Covered (Kind of)

(Post 80 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I’m getting very close to the date when I’ll be able to become a permanent resident of Mexico. I’m also in serious saving-for-a-house mode and growing my business like mad… and over 40. Something that never used to bother me too much started to eat at me — lack of catastrophic healthcare coverage. It would be stupid to lose all that I’m working for for because of a medical problem.

I handle the little things just fine paying out of pocket. Because of how the healthcare system didn’t work in Quebec, I just never got in the habit of going to see a doctor for much. The thought of going for a sniffle is beyond me. Heck, I even learned how to do my own first aid care. I would have ideally needed more regular follow-up with my anemia problem, but the process for getting a simple blood test and then having those results followed up on was so onerous and flawed that I never even bothered with that.

So all that to say, I knew that getting myself a private healthcare policy in Mexico here for annual checkups and such would be a huge waste of money. I’m just fine paying the $200-ish pesos every six months to have my iron levels checked by popping out to the clinic right around the corner from me first thing on a Monday morning and then going back out around 4:00 P.M. to pick up the results. Ear wax build up? Most pharmacies have a medical clinic attached ,and it’s just about 50 pesos or so for the treatment. UTI? Message a doctor friend and he messages back a prescription. Easy peasy.

But what if my appendix goes rogue or I find out I have cancer or I trip on Bonita going down the stairs and break my femur? Big things that would affect not just my bank account at the moment but long-term. What if I found myself unable to work on top of accumulating hundreds of thousands of pesos’ worth of medical bills?

A friend of mine is an insurance broker, so I spoke to her about my concerns and the possibility of getting catastrophic healthcare coverage. The request, it turned out, was not unusual and such a product exists! She pointed out that the going cost for an appendectomy right now is around 150,000 pesos (7,500USD/10,000CAD). That would be devastating to my current savings plan.

The policy she recommended is from AXA, a company that has provided me vehicle insurance in Canada and decent service, so seeing a familiar name was helpful. I got the most basic policy for just under 13,000 pesos for a year, covering me, in theory, for up to 2 million pesos in bills. There are a ton of conditions that I’m not insured for for the first couple of years, so I’m glad I started young and can build up a history. The deductible is 40,000 pesos and I also have to pay 10% of the bill after the deductible, up to another 40,000 pesos. So I have to be prepared to shell out up to 80,000 pesos should anything really major happen. But the deductible is waived in the case of an accident.

On top of this policy, I am able to access the government healthcare here now, the new programme that replaced the former Seguro Popular. I just have to present my residente temporal card and a copy of my CURP (Mexican SIN/SSN). So if I find myself in a situation where my policy hasn’t kicked in yet or I’m not covered, I do have a safety net. I can’t imagine that the government healthcare here is any worse than what I experienced in Quebec, so my plan was to go through there if I had something catastrophic happen. But you know what? I’m not poor anymore, I’m constantly upgrading my standard of living, and so I’d much rather be in a lovely new hospital with a dedicated team of professionals than hanging out on a gurney in an overcrowded hallway…

The $13,000 for the policy was a huge chunk out of my savings account, but the peace of mind is priceless. I’m so grateful that I’m starting to have a network here. I think that if I had had to look for a broker first, I would have kept on procrastinating. But being able to go to a friend who knows me really helped cut down on the work I had to do!