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.
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.?
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.
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.