Mexico: A Look at the Costs of Medical and Dental Treatment

I frequently receive messages from readers of the blog asking me how much it costs to receive medical or dental treatment in Mexico without insurance. This is a very difficult question to answer because — just like in the U.S. — prices can vary quite a bit depending on the doctor, the type of procedure, and the region of the country. After some careful thought, I decided to take a stab at providing an answer anyway.

Since it would be difficult to gather price data nationwide, I elected to focus the study on the area between Puerto Morelos and Tulum. I chose this part of Mexico for three reasons: 1) it is a popular destination for expats to settle; 2) that area tends to be more expensive than many other parts of the country; and 3) I live there. The last reason was really the one that pushed it over the top.

My wife and I decided that this blog article was a great excuse to get more familiar with the health care services in our area. We visited numerous hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, dental offices and laboratories from Tulum to Puerto Morelos. We spoke to about a dozen health care professionals about the estimated costs of services and then used that data to compile a list of prices.

Although the list does not contain every possible procedure or specialty, it should give you a general idea of the costs associated with getting medical or dental care south of the border.

The prices are given both in Mexican pesos (MXN) and U.S. dollars (USD). The exchange rate used is 18.5 MXN to 1 USD.

Dental

Consultation: $200 – $500 MXN [$10.81 – $27.02 USD]

Cleaning + checkup: $700 – $1700 MXN [$37.83 – $91.89 USD]

Fill a cavity: $500 – $800 MXN [$27.02 – $43.02 USD]

Crown: $2500 – $7000 MXN [$135 – $378 USD]

Crown with an implant: $9000 – $1100 MXN [$486 – $594 USD]

Dermatologist

Consultation: $600 – $750 MXN [$32.43 – $40.54 USD] 

Surgery to remove a blemish or mole: $2000 – $2500 MXN [$108 – $135 USD]

Surgery to remove skin cancer (less than 1 cm): $7000 – $8000 MXN [$378 – $432 USD]

Surgery to remove skin cancer (more than 1 cm): $9000 – $10500 MXN [$486 – $567 USD]

Botox: $80 MXN per unit [$4.32 USD]

Radio frequency facial: $700 – $800 MXN a session [$37.83 – $43.24 USD]

General practitioners

Consultation: $150-$300 MXN [$8.10 – $16.21 USD] *

* There may be additional costs for certain procedures, medications and/or testing

Gynecologist

Consultation: $600 – $800 MXN [$32.43 – $43.24 USD]

Pap Smear $350 – $500 MXN [$18.91 – $27.02 USD]

Lab work

In Mexico, you can go to a lab without a doctor’s referral and receive a wide range of services. The following are only a few of the services they provide:

Pregnancy test: $185 – $265 MXN [$10 – $14.32 USD]

Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA: $375 – $535 MXN [$20.27 – $28.92 USD]

Glucose: $85 – $120 MXN [$4.59 – $6.49 USD]

Uric Acid: $85 – $120 MXN [$4.59 – $6.49 USD]

Cholesterol: $115 – $165 MXN [$6.22 – $8.92 USD]

Drug Testing: $290 – $535 MXN [$15.68 – $28.92 USD]

Standard blood test for multiple categories: $970 – $1510 MXN [$52.43 – $81.62 USD]

Other Specialists

Cardiologist, pediatrician, orthopedist etc.

Consultation: $600 – $800 MXN [$32.43 – $43.24 USD]*

* There may be additional costs for certain procedures, medications and/or testing

Pharmacies (Doctor on site)

Many pharmacies in Mexico have a consultorio with a medical doctor that handles minor injuries and illnesses. This is a fast, economical option if you are feeling a little under the weather while on vacation.

Consultation: $25-$50 MXN [$1.35 – $2.70 USD] *

* There may be additional costs for certain procedures, medications and/or testing

X-Rays, ultrasounds, and MRI’s

The price ranges are a little wider here because it depends on the complexity and type of the particular scan. For example, an ultrasound of your liver is $450 pesos but a ultrasound of the fetus in the womb is $940 pesos.

Ultrasounds : $360 – $940 MXN [$19.45 – $50.81 USD]

X-Rays: $300 – $500 MXN [$16.21 – $27.02 USD]

MRI: $6000 – $8000 MXN [$324.32 – $432.43 USD]*

* To get an MRI, you would have to travel to Cancun


Additional Savings

Many locations advised us that they offered a locals discount if we could prove that we lived in the area. The average discount percentage quoted was 20%.

If you are not in a hurry, you can save money by looking for promotions, coupons, and/or discounts for multiple procedures.

One unexpected discount we discovered was related to the time of day that the service is provided. Centro Químico, a lab in Playa del Carmen, offers lower prices for almost every procedure if you come in before 3 PM.

Medications

The Mexican government publishes the recent prices of several consumer goods, including medications, on a site operated by Profeco. The site does not cover every area of Mexico; however, larger cities like Cancun have a lot of information.

For more information about the government site to check prices, click HERE.

Let’s wrap this up

Medical care is significantly less expensive here in Mexico than it is in the United States. This is one of the key factors that helped us decide to move to Akumal. Even though some of these amounts exceed our old insurance “copay” in the United States, we still come out way ahead because we are not paying the high monthly premiums anymore.

I am also very impressed by the quality of medical care here. To read more about our experiences with that, check out What Impressed Me About Doctors in Mexico.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years and retired at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He moved to Mexico with his wife six days later to enjoy a laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle on a tight budget. In 2016, Paul started a blog to share information with other people who may be thinking of making the move to Mexico. The blog, Two Expats Living in Mexico (qroo.us), has been viewed over a million times and Paul's articles appear in periodicals across Mexico.

27 Comments on "Mexico: A Look at the Costs of Medical and Dental Treatment"

  1. Mary Gwen Dungan | July 8, 2016 at 6:35 am | Reply

    I notice a lot of people self insure because ordinary charges for someone who is healthy are lower than monthly premiums.

    There’s a big risk, though, if you come down with a serious illness or are involved in an accident.

    Do you have any insight into that? I suppose it comes down to risk tolerance.

    • It is advisable to have an insurance plan that covers major medical expenses here. These are not expensive; however, there are age limitations. I am working on a blog article that discusses those options.

      • Kristine Gasporra | July 29, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Reply

        Thank You Qroo Paul in responding to this particular Blog about “major medical” I recently had a major leg break accident while vacationing in San Felipe Mexico, and now my husband does NOT want to move to Mexico due to medical care costs for something like this. Looking forward to your Blog.

        • There are two options that most expats take: 1) major medical, or 2) air ambulance insurance if you you have medicaid or decent insurance in the U.S.

  2. Thanks for the information, Qroo Paul!

  3. This doesn’t mean that it is the same level of service from north of the border. Many practioners do not stay current. I would NEVER go to a doctor or dentist without the recommendation of someone I know very well and trust without reservation.

  4. I sold major medical insurance for Grupo Inbursa in Mexico. I think you’ll find that most of the insurance available has a limit at 65 yrs old. It was good inexpensive insurance though if you are younger. Hospitals in your area may sell their own coverage but you’d have to go there in an emergency. I’ve always figured that you can’t be 100% covered in Mexico for everything that may come up but do you really want to live your life according to healthcare availability? Take reasonable care for sure but for everything else, there are no guarantees.

    • Thanks for the information. I have noticed the insurance age limits when I was researching that for a future blog article.

  5. Have you had any experience with inpatient hospital stays? I have heard about widely varying costs and it seems to be based on whether the expat was self-pay (no insurance) or had U.S. insurance – for similar treatments the insured price was nearly four times that of the self-pay. Just wondering if the need arises, if it would be more cost effective to go in as self-pay and deal with insurance separately vs. presenting US insurance up front.

    • We don’t personally have any experience with that. A few of the expats that we know in this area that were admitted paid relatively little considering the level of care. We are in Quintana Roo.

  6. I recently had to have surgery in Mazatlan and have to say treatment was excellent plus price was about 1/4 the price in the US. While I did have extra insurance I did not admit to having any. This was a big bonus as I was charged in pesos not US dollars. The difference was incredable!! The surgery, overnight stay, 2 specialist/anesthesia etc came to approx $25,000 peso

  7. I read that eye glasses are cheaper in Mexico, but didn’t have much luck in Playa Del Carmen. The selection was very limited, and prices relatively high. It could be because I looked in the main shopping area. Do you have experience with that?

  8. Jeffrey Potts | October 8, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Reply

    How does healthcare work for permanent residents…the same?

    • Yes, it’s the same. Of course you can always add a supplemental insurance plan or even choose to participate in the government health care system. That last option is inexpensive but most locals have told me to avoid that one.

  9. Suzanne Warner | December 6, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Reply

    Look forward to hearing what you can learn about people over 65. We would like to retire there, but would be concerned about elder health care.

    • I have something in the works right now. It is a complex topic so I am meeting with a professional to go over the details before releasing it.

  10. Anne Walmsley | January 6, 2017 at 9:21 am | Reply

    So happy to have discovered your blog this morning. Well researched and interesting!

  11. This is so helpful. Thank you. I was surprised as an athlete vegan to have my taken down by a massive heart attack at 57. Now disabled, but dammit still young, I need to find a place that I will enjoy for the next 10 years or until the medical community finds a miracle cure for heart failure. If i’m on disability in the US, are there conflicts in Mexico?

  12. Murray Leier | May 10, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Reply

    My wife and I are 66 + 65. Are you still capable of getting gov’t health care (Mexican). Also, what kind of visa would be required? I don’t think you can with just the 180 day one. You also mentioned the local said to stay away from the gov/t health care system—do you know why?
    Thanks, Murray

    • Hi Murray, this article should answer most of your questions. As far as why people say to avoid the public system is because of the long waits and limited resources. The private system is generally affordable and offers superior healthcare. https://www.mexperience.com/lifestyle/healthcare/healthcare-services/

    • From what I am gathering every state may have different rules and they change often. To get Seguro Popular insurance (the country’s insurance for everyone) you will either need a temporal or Pemanente Visa. I have talked to an attorney who stated that in one Mexican state the requirement was permanente and you couldnt get temporal and then they changed it. a 180 day visa does not qualify, that is for sure, One thing I have learned is that nothing stays the same in state agencies.

Leave a Reply