The Mexican Health Care Solution?
Written by Matthew Dalstrom
Rising health care costs, decreasing insurance coverage, and the great recession have made it increasingly difficult to afford health care. Retirees are particularly vulnerable because many live on fixed incomes and require more medical services than younger adults. Furthermore, Medicare, the primary insurer for Americans 65 and over, does not cover all the necessary medical procedures or expenses, and supplemental insurance plans can cost in the thousands. The result is that many seniors have to forgo care, become medically noncompliant, and/or spend all their retirement savings. Nevertheless, over the past few years, I have been researching a small, but growing number of retirees who are filling the gaps in their health insurance coverage by traveling to Mexico.
Mexico, most famous for its breathtaking scenery, cultural charm, and more recently intense cartel violence has been slowly growing its private medical system to attract not only tourists, but also patients. Over the past 30 years, Mexican medical providers have steadily moved their offices to border towns creating mini-medical destinations for Americans. One of the most popular locations is Nuevo Progreso, located in northeast Mexico between the cities of Reynosa and Matamoros. A small town by all accounts, with a tourist district of five blocks, Nuevo Progreso has bars, restaurants, and stores selling cheap tourist items (like so many other towns). However, it also has over, 70 dental clinics, 60 pharmacies, and 10 doctors' offices that advertise cheaper prices, English-speaking employees, and high quality health care.