Medical Tourism in Mexico: A Great Idea
By Luis Dominguez
If you've been following all the healthcare debate in U.S., started by President Obama reform of the healthcare system, or if you watched Michael Moore's film "Sicko", you are familiar with the notion that millions of Americans have limited access, or none at all, to healthcare services.
On Moore's movie, he goes to Canada and Cuba in search for affordable healthcare and he's surprised by the quality and professionalism of medical services in both countries, without the high cost of procedures, common to the American public. What he did has a name, and actually is a burgeoning industry called Medical Tourism.
Medical Tourism, according with Wikipedia, is "a term coined... to describe the rapidly-growing practice of travelling across international borders to obtain healthcare." The Medical Tourism market is currently valued at $20 billion annually and expected to double by 2010. That's a huge market, and neighboring countries are competing to get a share of it.
Medical Tourism is by no way restricted to U.S. citizens, as it's a practice widely popular around the world. Nevertheless, there's no market with the possibilities of the American, and that's why the competence is fierce to attract the more than 200,000 Americans that traveled abroad for healthcare just in 2008, a number also expected to double by 2010.
The primary destinations for U.S. patients include India, Thailand, Mexico,Costa Rica and Singapore, and the most common procedures include dental work, heart surgery, orthopedics, cosmetic surgery, neurosurgery, fertility treatments, LASIK eye repairs, and cancer treatments.
The most common factor to travel for medical treatment is that the patient is either uninsured or underinsured, and there are 85 million Americans that fall into this category. And the savings of getting treatment abroad are in the range of 25% to 75%, which just make it a logical decision to visit some other country to get the medical services, they cannot afford back home.
So, why Mexico? Puerto Vallarta has just been host of the 2010 Global Medical Tourism Congress which was a platform to promote medical tourism and create national strategies to coordinate efforts to attract patients and offered them the best services.
Some of the reasons that make of Mexico an attractive medical tourism destination are the high quality, yet affordable, medical services at accredited hospitals by the Joint Commission International, which certifies the quality of services. High-tech equipment, cheap medications, and fully bilingual physicians are great arguments for those looking for the best option in medical tourism.
But those are just the medical reasons, there are some other advantages that put Mexico as the front-runner in the competition to providehealthcare services to Americans, and they are geographical vicinity to the U.S, which makes for easy air and land connectivity, favorable peso/dollar exchange rate, which brings down the overall cost even a bit lower, plus the "frivolous reasons" as excellent accommodations and beautiful beaches, which in a life or death situation might not be even considered, but for some dental treatment or a minor procedure, can be quite alluring.
So, now you know, if your healthcare situation in theUnited States is not as desirable as you would like, Mexico offers a great overall option for your medical treatment, at affordable prices and with certified quality that will make you wonder why it's so expensive to get the same treatments in the States, but by then you might be taking a sunbath at a beautiful beach with a Margarita on your hand.
Luis Dominguez is the editor of Enjoy Magazine - the best Puerto Vallarta vacation travel guide where you will find everything about this gem of the Mexican Pacific.Enjoy Tours - Puerto Vallarta Tours and Activities provides a full array of leisure options, from adrenaline high activities to eco-tours like whale watching and swimming with dolphins.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.