Mexico: Home of Affordable Private Healthcare

Source: Q-Roo Paul

The high cost of healthcare in the United States was one of the main factors that influenced our decision to move to Mexico in 2015. At that time, all we knew about healthcare in Mexico was that it would be much cheaper — and that was good enough for us.

Pleasantly Surprised

Our first experience with the healthcare system was when Linda went to a dermatologist in Playa del Carmen for a skin check. We were immediately impressed with the quality of the care.

The doctor began by conducting a very thorough interview with Linda to determine her past skin issues and pertinent family history. He then performed a very detailed examination of every mole, blemish, and dry area on her skin.

If there was a mole that he deemed “suspicious”, he scanned it into the computer using a digital dermatoscope. He studied a magnified version of the mole before adding it to the digital patient’s file. He said that allows him to track any change in the size and/or shape of the mole during future visits. A nurse then took Linda into another room and took pictures of her face using ultraviolet imaging technology to detect sun damage.

The price for all this, without insurance, was about the same as our copay would have been in the U.S. ($40 USD).

At the time, we both thought that this doctor was an anomaly and that there was no way that this experience was representative of the standard care we could expect to receive in Mexico — but we were wrong.

Since then, we have visited other doctors and specialists ranging from cardiologists to gynecologists. In every case, the doctors were extremely attentive, friendly and knowledgeable. They all spent a great deal of time with us and seemed genuinely concerned for our well-being. We left each appointment very satisfied with the quality of care that we received.

The most surprising part was that every doctor gave us their personal cell phone number and encouraged us to contact them via Whatsapp if we had any questions or issues. How often does that happen in the U.S.?

Affordability

Private Healthcare in Mexico is very affordable, even without health insurance. To get a general idea of the costs, check out Mexico: A Look at the Costs of Medical and Dental Treatment.

It is still recommended to have some type of health insurance to cover major medical expenses or hospitalization. Private insurance policies are less expensive than in the States.  Another option is to join one of the public plans (IMSS or Seguro Popular), if you meet the requirements.

Medications

Another thing that can affect overall healthcare costs is the price of medications. Fortunately, generic medications are quite inexpensive and readily available in Mexico.

It’s important to note that all of the generic medications sold commercially in Mexico have undergone extensive testing to ensure that they are the bioequivalent of the name-brand versions.

Public vs Private Healthcare

Mexico has both public and private healthcare facilities. Although we could qualify for one of the public health programs (IMSS or Seguro Popular), we prefer to use the private hospitals, clinics and doctors. The private system offers more flexibility and shorter wait times.

I’ll dedicate a future post to providing more details about IMSS and Seguro Popular.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Access to affordable healthcare is only one of a long list of reasons why Mexico is the perfect retirement destination for us. The funny thing is that the more that we learn about our new home, the longer that list becomes.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) is a former lieutenant from the Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida. During his 25-year career, he received numerous commendations to include two of the agency's top honors: a Meritorious Service Medal and a Medal of Valor. In 2015, Paul retired and moved to Mexico with his wife. He now spends his days enjoying the Riviera Maya and blogging from the beach.

55 Comments on "Mexico: Home of Affordable Private Healthcare"

  1. Have you been to Hospiten yet in PDC? We hear it is really good and the Dr.s speak English there.

  2. coming to the area in early January…would love to meet up..check out my website and you’ll know more about me….if you are interest. Am sure you get asked this a lot

  3. I’d really appreciate a name of a private health insurance company, I need to look into this for next year when my foreign insurance runs out. Big thank you for such an informative blog.

  4. Terrence Walsh | August 17, 2017 at 10:52 am | Reply

    Would prefer you be specific on the cost…your copay in the US would have been what? Gives the readers a better and more true idea of the cost of the exam and treatment…

    • About $40 for a specialist. I’ll tweak the article.

      • Paul, I had a question here as well. Was the $40 the price with no insurance, or was that the co-pay with insurance?

        • With no insurance. We pay for all of our medical costs out of pocket here. We keep medical insurance for major medical costs, but — knock in wood — we’ve never needed to use that.

  5. I had a c section and 2 night private hospital stay in 2003 in Culiacan Sinaloa for a grand total of $1,500.00 USD. No insurance. In attendance were my ob, anesthesiologist, pediatrician and nurse. Excellent care..no regrets!!

  6. My husband and I will be 68 with preexisting health conditions totally controlled by meds – high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, mood medications. Is there any private insurance we can get? Lake Chapels area

  7. Yet another great info post Paul.
    You are a true Public Service.
    We are moving to the Baja in October and your site has answered our questions and removed our hesitations.

  8. Charles Benfante | August 17, 2017 at 11:27 am | Reply

    My doctor also gave me his cell number plus his home number in case of an after hours emergency – any time I had had to visit him I never had to do a go back.

  9. We will check with you when we come to C.C. to find out the various costs of Medical Insurance. Thanks for this information.

  10. Thank you so much for all do. It really helps keep us informed when planning on moving to MX.

  11. Hey Buddy, it’s John. So I have a really dumb question. I have read all your articles, gone through y’alls Facebook page and mostly everything I read has been a positive message or comment or article about moving to Mexico and your experience thus far. My question is why do you suppose so many Mexicans are going through Such Great Lengths to sneak into the United States, all the way up to putting their lives in danger, if its so great there. I mean from the sound of it it really is pretty cool and reading all your articles makes it sound awesome, so why leave. We do have so many problems here in the United States. No I don’t know much about Mexican government and economy but maybe I’m missing something.

    • It’s not good if you need to get a job. He already has money and doesn’t need a job in Mexico. You don’t move to Mexico if you need to make money. The pay is very low. But if you already have money from somewhere else you can live in Mexico very well.

  12. I wonder about Vet medications. My dog has Addisons dz and wonder about buying Percorten V in Mexico.
    Do you know anyone who might answer this question and maybe price…

    • I can’t give price on that specific medicine, but I can tell you that our vet is EXCELLENT, speaks English, and my elderly dachshund recently had teeth cleaned and 3 tumors removed. Total cost, including medications, was less than $150.

  13. Thanks so much for ALL of your wonderful information. This is one of my biggest concerns I have in planning my move to PDC in a year or two. Keep posting great info 🙂

  14. I have over 35 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry and I can tell you that there is a high level of medical care in Mexico. ABC hospital and Angeles in Mexico city are amongst the best ANYWHERE. The doctors are high level. I also experienced a traumatic experience with a friend in Merida some years ago and the care he received at Star Medica was unparalleled! As far a meds are concerned both the patent and generic here and in the states use ingredients from China and India, Although the FDA is doing intense testing of those ingredients. About six years or so ago the FDA ok’d the importation of Dr.Simi’s vitamins, I know they are being tested and monitored. Also I learned recently that APOTEX the Canadian generic house which is equivalent of MYLAN in the states has bought a Mexican generic house and is manufacturing generics here.

    • That’s a big one to answer in a small comment section. It’s difficult to know what happened in those cases based only on a small article. I can tell you that around 10 million visitors come to this part of Mexico every year and stories like this are extremely rare.

      As far as counterfeit alcohol is concerned, that’s a problem through much of the world. In one Interpol operation in 2016, over 260,000 gallons of it were seized in 57 countries.

      The good news is that the attention from the article has prompted the government to conduct more alcohol inspections in tourist areas — that will make everyone safer.

      I’ve been to two all-inclusives in the last month and I’m headed to another one Tuesday. I guess I’m still a risk-taker. 🙂

      • I appreciate your response on this. I think the two things that real took me off guard was the high health related bills, contradicting what your article stated, but I’m not disputing what you say either. I personally have had friends that had a nightmare experience with emergency care in Mexico similar to what happened in this article (but not because of bad booze, just too much booze which led to some major problems).

        The other thing that took me by surprise is the poor response by the local police departments. That is a legitimate fear if the police don’t care about a terrible situation – not very comforting.

        Thanks again and I appreciate your blog.

        • Sorry to hear about the bad experiences. If you read through the comments, you’ll see that the vast majority are very positive regarding the quality of care that people received in Mexico and the price. That being said, we don’t live in a vacuum and sometimes individuals take advantage of others in certain situations.

          Regarding the police, we have had very positive interactions but we know people that have not.

      • Ditto here. We’ve been to a bunch of AI’s in the area and in the DR and never had an issue.Be respectful, tip some, and try to speak some Spanish if not your native language. Bottom line is, if you act like an asshole, expect to be treated as one.

  15. this i was told and dont know if its true, that doctors in mexico do not have the quality of training as those in the usa. that their education and testing are not as stringent. that for SERIOUS medical procedures to return to the states. just asking if its true

  16. We are comparing WEA against policies from Seguros BX+ and GNP, all excellent policies depending on your situation!

  17. Wow, amazing care, thanks for the info. When I went to the doctor for a suspicious mole he just looked at it and said well it seems ok but if it bothers you, you can come into one of our clinics next month and have it removed. Didn’t check anything else and certainly didn’t get out any equipment. Maybe I will have to go to this doctor when we come for our vacation.

  18. Thanks for this! We are on our way to living half the year in Playa! Just sold our home and lots of stuff. Medical insurance is one of our main concerns. We have also found the doctors and dentists to be fantastic in Playa.

  19. Dr. Kristian Eichelmann

    http://www.dermacaribe.com/

  20. Laura Wiig Hoffman | August 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Reply

    A great topic and article.

  21. No matter how many people I tell about the quality and reasonable price of medical care in Mexico (and previously in Ecuador), estadosunidenses are sure that there must be some kind of catch. No, there isn’t.

  22. Barbara Baldwin | August 17, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Reply

    I spent 8 days in the hospital related to a severe flare up of Ulcerative Colitis. The cost for everything was about $2000 US and the doctor and the care received was fantastic. The follow-up colonoscopy was also inexpensive and as good as any I have had in the US (and I have had over 15 in the 30 plus years of this condition). I am not in Merida or in one of the tourist areas. The care given was in Chetumal where Spanish is primarily spoken. I also saw a dermatologist in Chetumal who is terrific–not an extensive mapping that you (Paul) outline but good. I feel fortunate to be able to afford my ongoing meds needs for ulcerative colitis and they are all over the counter.

  23. Nice. We have had a few hospital visits and been very happy with our care and cost. We now have a family doctor we really like that is taking good care of us. And no, we don’t have Mexico health insurance, at least not yet 🙂

  24. thanks so much for all your important u share with us, i have learned so much, i have been in philippines for 10 years but thinking of moving to mexico, i am from south carolina retired, thanks again for all u do for everyone on tour post or blog

  25. Always enjoy your articles and the good information you provide. Does this great quality extend to eye care and glasses?

  26. I am moving to Tulum in 2018, and would very much appreciate some names of doctors and hospitals. Several of you mentioned the good care you received. Is it possible to give names and locations (especially in the Tulum or Playa areas). Thank you kindly.

  27. Thanks so much for this excellent article Paul. You really do a wonderful job of supplying us with such excellent information.

  28. What type of visa do have?

  29. Melissa Bahre | August 21, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Reply

    I’ve been searching for a site or blog that has compiled a list of general MD’s & specialists in Playa, PM or Cancun? Do you know of such a resource? It would be a great help given we are relocating & see specialists here that we need to continue to see.

    • I don’t know of a web site that has all the names; however, once you’re here, they have printed directory with names. I’ve seen it in doctors offices and clinics.

  30. Melissa Bahre | August 23, 2017 at 1:31 am | Reply

    Is there a recommended PCP in or close to PM? From there I guess I’ll seek the referrals from that MD. Many thanks.

  31. Paul
    Thanks again for your great insight and information.
    My wife also requires routine skin/mole check ups, would you please be able to provide us with the name and location of the dermatologist Linda visited?

    Thanks in advance
    John

  32. Hi Paul, full time resident here and wonder if WEA can actually be used for physicians and prescriptions as noted in their website insurance quote page i.e. Have you used WEA to get prescptions at Bazar, Ahorro, etc and for any specialized doc. visits? I agree that OAP costs here are low but smart to have insurance for ER; however for specialists at hospiten it is $57 with the resident discount and their prices seem to be getting higher. Love to hear your thoughts. We love the site! Happy blogging.

  33. To Ann, there is an option which includes eye care/glasses on the WEA website. I’m not knowelgeable on the subject or which/any vendors here in Playa del carmen that accept this insurance however.

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