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Do You Need Travel Insurance For A Cancun Vacation?

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Each year thousands of travelers end up requiring hospital visits while on vacation in Cancun.

Although they are mostly small injuries or easily treated health concerns, that doesn’t mean the bill is likewise as small.

woman on beach in cancun

Additionally, while most reputable resorts have on-site 24/7 medical care in the form of doctors provided by 3rd parties, this service is far from cheap and cheerful.

The Cost Of Resort Doctors

The on-site doctors in Cancun are lifesavers in an emergency, especially in cases such as cardiac arrest. But for minor ailments and injuries, the cost can be a shock to travelers who have already paid a large sum for their vacation.

To be seen in the resort clinic room, which guests need to make their own way to during working hours (normally 8 am – 8 pm), this basic consultation will cost travelers around $180.

But if medical care is needed outside of these hours, or injury prevents a person from making it to the clinic, then the cost for a basic consultation rises up to around $200.

And that’s only taking into account the consultation fee if the doctor needs to administer any pharmaceuticals or use any medical materials.

A doctor shaking a patients hand

A Cancun Doctors View

We spoke with a doctor who formerly worked for one of these 3rd parties in Cancun, who wishes to remain anonymous, and they had this to say:

“I’ve had to charge people quite highly during my time as a doctor in Cancun, we have no control over this as our company sets the prices, and if we don’t charge tourists, it is taken from our paychecks.
In one non-emergency case, a patient came to me with a simple UTI, and while they left with treatment it cost them over $400 because they traveled without insurance.”

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Ambulance and Balcony

The Costs Add Up

If a traveler requires an ambulance ride to a local hospital, the resort doctor consultation fee becomes the least of their worries.

Depending on the distance from the hospital, as well as the paramedic company that is sent, a traveler in Cancun can expect to pay an average of $800, although this can skyrocket depending on how busy the ambulances are, and in some cases, how un-charitable they are feeling.

Private Hospital Building

In other words, by the time a traveler reaches the hospital, no matter how minor the injury, they are already looking at $1000 in medical bills.

The costs after being admitted to the hospital naturally vary dramatically. In fact, the doctor we spoke to has seen a tourist’s final bill all come to a shattering $35,000 for one traveler who needed surgery for a burst appendix.

And while that case was extreme, the doctor also told The Cancun Sun that they’ve had irritated patients return to their resort with a bill of $1000 for just 3 stitches.

A man opens an empty wallet

Don’t Tempt Fate

With many reputable and superbly comprehensive travel insurance deals for as little as $10, it is a no-brainer to purchase coverage.

No one can predict what’s in store on vacation, and while most travelers to Cancun never need the services of a doctor or, touch wood, a trip to the hospital, the number who do is high enough not to take the risk.

cancun hospital sign

Tips From A Cancun Doctor

The following are some fantastic insider tips from the Cancun doctor we recently spoke with:

  • Pharmacy doctors are much cheaper and sometimes even free for consultations. If you can, use these doctors for minor ailments, especially if it’s a simple prescription request, that’ll save travelers hundreds of dollars!
  • If medical care is needed and travelers have insurance, make sure to ask for a factura after payment, this is the proof needed to receive financial reimbursement from their insurers.
  • Be aware, travelers have a right to request services from outside the hotel if it is too expensive. Less costly services such as the Mexican Red Cross will pick travelers up in their ambulances and take them to the Red Cross hospital.
  • Foreigners have the right to be treated in public hospitals in Mexico, while they aren’t free, they are much cheaper than private care providers and contrary to what some people believe are usually very clean and well-run.
Mexican red cross ambulances parked

Unlike other nations, public hospitals are known to pay doctors much better than private hospitals in Mexico. This is due to government grants which means many of the best doctors in the country choose to work in public hospitals where they receive better pay.

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