Executive summary

Since 2012, the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) has worked to simplify its administrative formalities, benefiting citizens and businesses. Administrative simplification has led to a reduction in the number of data requirements that users or businesses must submit as part of an administrative formality, the simplification of forms and the use of plain language, among others.

In 2013, the IMSS introduced the Digital IMSS Strategy to enhance simplification and to facilitate access to government procedures and services for users, pensioners, business owners and citizens. This strategy made it possible to carry out procedures and request services through the IMSS’s web page or through a mobile application that is freely available for users with a smartphone.

This report measures the impact on citizens and businesses of improving 84 formalities of the IMSS. Out of all the formalities analysed, 31 can be carried out online, and three through the mobile application. Using an adaptation of the Standard Cost Model, which included the collection of 506 surveys from users of the formalities, the report shows that simplification and digitisation have generated a 25% to 40% reduction in administrative burdens.

Administrative burdens are measured through the monetisation of the time allocated by users (citizens or businesses) to the collection, preparation and submission of the information required by government offices.

The reduction of data requirements, the improvement of forms and the possibility of sending information remotely (through a computer or a smartphone) decreases the number of person-hours users must devote to a formality. The Standard Cost Model methodology assumes that the person-hours freed are reintegrated into the economy in more productive activities.

This study reports a range in the savings derived from the simplification and digitisation efforts carried out by IMSS between 2012 and 2017. Although the report concludes that the digitisation of procedures alone resulted in burden reduction, the evidence collected indicates that simplification actions, such as the elimination of data requirements, were also carried out, leading to further reductions. Therefore, the lower bound of burden reduction of 25% should be considered as a “starting point”, and it is likely that the actual savings are higher.

This 25% reduction compares favourably with the experiences reported by OECD member countries, which have established a goal for burden reduction of between 20% and 25%.

The administrative burdens that IMSS users face could be further reduced by 11%. This could be achieved by digitising an additional 27 formalities and increasing the take-up of digital formalities by users from 19% to 25.8%. These goals were defined by IMSS, and can be achieved over 2-4 years, taking into consideration the availability of resources and the capacity of users to migrate to digital modalities.

A broad scope simulation shows that IMSS could, eventually, reduce administrative burdens by 32%. To achieve these savings, it is necessary to digitise all 84 formalities included in this report and to have at least 66% of the users employing the digital modality of the formalities.

To achieve this objective, further efforts and resources are required. The time frame for this objective is likely to be of more than 5 years.

It is important to highlight that during the development of this report, IMSS made further progress in the simplification and digitisation of administrative formalities. Thus, it is possible that the actual savings in administrative simplification to date are greater than 25%.

To continue with administrative burden reduction, the OECD recommends that IMSS consider the following actions:

  • Digitise 27 additional formalities and increase the proportion of users who employ digital formalities from 19% to 25.8%. This should lead to an additional 11% reduction of the administrative burdens.

  • Prioritise simplification efforts in the following formalities, as they represent 82% of potential savings:

    • Request of certificate of validity of rights to receive medical services. Category B) Request by the insured or retired citizen (IMSS-02-020-B)

    • Referenced payment system (SIPARE)

    • Medical attention in the units of family medicine (IMSS-03-011)

    • Request or localisation of the social security number (IMSS-02-008)

  • Define a strategic plan that identifies the challenges and necessary resources to achieve the goal of reducing administrative burdens by 32%.

  • For the future, gather and systematically keep records of administrative improvement actions in order to have enough evidence that allows a more precise evaluation of the reforms.

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