Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico

Friday, June 13, 2014

Why Is Health Care Less Expensive in Mexico?

The main drive for Americans who get their health care in Mexico is the lower price, right?

As usual, social phenomena is more complex that it seems. Yes, the prices are lower, but the quality isn't. Otherwise, Americans would have stopped coming years ago.

As to why Mexican health care is less expensive, despite what many people think, it's not just the lower labor costs and lower cost of living. There are several factors involved, and most of them have to do with medical practices.

For example, in Mexico, you are the keeper of your records. It is up to you to bring your medical history and all relevant documents with you, which means less work and less need for staff for the doctor.

Another one is that doctors in Mexico don't need as much malpractice insurance as American doctors. Thus they don't have an incentive to ask for lots of tests just to protect themselves. A Mexican doctor will ask for an x-ray only if he needs it for diagnosis or evaluation purposes. He will not ask for one "just in case."

Moreover, x-rays and other tests are frequently done at independent laboratories. So a doctor doesn't have a financial incentive to order an unnecessary x-ray, since it's the lab and not the doctor who will benefit from it.

Lastly, doctors typically own their practices. Since they do have an incentive to keep their costs down, they don't need to invest in expensive equipment that is available at the laboratory anyway. They are not the object of visits from pharmaceutical agents (pharmacy chains and government offices are), and since they don't deal with such sales agents, malpractice insurance salespeople, or record keeping in the same degree that their American counterparts do, they are able to keep their costs reasonable.

This is also the reason why they are able to spend more time with patients than their American counterparts, which is another reason why many Americans like to get their health care in Mexico.


Robert Ervin is a freelancer who writes about healthcare, medical tourism, and living in Mexico.

If you're considering traveling to Mexico for healthcare or retiring in Mexico, you may want to get yourself a copy of The English's Speaker's Guide to Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico, in order to find a good doctor or hospital in the main towns and cities of Mexico, or The English Speaker's Guide to Medical Care in Mexico, to understand how the Mexican healthcare system works. 

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