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Medical Tourism Mexico - Statistics, Costs, and How to

The medical tourism Mexico industry has succeeded by fulfilling weaknesses of the American and Canadian health care systems. For one, prices for medical procedures are much less expensive in Mexico. Patients commonly save at least 50% on medial costs by going to Mexico. Secondly, medical care in Mexico is usually similar to or better than care in America and Canada. Below we will cover interesting medical tourism Mexico statistics, typical medical tourism Mexico cost, and how to find reputable doctors.

Mexican surgeon

Image Source: DepositPhotos

Medical Tourism Mexico: Cost and Procedures

A lot of Americans travel to Mexico to receive affordable medical procedures and health care. Common medical procedures that medical tourists seek in Mexico include dental work, weight loss surgery, cosmetic surgery, and orthopedic treatments. Heart surgery is another medical procedure that medical tourists go to Mexico for.

Heart Surgery

Open heart surgery costs $24,000 in Mexico compared to $64,000 in the United States. Bypass surgery also costs $24,000 in Mexico, but is $44,000 in the U.S.. Mexican cities that offer heart surgery include Guadalajara, Cancun, Monterrey, Jalisco, and Mexico City.

Many Americans suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other heart-related issues. As a result, some hospitals in Mexico cater to this market. They provide lower cost health care while being able to help a high number of patients.

Weight Loss Procedures

Common procedures like gastric bypasses and others which are quite costly in the US hospitals are performed for a fraction of the cost in Mexico. The most popular areas for this procedure are Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City.

Cosmetic Procedures

Mexican hospitals offer a wide variety of cosmetic procedures. Examples include breast augmentation, face lift, neck lift, rhinoplasty, Brazilian buttock, tummy tuck, brow lift, liposuction, and blepharoplasty. All of these cosmetic procedures are cheaper in Mexico than in the United States. Average savings on cosmetic surgery in Mexico range from 50%-70% in comparison to American costs.

You can receive a brow lift in Mexico for $2,850, which is a 70% decrease from its cost in America. Tummy tucks and breast augmentations are around 50% cheaper in Mexico. Cities in Mexico that have good clinics for cosmetic procedures include Ensenada, Tulum, Tijuana, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Guadalajara. Other hot spots for cosmetic procedures include Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Guadalajara, Mexico City and Baja California.

Dental Procedures

Common dental procedures range from $50-$3,600 in Mexico. Cities where you can receive inexpensive dental treatments are Tijuana, Cozumel, Cancun, Monterrey,  Mexicali, Nuevo Laredo, and Ciudad Juarez. Other options include Ensenada, Baja California, and Los Cabos. Implants for six teeth cost around $3,600 in Mexico, compared to $18,500 in a U.S. clinic. Bleaching discolored teeth only costs $50 in Mexico, whereas it’s $250 in the United States. A Mexican dentist can give you total dentures for $1,600. This dental procedure costs around $4,800 in the U.S..

Orthopedic Procedures

Orthopedic procedures are expensive in the United States, costing $24,000-$28,000. Knee procedures, shoulder replacement, hip replacement, and Birmingham resurfacing are less expensive in Mexico. Average savings on orthopedic procedures in Mexico are 60%-75%. American hospitals charge around $28,000 for hip replacement, but you can receive the procedure for $12,400 in Mexico.

You’ll find medical centers that specialize in orthopedic procedures in Tijuana, Ensenada, Cancun, Los Cabos, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexicali. Other Mexican hospitals for orthopedic procedures are in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.

Medical Tourism Statistics and Data for Mexico

Demand from Medical Tourists Is Increasing

The medical tourism Mexico industry has seen tremendous growth in private hospitals. The Medical Tourism Corporation stated that private hospitals in Mexico have a double digit growth rate. There is a mixture of large high quality hospitals and small clinics and surgery centers being constructed.

Several factors are contributing to the double digit growth rate of private hospitals. One of those reasons is an increase in demand from medical tourists. The number of Mexican middle class citizens who want private health care is increasing too. More Mexicans in general are signing up for health insurance.

Some Mexican Doctors Have More Experience than U.S. Doctors

Doctors in Mexico often have more experience than U.S. doctors. This is another reason why medical tourists choose Mexico for their medical treatments. Mexican doctors sometimes have more experience than American doctors because the FDA is slow to approve procedures. Most private hospitals in Mexico also provide the same care and quality as those in the United States. You may even find it better than the care in America because wait times are virtually non-existent in Mexico.

Almost 1 Million California Residents Travel to Mexico for Medical Procedures Each year

Because the United States and Canada are closer to Mexico than other countries, many residents travel to Mexico for treatments. They save money on traveling and the medical procedures by going to Mexico. A UCLA study in 2009 found that nearly one million California residents travel to Mexico each year for medical care. Near the U.S.-Mexico border, many Americans receive dental implants and weight loss surgery. They can easily drive across the border, receive treatment, and sometimes return to the U.S. in the same day.

Medical Tourism Packages for the Beach Help Patients De-stress

The medical tourism Mexico industry has medical packages that medical tourists can book to receive accommodation close to beautiful beaches. This is a great option for those who have been under too much stress in their lives. Receiving medical treatment in Mexico can double as a mini-vacation when you choose one of the medical packages. Stress has a negative impact on one’s health, especially stress that has gone on for a long period. It’s nice to let yourself relax at the beach in Mexico before or after your treatment.

Prescription Medications Are Often Cheaper in Mexico

Many prescription medications are cheaper in Mexico than in the U.S. as well. You can buy any prescription medication you may need for aftercare in Mexico to save money. American and Canadian patients have saved nearly 50% on prescription medication from buying it in Mexico.

Mexico Predicts the Medical Tourism Mexico Industry to Increase

The Mexican government expects the medical tourism Mexico industry to continue growing over the next few years. They predict 650,000 medical tourists will travel to Mexico by 2020. The U.S. government hasn’t recorded statistics related to the medical tourism Mexico industry at the time of this writing.

Mexico Uses Advanced Techniques and Equipment

Some Mexican hospitals use advanced techniques and equipment that’s not being used in the United States. This is one of the reasons the medical tourism Mexico industry is booming. Patients who want to undergo a procedure that’s not yet available in their country can sometimes find it in Mexico. Medical professionals in Mexico were performing weight loss surgery before it was legalized in the United States. Some Mexican doctors even trained American doctors how to do weight loss surgery when it was legalized in 2001.

How to Choose a Safe Option for Surgery in Mexico

Where the Best Hospitals and Clinics Are in Mexico

Some of the best hospitals and clinics in Mexico are located in Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. You can find private clinics that cater to Americans in Tijuana, Laredo, and Mexicali. These three cities are close to the U.S.-Mexico border. Some hospitals in Mexico have hired English speaking doctors and medical staff to help English speakers feel more at ease.

Hospital CIMA Hermosillo is one of the best hospitals in the medical tourism Mexico industry. It is accredited by the JCI and equipped with cutting edge technology. Other top hospitals in Mexico include Hospital San Jose in Monterrey, Hospital CIMA Monterrey, Hospital Angeles in Tijuana, and Mexicali Bariatric Center.

Sign Up for a Special Insurance Package in the U.S.

Be aware medical liability is not as strictly enforced in Mexico as it is in the United States. This is one of the risks you take when you go to Mexico for medical procedures. Intermediaries in the medical tourism Mexico industry can’t be held liable either because they aren’t health care providers. They are agents and promoters. Malpractice is a legal term used for health care providers.

Compensation for malpractice isn’t as generous in Mexico either. However, you can mitigate the risk of malpractice by signing up for a special insurance package in the U.S.. Search for American insurance companies that provide insurance packages for those who plan on going to Mexico for medical treatment.

Check for International Accreditation

Look for an internationally accredited hospital. Choosing an internationally accredited hospital in Mexico will give you peace of mind that the doctors know what they’re doing. Even at an internationally accredited Mexican hospital, medical treatment costs around 60% less than it does in the United States.

Notable accreditations are JCI, QHA Trent, the Canadian Council on Health Services, and the Australian Council for Healthcare Standards International. JCI is one of the most highly sought accreditations in the world. It is assigned by the Joint Commission International. Joint Commission International is an arm of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

U.S. Owned and U.S. Board Certified Hospitals Are Usually Safe Choices

Consider a hospital that has a U.S. owner. You may feel more trusting of the doctors knowing the institution is American-owned. Remember that this doesn’t mean Mexican-owned hospitals aren’t safe. Many are safe but if you’re still feeling anxious despite the statistics, it’s best to choose a U.S.-owned hospital.

Some Mexican hospitals are board certified in the United States in addition to Mexico. These are good options, especially for those who are concerned about the quality of health care in a foreign country.

Research Well Whether in the U.S. or Mexico

When you hear positive stories about patients who received medical procedures in Mexico, you may feel more at ease. But remember that all countries have their share of incompetent doctors and scammers just as the United States. Always check a doctor’s credentials and do thorough research to find the best hospital and doctor for you. Even if you were receiving medical care in the U.S., you should do your research.

Additional Reasons to Receive Medical Treatments in Mexico

Cheaper medical procedures isn’t the only reason why the medical tourism Mexico industry is growing. Many patients have a positive experience with Mexican doctors. Henry Parecki, for example, needed hip surgery and didn’t have have insurance, so he traveled to Mexico from Arizona. Nine weeks after his hip surgery, Parecki was able to start using a cane instead of a walker. The typical recovery period for hip surgery is 6-12 months.

The total cost of his surgery in Mexico, including travel, anesthesiology, stress test, and hospital stay was $13,700. In America, he was told that the surgery alone would cost $50,000. On top of significant savings by going to Mexico, Parecki was impressed with the quality of care. When his surgeons found out he was 52, they reordered the synthetic hip to receive one that would last longer. The average hip replacement has a 10-15 year lifespan because most patients of hip replacement surgery are elderly. Parecki’s surgeons therefore reordered one that was built to last 20-25 years.

Going above and beyond expectations of care, his surgeon also invited him out for dinner the night before his surgery. He felt like a real patient to them instead of another number. In Parecki’s words:

Everyone was very friendly, very personable. I felt like I was being treated as a patient and not a number.

Summing Up

The medical tourism Mexico industry has been growing over the past few years and will continue along the upward trend. Several reasons why medical tourists choose Mexico for medical procedures are lower costs, skilled doctors, and extra care. Many patients were pleased with the overall experience because the doctors showed they really care. However, to find these excellent doctors, you must do your research. Good hospitals to consider are those which are accredited. Also check a doctor’s credentials before committing to the medical procedure.

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