Healthcare in Mexico is delivered via public sector institutions as well as private sector institutions. There are two main Social Security institutions that provide care for approximately 50 million of Mexico’s officially employed. Additionally, healthcare is also provided by private institutions (privately-run hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies). Healthcare expenses at private institutions are paid for through private insurance carriers or out-of-pocket payments. It is estimated that only 3 million Mexicans have private health insurance, but this number is steadily growing.
There are two Social Security systems that cover healthcare costs for private (IMSS) and public (ISSSTE) sector employees in Mexico. Patients receive free medical care and medicines as long as they attend a public health care institution. Hospitals and clinics that provide medical care for Social Security recipients vary in quality. Within the IMSS or ISSSTE, patients cannot choose their primary care providers and the access to care (and hospitals) is regulated by an assigned physician.
In general, private medical care in Mexico is preferred; up to 25% of patients with Social Security benefits or no coverage at all prefer to pay out of pocket for private care. Since health care in Mexico is generally less expensive, cash payment is still an affordable option for many Mexicans. The cost for a general medical consultation may be as low as $20 USD.
Private hospitals in urban centers offer advanced specialized care centers and most doctors in these institutions have excellent credentials. Most private hospitals require private insurance or payment prior to treatment.
Mexico is the world’s eleventh largest pharmaceutical market by value and the second largest pharmaceutical market in Latin America, after Brazil. Business Monitor International (BMI) expects the market to grow in value from $9.8bn USD in 2008 to $16.9bn USD by 2013, representing a compound annual growth rate of 11.4%. The market for prescription products is estimated to be close to $8.5bn USD and the market for over-the-counter drugs is estimated to be $1.3bn USD. However, the distinction between prescription and true OTC drugs is blurred in practice, as prescription products are readily available without prescriptions at pharmacies. BMI reports that 40% of all retail sales take place without prescriptions.
122.3 million(2013, World Bank)
$1,261 billion(2013, World Bank, USD)
- Healthcare Spending:
$77 billion(2013, Brocair estimate, USD)
- Healthcare Spending as % of GDP:
6.1%(2012, World Bank)
- Annual Healthcare Spending Per Capita:
$629(2013, Brocair estimate, USD)