Readers of the blog often write me to ask questions about the healthcare system in Mexico in terms of quality and affordability. I usually respond by saying something like:
The private health care in Mexico is exceptional and there are no delays in receiving treatment. The best part is that it is affordable for most expats, even without insurance.
It’s important to note that Mexico has two healthcare systems, public and private. This article, as well as my statement above, deals with the latter. Don’t worry, I’ll be writing specifically about the public system in the future.
A Personal Account
One of my goals this year is to share some personal stories of expats who have received medical treatment in Mexico, including the cost of those treatments.
Today’s story is about Gary, a recent arrival from the United States who had foot surgery in Playa del Carmen without health insurance.
Gary had only been in Mexico for a couple of weeks when he heard a pop in his right foot and felt a sharp pain. After several days of pain, he went to Playa del Carmen to see an orthopedist.
By the way, it cost him $600 pesos ($31.57 USD*) to see the specialist.
Gary was diagnosed with a torn posterior tibial tendon, which required surgery to repair. He decided to get a second opinion from a doctor at another hospital and the diagnosis was the same. He scheduled surgery with the first orthopedist.
The surgery was scheduled to take place in a small private hospital in Playa del Carmen. An orthopedic surgeon from Mérida who specializes in this type of surgery, came down to assist Gary’s orthopedist.
Gary said that the hospital was very clean and that he was extremely impressed by the entire staff. He said that they were extremely attentive and caring. He added that he was able to communicate with them in English without any difficulty.
The surgery took about 2.5 hours and all went well. They kept him overnight in a private room complete with a bathroom and shower. This same surgery is generally outpatient in the U.S.
As I mentioned before, Gary didn’t have any health insurance, so he had to pay for everything out-of-pocket.
Preoperative Costs: $9,900 pesos ($521 USD*)
Included: MRI of the foot, EKG, chest x-ray, and blood work
Operation: $73,000 pesos ($3,842 USD*)
Included: Two orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologist and all ancillary staff. The price also included all follow-up visits related to the procedure.
Postoperative Costs: $23,200 pesos ($1,221 USD*)
Included: overnight stay in a private hospital room and all medications/supplies
Grand Total: $106,100 pesos ($5,584 USD*)
* Based on an exchange rate of 19:1
Let’s Wrap This Up
In case you were just skimming through this article and you missed it, Gary had an MRI of his foot prior to surgery. MRI’s are notoriously expensive in the United States — at least they were before I moved to Mexico.
To confirm that they still were, I checked the Mayo Clinic’s online “Cost Estimator” to determine the out-of-pocket price for an MRI of a foot at their hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.
I selected the cost based on “no insurance” and I received an estimated cost of $4,474 USD. Click HERE to see the estimate for yourself.
That amount seems high considering that Gary’s entire surgery only came to $5,584 USD. By the way, his MRI was done at a large hospital in Cancun and cost around $431 USD.
Note- The purpose of the article was to focus on the price and quality of healthcare in Mexico and not to recommend a particular hospital or doctor. For that reason, the names were omitted.