Can Mexico City win back tourists with free health insurance?

by Susan Derby ,  Los Angeles Times | 2009-06-07

The Financial Times reported Saturday on a new plan by Mexico City's government to attract tourists after the swine flu did a number on its tourism sector.

Yes, there is a coupon book in the works, which would offer discounts at hotels, theaters and other businesses. But far more surprising is what the city will soon be offering to foreigners for free: medical coverage. As stated in the London-based publication:

"[I]n the aftermath of the A/H1N1 flu virus, which has claimed the lives of 106 people in the country and devastated tourism, the city government has decided to offer holidaymakers free medical insurance — whether it be to cover migraine, a broken bone or even emergency heart surgery.

"'Tourists will be insured the moment they register in their hotels,' Alejandro Rojas, the city's tourism minister, told the Financial Times yesterday.

"The cover, which will be provided by ACE Seguros, the Mexican arm of the ACE Group, an international insurer, will allow any foreign tourists to seek medical attention at private hospitals throughout the city. It will not cover long-term maladies or illnesses contracted before arrival."

The insurance package will become available on July 11, according to the report.

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