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Cross-border health insurance

The San Diego Union Tribune has an article (“Cross-border coverage“) profiling entreprenuer Jim Arriola and his low cost health insurance plan covering medical care in both the U.S. and Mexico.

His company, Sekure Healthcare, provides a limited-benefit insurance program through employers along with a discount health card program. Both can be used by Sekure members and family members to visit doctors and hospitals on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The health plan is not as generous as typical employer-provided health insurance, but may be an attractive option for low wage workers who can not afford top-of-the-line coverage.  Sekure specifically targets low wage Mexican workers in California.

While the plan certainly fills a niche, this type of cross border plan likely will not gain broad appeal.  First, most people want to receive their medical care where they live.  Thus, the option to have treatment in Mexico will likely only be attractive to frequent migrants or those living near the border (i.e. San Diego).  Secondly, the Sekuye plan does not cover catastrophic medical costs.

“Sekure pays up to $50 for each doctor’s office visit and a maximum of $300 a year for the service. Beneficiaries can get up to $800 a day and a maximum of $3,000 a year for hospitalization. They pay out of their own pockets for any charges exceeding their benefits. “

The Sekure plan is the exact opposite of health plans advocated by Republicans.  Instead of having catastrophic health insurance with a high deductible, the Sekure plan provides a minimal benefit and does not cover catastrophic costs.

Nevertheless, some insurance is better than no insurance for many low wage workers.

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