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Medical Care in Mexico is Excellent and Inexpensive

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Healthcare in Mexico at CMQ Hospital in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Hospital CMQ Puerto Vallarta

Increasingly, Americans and Canadians are learning what expats living in Mexico already know: Medical care in Mexico is excellent and inexpensive.

I recently returned from a speaking engagement at the 9th Medical Tourism Congress in Aguascaliente, Mexico. There I saw something remarkable unfold: American and Canadian medical facilitators and Mexican hospitals and other medical care providers working together to help ease the medical and financial suffering of U.S. and Canadian citizens. There were even a few care providers from Guatemala, too.

If you currently live in the United States or Canada, or have lived there recently, you probably know that your nation’s medical system is broken, perhaps irretrievably broken. However, each of these countries has a medical system that is broken in a different way.

For Canadians, free medical care is provided for everyone. But if you need to see a specialist or to have surgery, you are put at the end of the line and it’s a very long line. If your condition isn’t “life threatening” (okay, even if it is maybe), you still might be bumped by someone needing emergency care.

Waiting times for surgery are frequently a year or more and three-year waits are not unheard of. Meanwhile, those waiting are often fed a diet of pain-killers and, sadly, addiction is the result for some. Doctors in Canada realize they are practicing bad medicine but may be unable to do anything to speed things along to help their patients.

For people in the United State, it is the price that is prohibitive. Yes, it may take a while to see a specialist, and it may take some time to have a surgery scheduled, but we are typically talking days or weeks, not months or years. Paying for that surgery is another matter.

With skyrocketing prices for medical care, many working U.S. citizens simply cannot afford the care they need. Even workers with corporate health insurance can be defeated by the annual deductible or the 20 percent co-pays (or both).

If an elective surgery has been recommended or simply isn’t covered by your insurance, you are out of luck entirely unless you have significant savings or can borrow enough on credit. There is a reason that medical bills are the single most common source of debt for Americans seeking relief by filing for bankruptcy.

Fortunately, medical care is international. Doctors and nurses are often trained in one country but may go on to practice in another. You can confirm this for yourself. Simply go to your local hospital’s website and click on the Staff profiles.

I asked a woman in rural Illinois to do this recently during an online conversation. I’d explained that I written a book in English about the medical system in Mexico. Her response? She said she’d rather be treated by “American” doctors.

I could overlook this woman’s xenophobia given the fact that she might not know that Mexicans are Americans, North Americans. But she sure was surprised when she discovered that most of the doctors in her small-town hospital were educated in Hyderabad, India or Guadalajara, Mexico.

This is not a surprise in the medical community. In fact, a growing number of U.S. and Canadian citizens—as well as their insurance companies and corporate Human Resources departments—are taking advantage of the abundance of well-trained medical professionals and uber-modern private hospital facilities in Mexico.

Why? Because the medical standards are high and the costs are so much lower than those in the U.S. And Canadians are often shocked to discover that a much-needed surgery or other treatment can be arranged immediately.

Most of these visits are arranged by certified Medical Facilitators who have met with the medical professionals in Mexico. They work with the hospitals and clinics to arrange care with top doctors and can help with affordable treatment for a long list of medical needs, some not even available yet in the U.S. or Canada.

While obviously medical tourism is not a solution for medical emergencies, it can be a solution for those needing serious treatment for life-threatening conditions, and for those who simply want to pursue good health at affordable prices with well-trained professionals in stellar surroundings.

10 COMMENTS

  1. According to a friend who just recently retired in Mexico, the Mexican government has stopped processing expat applications for health care because they are considering denying their public health care to US retirees and expats in retaliation for Trump’s tariffs he recently imposed.

    Could you give us some insights into this please?

    • I have not heard this in any official capacity, but it seems logical that Trump’s actions may be testing the good will and generosity of the Mexican people.

      The problem is that we are talking about a huge system with many bureaucrats who may act independently. For example, there was a situation in the past where a local official decided to go rogue (so to speak) and deny benefits. They were corrected in the specific situation involved.

      I am not aware of any recent changes. If your friend (or anyone else) has had a personal experience attempting to apply for IMSS or Seguro Popular and was told that the government of Mexico has stopped processing applications, i’d be interested in knowing more from them. I can be contacted through this website.

      Until then, I would assume it was just a local decision or simply a rumor.

    • Because I write about the medical system in Mexico as a whole, I rarely make referrals to specific individuals (although there are many good facilitators). Nor do I maintain a list of medical facilitators.

      There are organizations that certify medical tourism facilitators. You can find them online and if you connect with someone you like you should definitely ask about their certification and recommendations from both the medical professionals and patients they have worked with.

  2. Looking to retire in Mexico in the near future. But as many individuals I have HIV, glaucoma, diabetes, and I am also a survivor of colon rectal cancer. Would it be difficult for me to have access to insulin, and HIV medications?

    • Here is Monica’s response, Sergio: Hello Sergio. Although public policy in Mexico is always subject to change, at this time foreigners with a resident’s visa are eligible for coverage under the public healthcare program called Seguro Popular. This program has no age limits and covers pre-existing conditions. The cost is based on income as determined in an interview, and while you may have to pay a co-pay for some procedures, many medicines are covered. The specific HIV antivirals are discussed in a section on HIV in the 4th Edition of The English Speakers Guide to Medical Care in Mexico. There is also information on how to find your medicines in Mexico in the instance that the specific meds you need are not covered. http://bit.ly/MedicalCareinMexico

  3. Can you comment on care after surgery with shoulder surgery I would need support, meals, etc are there organizations like that .. Recovery centers

    • The cities with a good deal of traffic in medical tourism—this includes Guadalajara, Mexico City, Tijuana, Los Cabos, etc.—will have recovery centers. Some are dedicated to medical tourists, but many are boutique hotels that regularly receive patients in recovery and are ready to provide the support and meals you will need. A woman from the UK told me about a facility she has stayed at a number of times while getting cancer treatment in Mexico. There she met with others being treated and made friends that she is in touch with long after her stay in Mexico. Nursing care can typically also be arranged if need. These facilities are often lovely places, ideal for relaxation and recovery. I recommend that you speak to someone at the medical facility where you are having the surgery. They will either make a recommendation, or they may be able to make the arrangements for you. In either case, I think you can reasonably expect to find a good place to recover and all the support and fresh delicious food you could want or need.

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