Want Free Health Care? Visit Mexico City

Although the A/H1NI flu virus (referred to as the swine flu) outbreak didn’t kill everyone like alarmist media commentary led us to believe it would, it did deal a devastating blow to the Mexican tourism industry. The sprawling metropolis’s hotels are lonely places these days, sitting at 27 percent capacity compared to 50 percent a year ago.

To get things going again, the Mexico City government is hooking up every visitor with health insurance.

“Tourists will be insured the moment they register in their hotels,” Alejandro Rojas, the city’s tourism minister, told the Financial Times on Friday.

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 city government announced that it would also launch a bank card for national tourists visiting Mexico City, which would give them an interest-free loan for purchases made in the capital and payable via monthly deductions from their salary.

Whoah, there. Interest-free loans on top of free health care? Mexico City, you should have no problem luring Gringos with such grandiose perks. The problem will be getting them to leave.

(Thanks, TRANSRACIALNYC!)

Mexico City offers free health cover [Financial Times]
(Photo: robinryan.ca)