By Akaisha Kaderli, RetireEarlyLifestyle.com
Special to Financial Independence Hub
Billy and I are Americans. For most of our adult lives we have been self-employed, paying for our own health insurance out-of-pocket.
We retired at age 38, and while initially we paid for a US-based Health Insurance policy, we eventually “went naked” of any health insurance coverage. Wandering the globe, we took advantage of Medical Tourism in foreign countries and again, paid out-of-pocket for services.
This approach served us very well.
However, we understand that choosing the manner in which one wants to pay-for-and-receive-health-services is a personal matter.
In our experience, it seemed that Canadians generally were reticent to stay away from Canada longer than 6 months because they would lose their access to their home country’s health care system.
We did not know the full story of why many Canadians preferred not to become permanent residents of another country due to this healthcare issue. So, we asked Canadian Jim McLeod if he would answer a few questions for us to clarify! And then, to give that information to you.
Below is our interview with Jim McLeod. He and his wife are permanent residents of Mexico, and now receive all their healthcare from this country.
It is our hope with this interview, that there would be options explained to other Canadians who might not want to maintain 2 homes, be snowbirds in Mexico, or could vision living in Mexico with its better weather and pricing.
Take a look!
Jim and Kathy in Mexico
Retire Early Lifestyle: In the beginning, did you choose to do a part-time stint in Mexico before fully jumping in? You know, like to test the waters?
Jim McLeod: Yes. Because of the following stipulations for our Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) and the possibility of getting a maximum of 180 days on a Mexican Tourist Card, we decided to do the “snowbird” thing initially: 6 months in Ontario during the warmer months, and 6 months in Mexico during the colder months.
“You cannot be out of Ontario for more than 212 days (a little over 6 months) in *any* 12 month period (ex. Jan – Dec, Feb – Jan, Mar – Feb, etc.)”
During this time, we used World Nomads for trip insurance to cover us while in Mexico. For us, this wasn’t too bad. However, according to other couples we’ve spoken with, after a certain age, depending on your health, this can become quite expensive.
Retire Early Lifestyle: When you retired early and left your home country of Canada, was leaving the guaranteed health care system that your country provides a large hurdle to your plans? How did you factor that cost in?
Jim McLeod: After doing the “snowbird” thing twice, we had enough data from tracking all our spending, as per Billy and Akaisha’s The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement, that we knew we would save approximately $10,000cdn a year by moving full time to Mexico. And we knew we would lose our OHIP coverage. As such, we budget $2000cdn a year for out-of-pocket medical expenses. But we also knew that, at that time, we qualified for the Mexican Seguro Popular insurance coverage. Note: Seguro Popular has since been replaced with a new health Care system, el Instituto Nacional de Salud para el Bienestar (INSABI), which has the following requirements:
• Be a person located inside Mexico
• Not be part of the social security system (IMSS or ISSSTE)
• Present one of the following: Mexican Voter ID card, CURP or birth certificate
As an expat, in order to obtain a CURP, you must be a Temporal or Permanente resident of Mexico.
Retire Early Lifestyle: Initially, did you go home to Canada to get certain health care items taken care of and then go back to Mexico to live?
Jim McLeod: No, we have not gone back to Ontario for any health care. Having said that, there is one medication that Kathy needs, that she is allergic to here in Mexico, so she gets a prescription filled in Ontario whenever we return and we pay for it out-of-pocket. Continue Reading…