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kimanjome

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  1. Hopefully all are well. Don't know how true this is but my MXN insurance agent told me that a lot of retiree expats drive here on suspended licenses--meaning, they were suspended in the US/Canada and those dang folks can't get around "up north" so they decide to move here and drive, regardless, figuring what the heck, the MXN government can't touch my assets here, as I have none. Really selfish thinking, IMHO.
  2. Happy, when you start adding the $5300 and $6800 together, that is more than the annual cost of an insurance premium with decent coverage. Granted, you may not have costs in excess of $11,000 USD every year, but one year you might have $20K, the next year, $3K and then an insurance premium starts to make sense. I'm all set now because I am still relatively young, but over 70+ then you start gambling with this kind of thing. You don't know when a stroke or heart attack is going to happen, and even with evac insurance you can't be flown until you are stabilized, which could take a few days. I guess one can rely on SP to stabilize, but you would still need to evac insurance to get you back to where you have Medicare coverage or whatever. With my partner (72) I figured if something big and bad happened I would hire a driver to take him to the border, then we would head into Texas. But that is assuming he would be well enough to be driven. I don't know how those of you over 70 are doing it. If prices continue to increase so rapidly here, how can it be managed?
  3. I am in lower SAT on La Paz corner Jesus Garcia, and I posted about 10 days ago that our speeds have increased substantially. Most of the time I am getting 10 down, and 3 or 4 up. Sometimes I will get 20ish down and 8 or 9 up. I have the same old modem, no change. It is more than sufficient for me and I have only noticed stuttering and buffering when I am using a VPN and a few live news broadcasts here and there. Small miracles for which I am grateful.
  4. OP here with update: more info to help you all, so you don't end up in the same situation. 1. I have since learned that several hospitals are now charging US prices and insurance companies either won't cover at all, or only a percentage. No discount for cash. Unless your policy allows you to utilize them and you have it in writing, avoid Country2000, Puerto de Hierro, and Galeana. I glanced over my hospital bill and saw that I had been charged US $22- for a bottle of Microdycin antiseptic spray (saline water) that I bought for myself at the farmacia for $3-. That upcharge/gouging is a US trick. 2. If you have the time, find someone--hopefully your doctor, if you don't have insurance--who can act as a health care advocate to negotiate on your behalf in advance. Not having insurance, I blindly followed my doctor's guidance, assuming he/she would know a rough estimate of what this procedure should and would cost and would act in my best interests (and I still don't know if the doctor was aware it would cost so darn much). Unfortunately, I was in a lot of pain, and I wasn't confident I would be able to fly back to the US and have the surgery right away, so I took the local route, thinking there was no possible way this surgery would cost more here in Mexico than in the US, paying cash! 3. Believe it or not, had I gone to the US I discovered that as a self-pay, cash, this particular surgery would have cost me appx $6,600 in Tulsa, $8500 in Dallas, Houston, and Chicago, and $11,500 in NYC. You are reading this correctly. Of course had I used my BC/BS in Florida, I would have had to pay a deductible of $2500, then the next 20% of all costs up to $5000---and this is decent insurance coverage. Doctors and hospitals will gouge an insurance payor, so I'm certain that had I used my US insurance my bill would have easily been $40 or $50k, and I would have ended up paying a minimum of $7,500 out of pocket, plus all the other little "gotchas". 4. Do your research. Although I am not gullible, and I did have previous surgery here at a moderate price, this second (unrelated) incident was a different situation inasmuch as that I assumed this particular surgery would also be priced fairly. After all, I knew the US prices, right? I did the best I could with the information I had, but you win some, you lose some, and in this case, I lost. 5. Be prepared for an emergency. Know the names of the hospitals that have the equipment and services you might need at reasonable prices. I've already heard from friends that Hospital San Francisco is reasonable and has a CAT scan machine and can handle strokes (although the new hospital in San Antonio may be able to do so, also--or at least be able to stabilize). San Javier is also full-service and reasonably priced. Plan ahead! About expat insurance: I'm only 58, and I can afford a decent expat policy at a kind-of affordable price. But when I turn 60, my policy will automatically increase by 25%, not including the annual rate hikes. Then there will be annual rate hikes after that, of course, and another 25% increase at age 65. By the time I am 72, an expat policy with a $5,000 deductible will cost me about $5,000 a year. That is far too rich for my blood. I would be better off living in the USA with a MediGAP plan (additional $250 a month) that covers almost everything, A to Z. I'm starting to think that PappysMarket has the right idea, moving to a border town. Or, if you can get an EU passport (much easier than you would think, if you have a mother, father, or grandparent from the EU) to relocate abroad, your partner can automatically go with you. The bottom line is, plan, plan, plan. Be up-to-date with what is happening in Mexican health care. The recessional economy and the shortage of public healthcare is creating a demand which will only drive up prices further. Of course the prices can go only so high before they implode, but in the meantime, be alert. Due to the shifting economy, some procedures which are being done in Mexico are being done in Costa Rica's best hospitals for considerably less cost. Call me, Poorer But Wiser (and healthier, too).
  5. I paid CASH. That is why I am so incredulous. And the overflowing hospitals: Country2000, San Javier, Puerto Hierro Sud---a totally new experience. These increases are going to be reflected in health insurance hikes, that's for sure. And now the news on Bloomberg and Moody's that Mexico is headed for, if not already in, a recession, will add to the further decline of SP and IMSS.
  6. No, US insurance won't cover outside of US (unless within the 25 mile border zone, and you have to just be passing through, not living there), period. Nor will Medicare. So, be prepared, as the saying goes.
  7. Yes, Yes, Chillin, but the recent news is that the Joco hospital isn't functioning/open at all times or some of the new equipment is no longer available. And I have been reading of patients being turned away from Joco and sent to Guad. I think these are new developments and that the health care crunch is just hitting this area now. I remember when I moved here just under 3 years ago, the SAT clinic was open on scheduled days for services. Then it was only open sporadically, usually for flu shots. Now it is closed. Things are deteriorating, and quickly. Thus: if money is no object, or you have decent health insurance coverage, then you are okay. But if you plan to pay out of pocket as in the past, beware.
  8. Wow. Even the $7,000 CDN--which seems somewhat reasonable--will probably have skyrocketed by now. I was driven to 3 different private hospitals, until we could find one with a bed available. I have discovered that this is due to the health care crunch here, which, as I mentioned earlier, is forcing patients who would otherwise be using SP and IMSS, into the private system--which has us "by the scrotum", so to speak. If it were just my experience I would chalk it up to bad luck, but the fact that my maid, gardener, and the non-Mexican insurance agent are all reaffirming this tells me that something is very amiss. And what AlanMexicalli says is true, I have been reading it in the news (unfortunately I did not foresee how this would affect me directly!)--the public healthcare system has basically run out of money and is falling apart. So we--all of us, Mexicans and expats alike--are at the mercy of whatever is available.
  9. I want to caution other readers about something that has happened to me recently, and it was just confirmed when I spoke to an insurance agent here who is receiving the same news--prices here are increasing dramatically for hospital services. Last week I discovered I needed gallbladder surgery. I had been in a lot of pain for the prior few weeks, and this was a surprise attack--I didn't even know I had gallstones! Anyway, I made the decision to stay in Mexico and have the surgery, as opposed to flying back to the USA and using my BC/BS insurance there, which has a $2500 deductible. I thought, okay, maybe it will be $4,000-$5,000 in Mexico, considering in the US an average self-pay (I researched it) for laproscopic surgery is around $6K-$9K. Certainly Mexico would be less. No. The bill from the hospital, alone, with a 2-night stay, was over $7,000 USD!!!!!!!!!!!! I was not on a ventilator, or attached to a dialysis machine, nor in the ICU. I was in the surgical/prep/recovery area for about 5 hours, total. I won't even get into the other charges, separate, for the physicians, which I don't begrudge.The team did their jobs and I have recovered nicely. What is happening--I have been told, and some of you are aware of these changes--is that the national healthcare system, including places like the Joco Hospital--is running/has run? out of funding, or is receiving insufficient funding, and therefore unable to provide services in a timely manner. This is forcing patients into other options, ie, private hospitals, which is driving up the costs of care to a ridiculous level. Both my housekeeper (Seguro Popular) and my gardener (IMSS) have recently been discussing this with me, but I didn't pay attention until I witnessed it first-hand. We know Seguro Popular has lines that run around the the corner and down the block, but the IMSS system, which my gardener has, now appears to be be no better. He requires prostate cancer surgery and, after numerous trips and hours of waiting, has been sent home because the computer system is down, or the equipment is broken, and he is no better than when he started. This is confirmed by numerous articles we are reading in the press about how AMLO realizes there is a problem with the health care systems here and wants to overhaul them. But in the meantime... One of the reasons I had moved to Mexico was the reasonable retirement costs, which included quality medical care at affordable prices. I am re-thinking this. I can get a comprehensive medical insurance policy in Portugal or Spain for both myself AND my 72 year-old spouse for the same monthly fee ($350) that I have just been quoted for myself age 58, here in Mexico. Caveat emptor.
  10. Debate here in our household. Can a friend visiting me on a Tourist Visa drive my Mexican plated car? I know in the US my British friends could drive my US car. We were told some years ago by a Real Estate agent that if our car is plated Mexico only we registered, insured members--myself and my spouse--can drive the vehicle. No friends, no Mexicans, no visitors from other countries on Tourist visas.
  11. SAT report: starting 10 days ago my down speeds have increased from (barely) 1 Mbs up to 9 or 10, and last night, 21 Mbs!!! Uploads have also increased substantially, from an average of .08 (yes, that is correct) to anywhere between 3 and 7 Mbs. I am on the Telmex $389 plan and these speeds are comparable to what I was getting in upscale Sarasota, Florida on Verizon FiOS for lots more money. There is a recent study Uni of Georgia I believe, 390,000 homes, that showed although customers were promised and paying for 25 or 50 Mbs they were only averaging about 10. Some loophole law in the US allows for promising higher speeds than actually delivered. I would love higher speeds but what I have now is perfectly acceptable.
  12. What I don't understand is why this particular issue remains ongoing in this part of Mexico. In other places where there is a large expat population, or one of middle-class Mexicans, the new noise ordinances are being enforced. What is it about Chapala municipality that makes it so hard for the officials (and some of the public) to understand the rationale behind implementing reasonable noise limits? Even the local Mexicans with whom I speak don't like the excessively loud noise. Why does law enforcement prefer to side with the minority making all the ruckus? Personally, I have given up. I've installed solar panels for cheaper electricity, mini split a/c units to ensure decent sleep, internal shutters over windows and doors to buffer the sound, as needed. Come to think of it, pretty much the same way of life I had in the US, insulated away from the disturbances of the outside world.
  13. Absolutely! We travel to Africa frequently and it is amazing how many Chinese corporations are creating / subsidizing / implementing businesses that are China-owned. The Chinese are also buying huge swaths of land. Chinese university students are being groomed to look forward to the future....in Africa. I am speechless about how much of this is going on and in the meantime we in the US are distracted with petty matters. As much as I dislike a certain US president at the moment, he made an excellent point about our US military maintaining safety in the Strait of Hormuz, for the benefits of the Chinese oil-tankers. When we were kids back in the 1960's I remember my parents re-using the big, brown paper grocery bags for trash. We would put one in the kitchen garbage bin and when it was full we would take it outside to the metal trash can. Of course we had to be careful about putting "wet stuff" in the brown paper bag.
  14. Just a caution about the skylights--whoever you have install them, do NOT get the big sheet of tinted, thick glass that is cemented into the roof. When I bought our house (in the winter) I had no idea exactly how much those pieces of glass would act like magnifying glasses and increase the heat in our home. My first hot season in the house I measured 110F on the floor in the area directly beneath the glass skylights, and 103F in a circle around that area. Incredibly uncomfortable, and our internal house temp was in the high 90sF. I had all 7 of the 1 meter square sheets of glass removed, and, in place I had "casitas" installed. They look like concrete boxes turned upside-down with glass blocks on all 4 sides, east-west-north-south. That reduced the internal temp of my home down to about 83F. Then when I had the roof repainted white my internal daytime temps average about 77F in May and June.
  15. Thanks, everyone. I ended up using Ruly, he is very punctual, honest, thorough, and has a 7 -year warranty. He went to university in Guad to become an arcitecto and his specialty is dealing with water and moisture; he also designs and constructs French drains. He does the entire package, with cleaning the old base off, then prepping, laying a torch (tar) coating, then a membrane that is basically a big roll of asphalt shingle like we have up north, sealing the abutting seams of that, and then covering with top quality impermeabilizante--3 coats of white on mine. I specifically requested white because it reflects the rays of the sun and keeps the house about 7 degrees cooler than when a I had a red-brick color roof. Our entire job took 4 weeks straight, no rain days, workers here at 8:30 every morning until about 5 every day. Our roof is large at over 4200 sq feet plus a cupola and solar panels (removal and replace) . It cost 123,000 pesos in total. Much better deal than paying out the annual 18,000 or so pesos and worrying about leaks at the start of every season. BTW we discovered, while looking over the photos on Ruly's phone, that the roof had never been done correctly, in the 50+ years this house had been standing, and despite numerous owners who had done some intensive and expensive renovations. Just an annual cleaning and roll on of impermeabilizante. Makes you wonder.....
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