Mexico City offers free insurance for tourists

Particularly since it began garnering international headlines as one of the world capitals of the H1N1 flu, Mexico City's tourism business has taken a serious hit. (Rampant drug-related murders haven't helped things much either.) To turn things around, the city has launched a novel experiment: free health insurance for tourists staying in its hotels.

The city's "Tourist Assistance Card," run by the city's tourism office, offers benefits through private insurer MAPFRE. Tourists at the hotels get help by dialing into a call center, which is staffed by attendants fluent in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.

The service is not 100 percent free, as a deductible will apply for some services, but one has to assume that tourists will enjoy decent coverage for average everyday ills. Perhaps this approach will work better than previous strategies hotels have tried, such as offering free vacation to any tourist contracting H1N1 during their stay. It definitely sounds more appealing.

To learn more about Mexico City's plans:
- read this Los Angeles Times item

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