As the health care reform debate rages in the Senate to the north,many U.S. baby-boomers south of the border have already found their solution for quality, affordable medical treatment.
A recent article from Time magazine pointed to the trend of
Americans moving to Mexico,not just to relax in the sun,but also to take
advantage of Mexico health
Paul Crist,an expat resort owner in Puerto Vallarta,told
the news magazine that covering medical treatment in Mexico could save Medicare
almost a quarter of the average cost for most procedures. "My research,as well
as the research of others,shows that health care in Mexico costs less than a
third of that in the U.S.",he said.
It's a great solution,but,despite
the benefits,Medicare does not currently cover treatment in Mexico. Crist told
Time this means many Medicare-eligible
expats living in Mexico are forced to
travel back to the U.S. for medical treatment,even though they have paid into
the system during their working lives.
Time quoted examples of Mexico health care
costs compared with those in the U.S. from various studies and reliable sources:
a doctor's office visit or house call costs only $25 to $40 in Mexico; a hip
replacement costs $12,000 with Mexico health care compared with $43,000 and
$63,000 in the U.S.; and a coronary bypass in Mexico costs an average of $21,000
compared to $149,000 in the U.S. - savings and quality treatment that could be
enough to make anyone feel fit again.
As the health debate continues,
expect to hear more about the benefits of allowing Medicare to cover Mexico
health care. Although there may be opposition from some U.S. health care
industry groups,expats south of the border support the idea (about 200,000 of
the 1 million U.S. citizens living in Mexico are thought to be
Medicare-eligible) as well as others who see the common sense savings that can
be made by using Mexico health care where convenient.
As Crist told Time,"The opportunity to provide services to
Americans at much lower cost outside the U.S. border is enormous. This is
pushing even private insurers to explore coverage options outside of the U.S.,
and Medicare will certainly be a part of this globalization,sooner or
In the meantime,expect the tide of Americans moving south of the
border to continue. Whether vacation home owners or retirees,whether Medicare
users or not,one of the top reasons for people to move south will continue to
be the economical benefit of high quality Mexico health care.