Health Is Wealth: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Provides World-Class Healthcare to Retirees
Mexico has long been a popular tourist destination, and many visitors are discovering great places to live year-round in this beautiful and vibrant country. One of these is San Miguel de Allende.Mexico has long been a popular tourist destination, and many visitors are discovering great places to live year-round in this beautiful and vibrant country. One of these is San Miguel de Allende.
Located in the highlands of central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende continues to receive global recognition as a beautiful travel destination and an ideal place to live. Since the post-WWII period, it has also attracted many retirees, mostly from the United States, who are looking for a relaxing, affordable, and beautiful city to call home.
There are several reasons why this artsy, centuries-old city is an exceptional place to retire; among them are its stunning natural beauty, rich history, tranquility, affordable cost of living, and — crucially — the excellent healthcare services available to residents.
HEALTHCARE IN SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, MEXICO FOR EXPATS
Health and wellness is a significant consideration for retirees, and one of the many reasons they choose San Miguel De Allende is the fact that the healthcare services offered here are world-class and easily accessible. High-quality and lower-cost medical care options are available, as well as modern medical facilities and expert doctors, dentists, and specialists.
San Miguel de Allende Public and Private Healthcare Services
In San Miguel de Allende, there is both public and private healthcare. The public healthcare system is under IMSS-Bienestar or the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. It serves Mexican citizens, those who are employed by Mexican companies, and expats who have legal residency and who voluntarily enroll and make payments into it. In 2023, the country's other health-related government agency INSABI (Instituto de Salud para el Bienestar), was merged with IMSS.
To ensure that they get the care they need, many expats in San Miguel de Allende also choose to sign up for private health insurance which tends to offer easier access to English-speaking specialists; many also opt to just pay in cash for a private doctor/hospital.
If you have legal residency, spend most of your time in Mexico, and travel to other areas in the country, it's generally a good idea to get IMSS coverage. There are IMSS clinics and hospitals located throughout the country and they provide decent basic care at a fraction of the cost that you'd normally pay in the US. The annual premium for those in the 60-69 age bracket, for example, is just $18,300 as of March 2023. You can find the fee table here.
Note that you won't be able to enroll if you have any of the pre-existing conditions that are on this list, and that some pre-existing conditions have a required waiting period.
You can start your registration online though you will have to complete some parts of the process in person.
Benefits of San Miguel de Allende Healthcare
Here are some of the many benefits of healthcare in Mexico for expats:
- Public and Private Hospitals
In San Miguel de Allende, there is a public hospital along with private hospital facilities that feature a range of specialized healthcare professionals and several services, including pediatricians, ophthalmologists, and cardiologists, along with a unit that offers cosmetic procedures.
The city's public general hospital is General Hospital Dr. Felipe G. Dobarganes. Private hospitals in San Miguel de Allende are:
- Hospital Joya San Miguel (Joya Hospital - San Miguel)
Joya Hospital, which opened its doors in 2021, is known for offering first-rate medical services. It has emergency and intensive care units, a specialized center for respiratory diseases, and over 20 specializations, ranging from general medicine to cardiology to geriatrics. In general, doctors here are bilingual.
- MAC Hospital San Miguel de Allende
Hospital MAC, founded in 2017, has state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, including emergency, respiratory therapy, rehabilitation, and intensive care. It has specialists in over two dozen specializations and doctors here are generally bilingual as well.
There are also several smaller health centers, clinics, and doctor offices in town, and top-notch health facilities, several of which have international accreditations, are just one hour away in Querétaro.
- Hospital Joya San Miguel (Joya Hospital - San Miguel)
- Personalized Healthcare Plans
For expats who don't choose to sign up for IMSS or who would like to augment it, there are private, affordable healthcare plans available that can be personalized to suit their specific needs.
- Available Pharmacies
San Miguel de Allende also has several pharmacies where you can purchase prescription and over-the-counter medications. Many prescription medicines are readily available and affordable at much lower costs than in the United States.
Similar to the cost of living, healthcare costs in San Miguel de Allende are generally lower than healthcare costs in the United States and other Western countries. This includes prices for consultations, procedures, and medications.
The lower-cost, high-quality health services make healthcare more accessible to retirees who may want to live within a budget.
- Language Accessibility
Language barriers are an understandable concern. Fortunately, English-speaking doctors, dentists, and healthcare professionals abound in San Miguel de Allende due to the well-established expat community here. Many of these professionals are trained abroad and their fees are generally more affordable than those of their counterparts in the U.S. and Canada.
- Continuously Improving Services
As the expat retirement community continues to grow in San Miguel de Allende, healthcare services are keeping pace, improving and expanding to meet their needs. This has resulted in the influx and greater availability of bilingual doctors, personalized care plans, shorter wait times, and improvements in available hospital technology.
A CLOSER LOOK AT SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
Thinking of making the move to San Miguel De Allende? Let's take a closer look at this stunning historic city and see why retirees are choosing it as a retirement destination.
Just three hours away from Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende is located in the far eastern part of the state of Guanajuato, a part of the Bajío region of Mexico. It's roughly 170 miles from Mexico City and 60 miles from the city of Guanajuato, the state's capital.
The city takes its name from two notable people — a 16th-century Franciscan friar named Juan de San Miguel and a celebrated martyr for Mexican Independence, Ignacio Allende, who was born here. The town played a pivotal role in Mexico's War of Independence against Spain and was one of the first to be declared independent. Today, the central section of San Miguel de Allende is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that regularly attracts thousands of tourists.
The city has also been ranked the best city in the world multiple times by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure magazine. Visitors love the beautiful cobblestone streets, historical landmarks, stunning architecture, and quaint coffee shops covered in vibrant green vines.
RETIRING IN SAN ALLENDE
Many retirees want to live in a place with a balmy climate, an affordable cost of living, a safe and peaceful community, and excellent healthcare.
If, alongside all of the above, the city also has a charming local culture, plenty of things to see and do, and a variety of delectable cuisine to enjoy, that's even better.
San Miguel de Allende has all of the above and more. That is why many people who have come to this high desert colonial town for a vacation easily fall in love with the city and decide to make it their home.
Here are the top eight reasons why retirees are moving to San Miguel de Allende.
- Mild Climate
Weather is always an important consideration for retirees when looking for an ideal destination. While some flock to the beach, sometimes the ocean and tropical climate, often accompanied by rains and monsoons, isn't for everybody.
Some retirees dream of a destination with a more temperate climate and warm, sunny weather. This is San Miguel de Allende. With almost year-round sun, temperatures in the city can reach up to 85°F throughout most of the year. The dry season typically lasts from September to June. And even during the wet season, the chances of rainfall usually only reach 30% on most days.
- Affordable Cost of Living
Another primary consideration for retirees is affordability and cost of living. Compared to many retirement communities in North America, the cost of living in San Miguel de Allende is significantly lower, allowing retirees to make the most of their retirement savings.
And even though prices may have increased as San Miguel de Allende grows in popularity as a retirement community, they are still quite manageable. Real estate is diverse, and buyers can find several types of homes at various price points.
For example, if you want to live close to the city center, where many activities are, two-bedroom homes are available for approximately $350,000 and above. This is relatively affordable compared to the same size of home in many U.S. cities. And if you don't mind a short 10-15 minute walk or ride into town, home prices can drop exponentially.
Alongside housing costs, daily living purchases in San Miguel de Allende are also less expensive than in the United States.
- Sizeable Expat and Retirement Community
There is a large and thriving expat community in San Miguel de Allende. Of the city's population of approximately 70,000, roughly 10% are expats and retirees from the United States and Canada. This number increases during the colder season in the US when many come to live in Mexico for the winter months.
As many as 63 nationalities live in San Miguel de Allende, and it's become commonplace to see Americans and Canadians strolling around town all year, enjoying local restaurants, art centers, and shopping districts.
The city's large expat and retirement community can help new retirees easily integrate into the community and find much-needed support during the transition. Many retirees also appreciate the diversity and international flavor this community creates.
- Public Safety
Safety is another important consideration when choosing a retirement community. And despite what you might read in the news, San Miguel de Allende is a safe place to live. The crime rate in the city compares favorably with other travel destinations in Mexico. Complaints compared to the population ratio remain manageable and low.
The large and growing expatriate and retiree community is also another testament to the location's safety.
- Vibrant Lifestyle
While many retirees favor peace, quiet, and relaxation, they also still want to live in a location that offers activities suited to their unique tastes. San Miguel de Allende provides several activities for retirees, including physical activities like golf and hiking, alongside art classes and various social clubs geared towards different interests.
- Cultural Richness
San Miguel de Allende has a well-preserved history, evident in its gorgeous historic architecture, colorful buildings, and cobblestone streets. Much of the charm of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is in its Baroque architecture from the Spanish colonial era.
San Miguel de Allende is one of the most beautiful cities south of the border, and many homes, businesses, and churches maintain their historic facades while also featuring modern amenities.
A thriving arts scene also buoys the city's cultural appeal. There are numerous art galleries, theaters, and cultural events yearly. World-class cuisine is also readily available to residents and tourists, rounding out the city's rich cultural and cosmopolitan appeal and making it a culturally enriching place to live.
- Proximity to the United States
Another benefit of retiring to San Miguel de Allende is that it is still easily accessible from major cities in the United States. This makes it convenient for retirees to visit friends and family at home or invite them for a visit.
- Excellent Healthcare
As previously mentioned, the city has a growing healthcare industry, one of the most critical considerations for retirees. In general, the healthcare in Mexico for expats is excellent, offering retirees access to many high-quality, low-cost healthcare options.
The city has many modern medical facilities and medical professionals, and many expatriates and retirees choose to live here because of the availability of robust healthcare services that meet a wide range of needs.
WHERE TO LIVE IN SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
Between the numerous benefits of living in San Miguel de Allende and the excellent available healthcare in Mexico for expats, it's not surprising that many retirees continue to make this charming city home.
But what neighborhood and community is an ideal place for retirees to call home? There are several options to choose from, each with its own charms and attractions.
Here are some of the most popular choices:
Centro, the historic city center, is the city's beating heart. It is anchored by the beautiful pink-spired Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel and the Jarin Principal or main square. Living in Centro is ideal for those who want to be near the action and have easy access to shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. However, it can get loud, especially during special events.
Several types of homes are available here, with values based on proximity to the city center. You can find three-bedroom condos in gated communities for just above $315,000 or luxurious four-bedroom hacienda-type homes for between $900,000-$1,000,000.
This quiet and beautiful neighborhood is south of Centro and offers a more tranquil and peaceful residential atmosphere. This neighborhood has stunning homes, beautiful gardens, narrow streets, and a close-knit, friendly community. It is popular with expats and retirees for being quiet and offering many shops, restaurants, and amenities.
A wide range of homes is available in this neighborhood, with prices ranging from $350,000 to $1M depending on size, location, and amenities. Many houses here feature signature San Miguel style with gorgeous balconies, greenery and flowers, and Spanish-influenced interiors. There are also modern colonial homes available.
As its name implies, Balcones is a neighborhood on a hill offering residents beautiful, panoramic balcony views of the city and surrounding mountains. This neighborhood is more secluded and peaceful, making it an excellent choice for retirees who want a tranquil and calm San Miguel de Allende retirement.
The neighborhood also has a public plaza and outdoor amphitheater surrounded by palm trees and blooming bougainvillea flowers.
Homes here are mainly luxury properties that cost anywhere from $1M to $1.5M, although rare homes can also be found here in the mid-$300,000 range.
Atascadero is located on the outskirts of town on a hillside overlooking the city. This community was once a horse ranch developed in the 1960s and popular with expats and wealthy Mexican residents.
The neighborhood is known for beautiful upscale homes and its charming rural setting. It is farther from the city center, but the benefit is that this all-residential community offers a quiet and secluded lifestyle.
Homes here are a mix of upscale residences and sprawling estates. Since it is farther away from the city, homes here often have better value with more land and square footage. While the amenities of the homes here are fantastic, like beautiful lawns and swimming pools, the trade-off is that it is uphill and is sometimes not an easy walk.
You can find colonial-style homes, Spanish architecture, and even modern homes available here, ranging from $600,000 to $1.5M.
The neighborhood of Guadalupe is north of Centro and is a vibrant and artistic bohemian community. It's considered the "arts district" because of several beautiful murals, art galleries, and craft shops. This neighborhood has a relaxed vibe and attracts individuals who love arts and culture.
Homes in this neighborhood are a combination of new houses and older raw-brick Mexican-style homes. Most homes in the area range from $400,000 and above, and neighborhood improvements continue, like the pretty Riverwalk trail along the neighborhood's boundary.
You can learn more about the city's different neighborhoods here.
DISCOVER SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE WITH BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES
If you want to explore San Miguel de Allende, learn more about the healthcare options in Mexico for expats, and see if you can make this beautiful city your retirement home, it's best to connect with a professional who possesses deep expertise in the area and are equipped to help retirees find their perfect homes and all the amenities they need.
Gregory R. Gunter and his Berkshire Hathaway Home Services team are exceptionally skilled at finding the perfect homes in San Miguel de Allende. The company is part of Warren Buffet's #1 ranked global real estate umbrella and the first and flagship office in Mexico.