77 BIS of the General Health Law of México. This law exists to guarantee that patients stays are pleasant, safe and as calm as possible.


  • Receive proper medical care.

  • Receive dignified and respectful treatment.

  • Receive clear, timely and truthful information

  • Decide freely about your care.

  • Grant or not your validly informed consent.

  • Be treated with confidentiality.

  • Be easily able to get a second opinion.

  • Be heard when you are dissatisfied with the medical care received.

  • Receive medical care in case of an emergency.

  • Have a clinical file.


  • Carry the document that identifies you as a patient, which is personal and non-transferable, and must be presented whenever medical attention is required.

  • Find out the process to receive care in the medical establishment of your choice.

  • Collaborate with the medical team, truthfully and accurately reporting your medical history, needs and health problems.

  • Comply with the recommendations, prescriptions, treatment or general procedure to which you have agreed to undergo.

  • Cover any fees in a timely manner, when applicable.

  • Treat medical, technical and administrative staff respectfully, as well as other patients and their companions.

  • Take care of the healthcare facilities and collaborate in their maintenance.

  • Use healthcare services responsibly.

  • Provide whatever information is necessary to define the amount to be paid for medical services.

Now that you know your rights and obligations as a patient, here are some additional tips:

  1. Find out what hospitals exist in the area; names, phone numbers, and what services are offered.

  2. Ask if they work with the insurance you have (Humana, BlueShield BlueCross, Aetna, etc.). If so, do they work directly or through an intermediary? If the relationship between the hospital and your insurer is direct and without intermediates, the coverage process will be easier.

  3. On some occasions, hospitals can accept your international insurance through an intermediary, which is usually a collection office located in the United States. This can be convenient on some occasions, but a headache in others. Since the medical collection office will take the bill from the Mexican hospitals, adjust the price to international costs (US prices) and charge it to your insurance. Sometimes this won't be a problem, but other times it will mean you end up paying more out of pocket or even exhaust your insurance coverage if you have a limit.

  4. By law, it’s necessary to provide the hospital with a current official identification because the insurance will request a copy of your ID and the hospital will need a copy for its file. Always carry a copy of your Passport or a high resolution photo, some hospitals have a bad habit of withholding official documents (such as a passport) to guarantee payment, this is illegal.

  5. Even if the hospital works with your health insurance, the hospital staff may require a security deposit, this can be a hold on your credit card or in cash.

  6. Read your insurance policy! If it’s within your means, it’ll most likely be more convenient to pay your bill directly to the hospital and request an itemized statement to reimburse your insurance carrier.

  7. We understand that going to the hospital for an emergency is not fun or pleasant, it is stressful, and many things go through our heads, please cooperate with the hospital staff so that medical care is as pleasant as possible.

  8. Hospitals have established rules and regulations to maintain order, please follow them.

  9. In case you decide to use your international medical expenses insurance in a Mexican hospital, there will be paperwork to do, it may seem like a lot, but it is important for your medical coverage.

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