Thursday, May 8, 2014
Chapter 14, They Say, There are No Social Services in Mexico
They Say, There are No Social Services in Mexico
To pass the time while trying to sell my house in San Miguel de Allende I treated each day as if I would be staying here. Since I was now a permanent resident of Mexico there were all sorts of discounts I could apply for to make living in Mexico cheaper as a retired person.
Once you become 60 and are a Permanent Resident you can apply for an INAPAM senior’s card. Once you get this card you can get a discount on your property taxes, water bill, movies, prescription drugs, bus and airline transportation and even some restaurants. The benefits are different from state to state and best in Mexico City.
The INAPAM rules change yearly with each new administration in city, state, and federal governments. Therefore it is best to hire a person who will take you through the process and who knows the present rules. You must, however, have permanent status in all states.
Also, anyone who has a Temporary Resident visa or a Permanent Resident card can obtain a Mexican driver’s license and Seguro Popular Healthcare. People who help you apply for temporary and permanent residence usually are the ones who will offer this service. They can also legalize your automobile so you can keep your Canadian or American registered vehicle permanently and legally in Mexico. The fee is not that much and their language translation skills alone are well worth the expense. They will also tell you what papers to bring and how many copies of each.
In San Miguel de Allende I hired Sonia Diaz who you can reach at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 044-415-106-1499. She will take you through the entire process including applying for your permanent resident status.
Even though I had applied for my permanent resident status in the Baja, by law I had to turn it in and make a change of address to Guanajuato before starting these processes. In fact you legally must do this even if you move to a new home within the same city.
She told me what to bring and where to meet her to get my INAPAM senior citizen card. We filled out the papers and returned a week later to pick up the card.
In addition, she took me to the office to apply for Seguro Popular Health Care next. Again she told me exactly what to bring in the form of documents. She translated for me and helped me fill out all the paperwork. While we sat there waiting they processed the form and I was immediately accepted. There is no premium, no deductible and no copay. There is no waiting time, no age limit nor exclusion for pre-existing conditions. Once you get accepted you may wish to go to your first History & Physical at your clinic with your accepted paperwork. You will then have started a relationship with your physician, staff and a record of your health established for future appointments. Sonia even gave me a translated brochure of the plan as part of her fee.
She then took me to the clinic and translated for me with the Physician and showed me where I would be able to get free medication if I did not mind generics. She said that each time I had to use the clinic I must bring my policy with me and then explained where I went in case of an emergency and told me that if I needed services not available in San Miguel de Allende they would send me in a free ambulance to where ever I could receive the service.
Sonia then took me to the property tax office and told me what to bring for my discount. You have to first pay your property tax that is due for the year and then apply for the discount after proving that you have done so. They then come to your house for an unscheduled visit to see if you really live there and to make sure the house is not a business venture. You then return and they tell you the extent of your discount. Mine was 50% per year, but I understand that changes as well each year but I am forever 50% since that was the rule the year I applied.
Sonia also took me to the water company and helped me get my discount there which was also 50% and immediate. It was the easiest office I went to and they even retroacted my present bill to reflect the discount.
You do not get a discount on your electric bill at age 60. But at age 65 you can go to the electric company with all your documents and apply.
I have used my INAPAM card for the ETN bus company to Guadalajara and received 50% off the fare, and I know Interjet and Aero Mexico give a discount with your INAPAM card. Normally Volaris offers no discount. However, I called Volaris and asked for it. They said they did not offer it, and I then asked to speak to a Supervisor and said to him, “Would you really prefer I fly Interjet?” He gave me the discount. I have also been told by those who do not have the INAPAM card that they went to the ETN ticket office for a bus ticket and said they left the card at home and the ticket agent said, “You look like a senior to me,” and gave the discount to them.
I have a friend in Ajijic who did not have an INAPAM card or a policy with Seguro Popular. She had an obstructed bowel and went to the Seguro Popular hospital and they gave her emergency care, admitted her and operated on her all at no cost. She said they told her that they cannot refuse a patient who cannot afford to pay.
Another great benefit is that in the month of September Notaries offer a discount for making a new will for you or changing your present one. The cost is $1,500 pesos which is a 50% discount for a simple will.
I would like to see you walk into a hospital, clinic or physician’s office and have that happen in the U.S., and they say there is no social service in Mexico. This entire process, with the help of Sonia Diaz, only took me 6 months.