A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


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March 1, 2008 – We’ve had several conversations lately with other foreigners here in Mexico about health insurance and health care, both here and in the US. Some aspects are not pretty, wherever you are.

Nobody wants to end up suffering.

So a couple of questions come up: what preparations to make and how to cope with the fear of what might happen?

Preparations that Kelly and I have made include getting lots of exercise in his case and a moderate amount in mine… I do wear a pedometer every day and make sure I get in a certain amount of walking. We eat very healthfully, mostly at home, and our large organic garden helps out here. Kelly is pretty much an ideal weight and well, I’m working on it. We don’t smoke and we don’t drink a lot. We stay off the highways at times they are more dangerous. I do various stress management things, like deep breathing and EFT. We both come from long-lived ancestors but that is now considered less important than lifestyle. (I’ve even thought of doing a website on food, exercise, and health, to learn more and increase my motivation.)

Another aspect of preparation is of course the financial. Expats around the Lake Chapala area range in income levels from miniscule to wealthy. So various options exist. IMSS, the national Mexican health care system, is something that foreigners can join for a few hundred dollars a year; there is a three-year wait for some things, and I am not sure what — maybe pre-existing conditions. I have not looked into IMSS, because the level of care is so uneven that I would be reluctant to use it. Private insurance exists and US health insurance may work here… unlike car insurance! There are also health insurance companies that insure you worldwide, and I may look into those for us.

Cash is the option we have used thus far. Health care costs are so reasonable that even when Kelly broke his rib and had an ambulance ride, x-rays, and various doctor, medicine, and physical therapy bills, the total was under $600 US and the care was fine.

Other people we know have used IMSS (some with very good results), private insurance, and cash. Some people use Medicare, returning to the US to do so as it does not cover Americans outside the US. Once in a while, we hear of people who returned to the US after living here, because that was the best solution medically for them.

I think that a lot of the practical preparations grow out of each person’s way of dealing with any fear they feel about what might happen. In my case, the fear is one part of what motivates my dietary and exercise choices, and I’ll admit to taking better care of myself now than I did when younger! Someone else may choose to carry better insurance.

I do think that we Americans can get so focused on the risks of the future that we don’t quite remember to live fully in the present. I really feel for people in the US who stay on at jobs they don’t like because of their health coverage, to take one example. I’m glad I’ve never been in that position.

None of us will get out of here alive, as the saying goes. May each of us actively work at staying healthy and at enjoying our time here on this earth. We can learn a lot from Mexicans about the second one.

1 Comment from the old blog:

*At March 13, 2008 6:34 PM, Wayne W said…

Even in the border towns where the seniors go across the border for medical, dental and drugs you can hear both horror and fantastic stories of care.

I guess you can hear just as many horror stories with the US medical system between medical mistakes and dealing with the insurance companies an experience can go either way.

I’ve almost gone to a border town dentist, but I’d have to get a recommendation from someone I knew actually went there, not only a friend of theirs heard something.


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