With a population of more than 122 Million and the only developing destination in North America, Mexico is the 15th largest economy in the world. Its healthcare system is a mix of public and private, and the destination just recently achieved universal healthcare coverage. The destination’s uneven distribution of wealth is what makes the private healthcare system so big, as approximately 66% of the 4,500 hospitals are privately owned. This tells us that the public healthcare centers are usually overcrowded, as two thirds of its population rely on the public system, and many times they will even seek cheap private healthcare as a way to avoid waiting long periods of time to get treated. This situation creates a problem with the quality, certification and reliability of the private institutions, making it complicated for the patients. But in the end, its proximity to the United States gives the private healthcare system the opportunity of looking outside the destination for incremental business.
Many of the clinics in Mexico are owned by American companies or hospitals which offer airport pick-up, and even chauffeur services to and from restaurants and sightseeing locations. Mexico now boasts seven JCI-accredited hospitals. Many of them in Mexico are US-owned and operated. Some clinics are CSG Accredited which is given by the General Health Council of Mexico, an office of the Mexican Ministry of Health. Patients frequently visit from the USA and Canada for dentistry, however other highly sought after treatments include cosmetic surgery, bariatric surgery, and general medicine.
On the medical and tourism industry dimension, Mexico ranked 2nd, mostly due to having plenty of options and achieving economies of scale, thus making the cost of healthcare cheaper. Private hospitals and clinics have been investing in newer technology. As Mexico continues to capitalize on its closeness to the U.S. market, the destination maintains a cost advantage when paired with its cheap labor market. Now, Mexico’s overall rank of 9th place in the Medical Tourism Index for the Americas and which happens to be below average, was due to problems with the facility and services dimension too, as the destination got last place out of the nine nations in the region.
Waiting times in Mexico are not a problem and are generally non-existent. There is also an option to save on prescription medicine for a quicker and smoother aftercare. Mexican costs of medicines are almost half those of the USA and Canada. International patients in Mexico are offered their own private room and face-to-face personal interaction with their doctor or surgeon. Hospitals and clinics are equipped with up-to-date technology, well-trained doctors and 'on-hand' medical staff to cater to all types of medical tourists.
Mexico is among the popular destinations for cosmetic surgery, dental services/surgery and general plastic surgery. Mexican hospitals have become popular lately for bariatric surgery for weight loss. This is an elective procedure which is not covered by some US insurers. The following are the popular treatments sought by medical tourists in Mexico:
- Cosmetic surgery and Aesthetic procedures (Botox, etc)
- Hip replacement
- Knee replacement
- Orthopedic surgery
- Bariatric surgery
- Eye surgery
- Cardiac surgery