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Is Being Insured Sufficient to Ensure Effective Access to Health Care among Poor People in Mexico in the Long Term?

In May 2003, Mexico established the System of Social Protection in Health, under which a public health insurance program named “Seguro Popular” (SP) was implemented. This system sought to extend social protection in health to uninsured poor people and to gradually standardize benefits with existing health insurance programs targeting private sector and government employees. SP is a system of public health insurance coordinated by the federal government and operated by the state governments. It is a voluntary insurance program with subsidized contributions based on ability to pay, targeting the poorest uninsured households. Enrollment in SP is not dependent on current health status or preexisting illness, and there is no copayment linked to the health care received. It covers selected diseases that are associated with excessive health expenditures and offers medical services through a network of public health centers and regional and national hospitals to ensure access to outpatient, hospital, and specialized care, as well as medicines, laboratories, and other health services.

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