Medical Tourism to Mexico

Search Mexico for  or browse Mexico hospitals and clinics
In recent years, Mexico has been a popular destination for US citizens seeking health care. Its proximity to the United States and the relatively low travel costs, have been drawing Americans and Canadians. Numbered among these are also Mexican-Americans, who return home to their family doctor/dentist and save money.
It was initially famed for its dentistry and cosmetic surgery. However its orthopedic procedures now add to Mexico's attractions. With state-of-the-art facilities comparable to American hospitals, Mexico has become one of the premier destinations for US medical tourists.

The Healthcare System in Mexico

According to the World Health Organization Mexican healthcare system is ranked 61 in the world [source]. The private hospitals in Mexico are usually similar in quality and care to those in the United States. There are medical packages which offer accommodation and aftercare away from the urban areas and closer to the vibrant beaches.
Mexico's best hospitals and clinics are based in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.
Many private clinics that cater for to Americans are located across the US border, in cities like Tijuana, Mexicali and Laredo.
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.

The following Mexican hospitals are accredited by the JCI:

  • The American British Cowdray Medical Center IAP Observatorio Campus, Mexico City
  • The American British Cowdray Medical center IAP Santa Fe Campus, Mexico City
  • Christus Muguerza Alta Especialidad, Monterrey, Mexico
  • Clinica Cumbres Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico
  • Hospital CIMA Hermosillo, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
  • Hospital CIMA Monterrey, Monterrey, San Pedro Garza Garcia N.L. Mexico
  • Hospital San Jose Tec de Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
  • Hospital Y Clinica OCA, S.A. de C.V., Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
  • Browse our list of hospitals and clinics in Mexico >>

Common Treatments done by Medical Tourists in Mexico

Wikipedia lists Mexico 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:

Cost of Medical Treatment in Mexico

The following are comparative costs of general, cosmetic and surgical procedures between US hospitals with those of Mexico. [source]
Heart
Procedure USA Hospitals Mexico Average Savings
Angioplasty $22,500 $11,500 50%
Angiography $4,800 $1,200 70%
Valve replacement $ 46,000 $16,000 60%
Bypass surgery $44,000 $24,000 50%
Open Heart surgery $64,000 $24,000 66%
Orthopedic
Procedure USA Hospitals Mexico Average Savings
Knee $25,000 $10,500 65%
Hip Replacement $28,000 $12,500 65%
Shoulder Replacement $24,500 $9,500 75%
Birmingham Resurfacing $24,000 $12,500 60%
Other Procedures
Procedure USA Hospitals Mexico Average Savings
Gastric Bypass Surgery $30,000 $11,500 70%
Gastric Band Surgery $24,000 $9,500 60%
Hysterectomy $14,500 $5,500 75%
Fertility Treatments $8,500 $2,650 55%
Cosmetic Procedures
Procedure USA Clinic Cancun, Mexico Average Savings
Face Lift $18,000 $4,250 68%
Breast Augmentation $7,800 $3,800 55%
Tummy Tuck $8,800 $4,500 50%
Liposuction (per area) $3,200 $1,150 60%
Rhinoplasty (nose) $8,000 $3,200 65%
Brow Lift $7,500 $2,850 70%
Brazilian Buttock $10,500 $4,950 65%
Neck Lift $10,000 $4,400 70%
Blepharoplasty (eyelids) $5,400 $2,950 55%
Dental Procedures
Procedure USA Clinic Monterrey, Mexico Average Savings
Implants - 6 teeth $18,500 $3,600 75%
Porcelain crown (6 teeth) $5,200 $1,600 70%
Bleaching discolored teeth $250 $50 80%
Dental Vaneers (6 teeth) $6,000 $1,800 75%
Total Dentures $4,800 $1,600 70%

Another survey provides the following comparative costs as of 2009: [source]

Medical Procedure USA Mexico
Angioplasty Up to $57,000 $17,100
Heart Bypass Up to $144,000 $21,100
Heart Valve Replacement Up to $170,000 $31,000
Knee Replacement Up to $50,000 $11,500
Hip Resurfacing Up to $30,000+ $13,400
Hip Replacement Up to $43,000 $13,800
Special Fusion Up to $100,000 $8,000
Face Lift Up to $15,000 $8,000
Breast Implants Up to $10,000 $9,000
Rhinoplasty Up to $8,000 $5,000
Lap Band/Bariatric Up to $30,000 $9,200
Hysterectomy Up to $15,000 $7,500
Dental Implant $2,000-10,000 $1,000

Malpractice and Liability Laws in Mexico [sources]

Medical liability is not as strictly enforced by laws in foreign countries as in the United States. Accordingly, it is not surprising to note that malpractice compensation is not as generous. Foreign doctors are not as secure in malpractice insurance like their American counterparts. An American medical tourist cannot have recourse to the American court system. An American court might not hold an intermediary liable since medical tourism promoters or agents are not health care providers and so cannot commit malpractice. Some medical insurers in the US have designed insurance packages for those wishing to get medical health care in Mexico. A Californian law in 1999 which allowed Californian insurers to reimburse providers in Mexico has paved the way to changes in the insurance industry and the medical tour package providers. Since Mexican medical care costs less, premiums are less than 2/3 of the cost of their US alternative plans.

Pros

  • Distance

    The proximity of Mexico to United States and Canada make it a clear choice for American and Canadian residents for their health care needs. Travel expenses are low and make it easy for patients to travel back and forth.
  • Quality

    According to the World Health Organization Mexican hospitals are similar in quality and care to those in the United States. There are medical packages which offer accommodation and aftercare away from the urban areas and closer to the vibrant beaches.
  • Prices

    The prices in Mexico can be between 50% to 75% lower than that of US average costs.
  • Language

    High rate of fluency in English among doctors.
  • Insurance coverage

    Increasing number of insurers providing coverage for travellers, as out-of-pocket costs are much lower.
  • Culture

    Like most Latin American countries, Mexico has an overall friendly and family-oriented culture.
  • Waiting times

    Waiting times in Mexico are not a problem and are generally non-existent.
  • Climate

    The wonderful climate deems it conducive to recovery.

Cons

  • Lack of standardization

    Lack of standardized quality measurement and quality ranking systems.
  • Lack of liability

    Difficulty in seeking legal remedy in the event of malpractice.

Travelling to Mexico

Mexico's advantage is its location; flights from US and Canada are short and relatively cheap.
Californian citizens can even drive to Mexico.

Flight times from US and Canada to Mexico

Average estimated travel time in hours
From/To Mexico City Guandalajara Monterrey
New York City 4.5 4.5 3.5
Chicago 3.5 3.5 2.5
Washington, DC 4 4 3
San Francisco 4 4 3
Los Angeles 3.5 3 2.5
Toronto 4 5 5
Montreal 5 5 5
Vancouver 5 5 5

Airfares

Airfares to Mexico peak in late March to early April and mid-June through to August. Holiday periods are also expensive. Midweek (Mondays Thursdays) morning roundtrip flights are US$40-60 cheaper than weekend flights, but these are generally more crowded and less likely to permit frequent flier upgrades. Open return (no fixed return date) and open-jaw (different arrival and departure cities) tickets are more expensive than roundtrip flights.

Car Travel times from southern US to Mexico

(At average speed)
From/To Tijuana Mexicali Monterrey
Los Angeles, CA 2 hrs 4 hrs
San Francisco, CA 10 hrs 10 hrs
San Diego, CA 20-30 minutes 2 hrs
Dallas, TX 10 hrs
Houston, TX 12-13 hrs

Statistics for Medical Tourism in Mexico

Americans, particularly those living near the Mexican border, now routinely cross to Mexico for medical care. It is believed that half of these medical tourists are US residents of Mexican heritage and merely go home for treatment. [source]
The number of medical tourists coming into Mexico ranges from 150,000 to 500,000 persons annually. It is hard to keep track of the number people coming into Mexico seeking medical care because there are no official records of such visits.
Hospitals in Mexico