Friday, January 09, 2009

#4 and #5 -- dr. postman

Two more unlike things: mail and medicine.

In mid-March, I need to shut down my local post office box. When I moved to Salem, I had all of my magazines sent to a postal box because the house was still being remodeled. I never got around to closing down the the box. That was 17 years ago.

My magazines (National Review, The Economist, National Geographic, The American Spectator) give me as much pleasure as reading books. I would miss having them available in Mexico. I thought I could weekly pick up copies at the Manzanillo airport. But the news kiosk carries nothing but glossy spreads on teenager singers and their middle-aged boyfriends. Not exactly what I had in mind for my retirement years.

I understand that some Melaque residents use a mail service in Manzanillo for magazine deliveries. But the majority of residents have assured me that the Mexican postal service is reliable for home mail delivery.

I have the address of the house where I will be staying. About a month before I leave, I intend to change my mailing address to the Melaque house. If that does not work, I can always read the magazines online. If the Kindle had a better magazine subscription service, I would solve the mailing issue with that new toy.

I am not moving to Mexico for the medical services. But, if I need them, I certainly will appreciate the good quality, low prices that Mexican medicine provides, as discussed in going to health.

Before I leave, though, I need to do several things.

First, I need to sign up for Tricare services under my federal service retirement. The basic program will reimburse me for 75% of my out-of-pocket expenses in Mexico.

Second, I need to buy a new pair of eyeglasses under my current insurance. Mine broke into three pieces this morning.

Third, before I lose my current insurance, I need to schedule and have a physical examination. I cannot recall the last one I had. Maybe about 12 years or so ago. I tend to avoid doctors -- even though mine is a good friend from high school. For all I know, my warranty has run out.

Fourth, I need to consider vaccinations. I say "consider," because the same list comes up every time I travel to tropical areas: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and tetanus-diptheria. And on every trip I decide not to seek out the vaccinations. My doctor usually does not recommend vaccinations. But I will talk with him again. This may turn out to be a quick check-off item.

Fifth, I will be heading south with no health insurance other than Tricare that I mentioned above. At some point, I intend to look into catastrophic health insurance. But that is extremely low on my priority list. I consider most health insurance to be an incredible waste of money. (And, yes, I know. The Greek gods have a way of dealing with hubris this bold.)

If I can finish those two items, I will have some hing to read while I wait for the doctor in Mexico.


Tom and Debi said...

When we were preparing to move to MX I changed all my magazine subscriptions to friends because I too thought the delivery would be unreliable at best. I forgot 1 subscription, Vegetarian Times.
I went online and did a change of address, that was 3 years ago, I have received every copy in good time. So I say go for it - get those mags delivered right to your doorstep!

Bob Mrotek said...

When you get to Mexico and you complete the FM3 process (it will take about a month...the thing you are getting in the US is just a start) you should sign up with IMSS. It will cost you about 300 bucks a year but it will be a very good back-up for you health wise. You may never use it but I think you will. Because I work here my employer pays for it. Once you hit 60 (especially) things like vaccinations and check-ups etcetera are no charge and you will get preference. You receive a card that is good at any IMSS in an emergency. Prescriptions are also no charge. One of the first categories of Spanish that you should learn are the parts of the body so that you can tell a health professional where it hurts. I can help you with this. Let me know.

Angela Marie said...

I enjoyed your blog :)

My daughter and I will be traveling to Mexico (my 2nd time, her 1st). We're just starting a blog ( and would love the hear any advice you might have to offer!

BTW, the 17 year postponement of changing the PO box made me feel good! lol I do a lot of that kind of thing myself.

Steve Cotton said...

Debi -- Thanks for the encouragement. Early on in my research, I picked up the notion that the Mexican mail service could not be relied upon. I have since learned that is not true. Magazines will be a good test.

Bob -- I have thought about signing up for IMSS. The Melaque message board has discussed a wrinkle, though. Apparently, IMSS is reluctant to issue policies to single people. Don't know why, but I will find out. Of course, I could always marry and exchange that problem for many more.

Angela Marie -- Glad you have enjoyed the blog. As for starting your own, the best advice I can give is make it your own. I try to write daily -- just for the discipline. You are going to have a lot of fun.

Babs said...

(1) The mail services get your mail to you within 10 days, the Mx post office a month.
(2) I know a zillion, well at least 20, people who are single and have IMSS. The lowest scale of medical care.
(3) If you get your FM3 in the USA you can also get your car sticker and then you just zip across the border and have no hassles getting it at the border. Yes, you do have to register your address at Immigration and provide some paperwork, but having that car sticker before you leave saves LOTS of hassles.

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- Good to see you back on the net.

My contacts in Melaque sdeem to get their magazines quite timely. I am going to give it a try. I can always switch to Mailbox,etc. -- or another company.

I suspect, like most things in Mexico, there is no set answer on IMSS service for singles. It is probably the idiosynchratic behavior of a disgruntled clerk.

If the dog is dead, I will not be bringing my truck to Mexico. But zipping is always a good thing.

Bob Mrotek said...

Bab's comment reminded me of something (I wonder why?). While you are still there it would be a good thing if you get an apostille for your birth certificate from your Secretary of State's office. It will eliminate the hassle later on if, for example, you want to get married or something. By the way, I will be going to IMSS this afternoon for a checkup. I will put in a good word for you :)

Steve Cotton said...

Bob -- Interesting coincidence on your apostille suggestion. I was thumbing through Don Adams's book (Escape to Mexico) last night. In his chapter on documents, he made the same point. I jotted down a note. Now, I will underline it. The Secretary of State's office is a mere block from my humble abode -- another advantage of living in the state capital.

jennifer rose said...

Don't pay any attention to the crap you're hearing about IMSS and its coverage for single people. It certainly does provide coverage to single people. Every so often, a few gringo pass on misinformation like this, and it takes a life of its own. I guess they have nothing better to do than get their knickers in a twist.

But really. Do you really want IMSS? After all, it is public health. Socialized medicine. Get yourself a private Mexican health insurance policy -- or go bare.

Now, about those magazines. They will be delivered to your address, providing you provide the correct address, in Melaque. However, given that you've already said that you may move from there after 6 months, and given that you will be at the beach, you should give consideration to having those magazines forwarded to a safe address, one which will not be affected by that seaside humidity. Yeah, as in having those magazines forwarded to Miguelito, Bob or me. We are trustworthy folks, I assure you.

Bob Mrotek said...

Yeah, send the magazines to us Steve and that way we can read them too!

aighmeigh said...

i had to rush out to the eye doctor before i left for a new batch of contacts, since i got a great price on them... i only wish i could have waited until i moved for the cheaper dental care! :D

Steve Cotton said...

Aighmeigh -- I have spent a small fortune in dental care in Oregon. Like you, I wish I could have had most of it done in Mexico.

Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer -- I will look at IMSS, but I am certainly not wed to the idea. You have caught me out on my libertarian principles.

I will send my madazines along with the PIN to each of my bank accounts. Is it 28 December again?

Bob -- Et tu?

Bob Mrotek said...

Don't forget to give us your Social Security number and a copy of your passport and birth certificate...for the Post Office of course. Better leave your Libertarian principles in Oregon also. They don't work too well down here. I know that Fred Barnes wouldn't like it but what the heck, we just won't tell him where you are :)

Anonymous said...

Given that what causes "tourista" can also carry hepatitis, I'd certainly go for those shots. Hepatitis is no laughing matter.

I have gotten both vaccinations primarily because I travel to Mexico so frequently. My Dr. didn't argue with my rationale.

Kim G
Boston, MA
A great place to get sick, what with all the Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals.

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- you have to realize my doctor recognizes the fact that no matter what he recommends, I will always take the unhealthy choice -- no sense in fighting inertia.

Anonymous said...

I think not having a Hep A vaccination is overly risky behavior. Hep A is foodborne and if you want to eat tacos on the street anywhere (US too), you should have the vaccination. Kathe

Steve Cotton said...

Kathe -- I will talk with my doctor on this topic, but vaccinations strike me as being in the same category as health insurance -- nice to have, but hardly necessary.

Bob Mrotek said...

I don't want to be any more intrusive than I probably already am but I think that Kathe really knows what she is talking about. I, for one, believe that vaccinations are a good thing, especially as we get older. Flu shots and anti pneumonia shots are in my opinion a must as well as Hep "A" and tetanus. I am going to IMSS on the 14th for my tetanus booster which should carry me for another five years. Trust us on this one :)

Steve Cotton said...

Bob and Kathe -- It will go on the list.

cwilson said...

My God--you should have Hep A & B even if you only go out to eat at the Olive Garden in Salem! And the others are just good common sense. Last time I saw you, you still had some...

Steve Cotton said...

I have often said that I would not be caught dead in an Olive Garden. Maybe I was wrong.