Mexico's Unveils Free Health Insurance Protecting Tourists
Mexico probably has the best travel health insurance in the world. We can say that it's the most affordable as well. The country has unveiled a free health insurance program against swine flu to protect its tourism industry.
The swine flu fears have made the European and American tourists to think twice when traveling to the Mexican capital. The images of deserted streets and closed businesses are still in the memory of tourists. Therefore, the government of Mexico City is now launching a message of calm in the form of a free health insurance program for tourists.
"This health insurance is to cover any person who may contract the virus in our city and needs coverage," Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said when presenting the Tourist Assistance Card. However, NY Times writes that the fine print of the proposal says that the treatment will be offered at "authorized establishments" and that in some cases an unspecified deductible will be charged.
Visits by foreign nationals not only bring life to Mexico City, but also an important source of income in a country where tourism is vital to sustain the economy and daily life of its inhabitants. The insurance will cover medical, accident or illness, ambulance, hospitalization, medical emergency and if there is need the prescription drug costs. Additionally, it will also provide coverage for dental emergencies, repatriation and even for urgent phone messages.
Mexico City's travel health insurance will also provides legal assistance for lost or stolen documents or belongings.
Until now, Mexico has recorded 142 deaths due to influenza A. At first, most of these cases were recorded in the Federal District, but now the tide has shifted to the southeastern states like Chiapas. With this measure, the mayor of Mexico City Ebrard tries to heal the tourist health fears to attract those who still come to Mexico City.
The Spanish language newspaper El Mundo writes that this special swine flu health insurance measure is ainly addressed for the Europe because "the Americans have already passed the reluctance." Restaurants and other entertainment venues are still on alert. They have posters that remind to wash your hands at least once during your stay, and teach how to do a hand hygiene properly.
The hotels in Mexico City finally lifted their heads above the waters and reaches 59% occupancy. There were times that no one would ask you to take a picture in front of the main cathedral or in front of major museums. But now, you can see some tourists back in the city. It is expected that Mexico City's swine flu travel health insurance will cover seven million visitors.
Written by Armen Hareyan
Materials from El Mundo, NY Times and Milenio are used for preparing this report.