Readers of our blog often ask us to write more articles about the healthcare system in Mexico, and although I didn’t originally have any plans of doing that this week, a slippery bathtub at a local resort changed all that.
Linda and I were staying at a local all-inclusive resort. As many of you already know, I tend to wake up hours before Linda does and this day was no exception. I was wide awake by 5:30 AM.
I decided to take a shower and then head down to enjoy some coffee and take a few pics of the sunrise. Unfortunately, I never made it past the shower phase because I slipped and fell. My head hit the edge of the tub, leaving me with a one-inch laceration above my right eye.
I knew I needed stitches, so I woke Linda up and our unexpected medical adventure began.
For those of you who don’t much about the healthcare options in Mexico, there are basically two systems: public and private.
For the last four years, Linda and I have used the private system because the facilities are normally much nicer and better equipped; there are shorter wait times; and the patient care is typically exceptional.
The best part is that the price tag for that level of care and service is much lower than it would be in the United States — at least for scheduled treatments and procedures. When it comes to emergencies, those prices can increase dramatically.
It’s not uncommon to see news stories about private hospitals and clinics charging exorbitant fees for emergency care, especially in tourist areas. An emergency room visit could easily end up costing you a couple of thousand dollars.
That’s why you should always purchase travel insurance before coming down. In case you missed it, I said always.
Anyway, back to my story…
We went to Hospiten, a private hospital in Playa del Carmen located about 15 minutes north of the resort.
I had been there a few times before for routine check-ups and medical treatments. The care has always been exceptional and the prices very reasonable — but, this was my first time being there for an after-hours emergency.
The first thing we did when we walked up to the admissions desk is ask how much the visit would cost. I have insurance, but it has a $2,500 USD yearly deductible and I hadn’t spent anywhere near that amount.
The woman checking me in said she couldn’t quote us a price until the doctor examined me and determined the extent of my injuries.
She said that I was already listed in the computer as a local resident from my previous visits, and that meant I would receive a substantial discount.
We checked-in and we were seen by a doctor within 10 minutes. After he examined me, he said that I needed some stitches, but no additional scans or testing appeared to be necessary.
He then said, “I was told that you requested a quote for treatment. Please wait a moment and someone will be in with that.”
The doctor left the room and within five minutes, a different woman from the admissions desk came in. She quoted me a price in pesos that was the equivalent of about $162 USD. I was pretty pleased with that and agreed to the treatment.
A second doctor came to the room, cleaned my wound and stitched me up. He gave me a couple of prescriptions, which I filled at a local pharmacy for about $6.40 USD.
We were back at the resort within two hours from the time we left. Not bad.
Let’s Wrap This Up
This story is just another example of the financial advantages of being considered a local resident in this part of Mexico. As a tourist, you should expect to pay more if you have a slip-and-fall while on vacation.
That’s why it’s important to always purchase the travel insurance. Yep, that’s the third time I’ve said that now.
Well, that’s it for today. Hasta Luego.
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