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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why Americans Are Traveling To Mexico For Medical Care by Paulo Yberri

Everyone in America is talking about healthcare reform, skyrocketing medical costs, and the increasing inability of average Americans to afford even the most fundamental medical and dental care due to unreasonably high costs. The news is full of statistics: 45 million people are without health insurance, and that figure is increasing every month as unemployment soars. Another 45 million are 'under insured' -that is, with out-of-pocket costs and deductibles so high that they are unable to afford doctor and hospital fees when the need arises. More than 110 million are currently without dental insurance and unable to get the care they need. Yet even the uninsured have another option. In response to rising healthcare costs at home, more U.S. citizens have gone abroad to take advantage of the excellent doctors and dentists available through medical tourism to Mexico.

Convenient, significantly less expensive, and featuring the same or a better quality of care, sophistication of treatment, and breadth of medical services as the U.S., Mexico's state-of-the-art private hospitals make medical tourism to Mexico an ideal solution for anyone struggling with the high cost of medical expenses in America. Medical travel connects patients with new, modern facilities located in upscale residential and international business districts. There are a number of prominent Mexican hospitals in cities such as Tijuana, Monterrey, Juarez, Mexicali, Guadalajara, and Mexico City regularly working with medical travelers from all parts of the globe to treat all types of medical issues. For example, Mexico hospitals host American and Canadian patients for orthopedic, spinal, cardiology, cosmetic, and weight loss surgery and dental procedures on a daily basis.

Cost Is The Major Issue

Medical travel to Mexico is more popular than ever before, but traveling to Mexico for treatment is not a new idea. Residents of the southern states have long taken advantage of the inexpensive health care across the border, with many taking advantage of medical travel on a monthly basis. Currently, nearly one million Californians make regular use of the Mexican health care system, crossing the border for check-ups, prescriptions, family dentistry, and surgeries of all types. Some 1.5 million Americans have taken the further step of retiring to Mexico, taking advantage of the lower cost of living, temperate climate, and access to affordable health care. For as little as $250 a year, Americans who move to Mexico are able to receive medical care with no deductibles, low cost x-rays, eyeglasses, dental work, and free prescription medicines.

In its report, "Medical Tourism: Consumers In Search of Value," the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions estimates about 5 million Americans traveled abroad for medical care in 2009. Researchers expect this number to grow substantially, rising to over 20 million within ten years. Medical tourism destinations vary, but for Americans Mexico is the ideal solution. In Mexico, Americans can get the same quality and standards of care for less than half the cost of the same procedure stateside - often working with surgeons who have train and practice in the US, and work closely with American medical device manufacturers. For some procedures, the difference in cost is even greater, costing only a third of the American price in Mexico. The tens of thousands of patients who come to Mexico each year know how significant those savings are, even after factoring in travel costs.

Lack Of Insurance Increases The Demand For Low-Cost Healthcare

Sadly, many Americans do not have adequate health insurance to cover the high costs of necessary medical care. With record job losses and a continuing economic recession, Americans continue to lose employer-sponsored medical insurance at an unprecedented rate, forcing them into expensive COBRA payments of up to $12,000 per year, and declaring medical bankruptcies at a rate of 2 million per year. Frustrated with the broken American health care system, more Americans than ever before are discovering that they can receive the same high quality medical care and identical prescription drugs at a much lower cost in Mexico than they can get domestically. According to research by the U.S. Medical Tourism Association, the vast majority of U.S. patients who have taken advantage of medical travel to Mexico rate their experience as equivalent and even superior to U.S. hospitals and doctors.

Savvy employers in Texas, California, and South Carolina are joining this trend, taking the step of investing in Mexican health care programs for their employees frequently at one-fifth the cost of American health coverage. These plans are significantly less expensive for employers as compared to traditional American medical insurance programs. Employees also save on deductibles and out-of-pocket costs as well as on prescription medication costs. The fact that most hospital medical travel packages include such extras as travel coordination services, lab work, and hotel stay makes medical tourism to Mexico, even more appealing.

Convenience And Travel Options

Residents of Arizona, California, and Texas have long crossed the border to major Mexico cities such as Tijuana, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Juarez for sophisticated medical care in state-of-the-art hospitals, most less than five years old. Nearly half of all American citizens live within driving distance of the major Mexico hospitals regularly serving medical travelers. For everyone else, there are frequent and inexpensive flights to the major destinations for medical tourism in Mexico, making it easy to get quality, affordable health care just a short car ride or flight away.

Without doubt, medical tourism to Mexico has done more than any other industry to put high quality medical care within financial reach for all American citizens. Mexico hospitals are responding by teaming with experienced medical tourism facilitators, hotels, resorts, and airlines to create discounted travel and lodging options for Americans coming to Mexico for their medical care. These complete packages ensure that American patients get access to the best possible medical teams, but are also able to enjoy a stress-free recovery period. A good medical tourism facilitator will handle everything, allowing the patient to focus on the most important part of treatment: your recovery. With a comprehensive company and the right hospital, medical tourism to Mexico, is a great choice for any American.

About the Author

Paulo Yberri writes for Angeles Health International, a medical travel agency specializing in medical tourism, Mexico. AHI is your passport to best in class Mexico hospitals.

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