Mexican hospitals prepare for influx of American medical tourists

Medical tourism

Cd. Juarez, MEXICO - From family care to elective surgery, Americans from the border and across the country are turning to Mexico for medical treatment.

“Right now 50 percent. Mexicans and other countries are 50 percent, and the other one is from the US and Canada, another 50 percent,” said Dr. Jose Rodriguez, a bariatric surgeon.

Patients say the quality of care is simply better and one of the biggest factors in driving them to Mexico

“One of the best differences is being able to speak longer with the doctor, getting more personal care and not only a few minutes,” said Amalia Alvarez, who lives in New Mexico and says she only sees Mexican doctors.

The number of Americans coming to Mexico for medical care is only expected to grow. With some not being able to afford Obamacare and others that may be left uninsured after an overhaul Mexican hospitals are doing sophisticated marketing, forming clusters and partnering with hotels.

“By integrating hospital and hotel services they’re hoping to cater to patients and the family members who come with them,” said Cynthia Almanza from the Juarez Medical Cluster.

The exchange rate between the dollar and peso make Mexico the cheapest and best choice for many.

“I have insurance back home it’s still cheaper for me to come to the doctor in Mexico,” Alvarez said.

It goes beyond the suffering peso, even when treatments are priced in dollars it’s still cheaper for insured and uninsured patients.

“It can be 2 to 1, 50 percent of the price or less, depending on the procedure you’re going to do,” Rodriguez said.

Mexican hospitals are reaching out to American insurance companies, asking them to let their patients be covered in Mexico, taking advantage of cheaper hospitals and hoping to show the high quality of  care that would warrant their customers being insured south of the border.

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