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Healthcare in Mexico

Here is a photo of our local pharmacy in Mexicali, but more on that later.

Our Mexicali pharmacy

I saw a very interesting article from International living.

Which foreign country will be the first in which Americans can use Medicare and Medicaid benefits?

Mexico, of course.

It just makes sense. Mexico is right next door to the largest market of health care consumers in the world. Some health services in Mexico can cost 12 times less than what is charged in the U.S., experts say.

It’s no wonder that Americans (and yes, Canadians, too) cross the Mexican border in frequently increasing numbers to avail of the high-quality but low-cost health care Mexico provides, including reduced cost prescriptions.

Already, the four largest commercial U.S. health insurers-with enrollments totaling nearly 100 million people-have either launched pilot programs exploring or offering overseas travel to countries like Mexico for health services. Some smaller health insurers and brokers also have introduced travel options for hundreds of employers around the country.

It also makes sense that Americans should be able to use insurance benefits from Medicare and Medicaid in Mexico. And that ability may become reality very soon, says Bruno Ferrari, the chief executive officer of Promexico, Mexico’s foreign investment agency.

And he believes that within one year, the governments of Mexico and the U.S. may have an agreement to let Americans use their Medicare and Medicaid insurance at Mexican health care facilities.

Already, 10 U.S. and Canadian companies have expressed an interest in building facilities to cater to Americans seeking to take advantage of low medical expenses, he says.

This is all good news for those of us who live in Mexico and for anyone thinking about relocating or retiring there.

Anticipating the approval of both U.S. private insurance and Medicare/Medicaid programs in Mexico, real estate developers are getting in on the act, too. Many of them are creating special communities that cater to the health needs of foreign retirees, including assisted living centers.

Since Mexico has been hard hit by the global economic meltdown, and the peso has recently lost 30% of its value against the dollar, there are deals to be had on real estate in Mexico right now. There truly will never be a better time in your lifetime to start a new life in Mexico.

It makes sense that the U.S. insurance companies give coverage in Mexico. It saves them money and will help you on your co-pays, approvals, and maybe even on your premiums.

Even without insurance I still have many health care advantages in Mexico.

Prior to my Tarlov cyst operation, I had to take some very expensive pain killers. Originally, I was prescribed Lyrica, which was very good – at the beginning. When my pain increased, I went to the local pharmacy in Mexicali, called La Farmacia Mas Barrata, which means the least expensive pharmacy.

It is a huge place. open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. I have not seen anything that can compare to it in the U.S. This pharmacy gives a 30% discount over local Mexican prices.

Inside La Farmacia Mas Barrata

Inside La Farmacia Mas Barrata

I asked the fellow behind the counter what I should take. He recommended Artidol, which I bought on the spot – no prescription, no expensive doctor needed. In Mexico, aside from things like Valium, you do not need a prescription or an expensive doctor visit, where you have to plead for another month’s supply.

The Artidol worked great. Unfortunately for Americans, I understand it is not available in the United States. Without Artidol, I do not know how I could have made up as we saved our pennies for the operation.

After my operation, I needed antibiotics to prevent a possible infection. Again, I went to La Farmacia Mas Barrata and got what I needed.

Again, there was no doctor needed to ration out a small supply of pills to get me to to return and pay him for another visit for my re-fill – and so on.

Thank God we came to Mexico! I wrote before that we couldn’t have made it just for simple living in America.

Without the competence and affordability of caring health care in Mexico, I would still be suffering from Tarlov’s desease – just like so many Americans.

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12 comments to Healthcare in Mexico

  • I don’t know about Medicare Part D – we don’t have it. However, you can purchase most medications in Mexicali at La Farmacia la mas barata. It is on Justo Sierra, just blocks south of Madero – a short trip from the border. If there is something you need a prescription for, there is an on-site doctor which costs pennies on the dollar. Even with Medicare Part B, the co-pays in the U.S. are higher that seeing a doctor here in Mexicali. Then, if you don’t mind the drive there is Los Algodones.
    God Bless,

  • Armando

    Hi, I have Medicare part D and have my prescriptions filled at Wal-mart Calexico but have to pay $30 dlls at Clinicas de salud del pueblo in Calexico for psychiatry meds and high blood pressure meds. I just paid this month (Jan-03-2012) $239.50 for doctors expenses and was wondering if there’s a clinic or facility in Mexicali that can fill your drugs through Medicare’s part D. I don’t mind paying doctors fee’s as I am sure it would be less than $30. A taxi driver from Mexicali told me I could go to SIMSA Reforma entre D y E and fill my prescription for $3.00 dlls. but went there and they said no, so I was wondering if there’s a place I con go to here in Mexicali.

  • Living close to the border is an excellent idea – you get the best of both worlds – cheap prescription drugs (with no prescription) in Mexico, HONEST Mexican doctors (for less than what a Medicare co-pay would cost), plus all the US benefits – Medicare, Medicaid, Disability, Unemployment Insurance, Food Stamps – the works.

  • i don’t know specifics about mexico….but i do know that in the U.S. there are several states that do not force health insurance companies to cover formulas and low-pro foods. i find it very unlikely that a country as poor as mexico would be able to force health insurance to pay for these things. and unless, you’re privately wealthy, you won’t be able to afford to buy the items yourself as they are extremely expensive. you might be better off living in the U.S. southern states and crossing the border fo

  • Thanks for the kind words. We were just in Los Algodones, today. It is a safe town and you can drink the water. We drive there from Mexicali – and it is a very safe and pleasant drive through beautiful green farmland with many small towns along the road. Since it is a (small) highway, however, we don’t go through any town traffic. It is about a 44 mile drive, one way. We didn’t go there, today, but we have been using Meyer optical for several years.
    God Bless,

  • Sue

    Hi Mary Ann
    I have just discovered your blog. We are from Canada and last year we discovered Los Algadones while we were staying in Yuma for the first time. I decided to look into dental work as I have worn a partial plate in the upper for years. I ended up getting bridges and crowns on most of my upper mouth for a fraction of the cost at home,even though we have a dental plan. The dentist I went to was wonderful. The office was as professional as any I have visited at home. I also bought a beautiful pair of Versace eyeglasses from Meyer optical. As I have a very strong presription it would of cost me hundreds more at home. I noticed you come from Mexicali it is safe to drive into Algadones and drive to mexicali. Last year we just parked and walked in to Algadones. We are planning on coming again this year for more glasses. Really enjoying your blog.

  • I really don’t agree with you, Samuel. Appreciate your comment (and reading my blog), however and thanks. I looked at the Wiki article you cited, which states, “Without insurance or even Medicaid you will not have any way of paying for treatments. This is a position you should never be in.”
    Well, Samuel, I had no insurance and no Medicaid and was facing a $100,000+ operation for my spinal operation for a Tarlov cyst. First off, it was never diagnosed by my US doctor, nor the MRI specialist. My only option was Mexico which was withing driving distance for me.

    The MRI specialist in Mexicali diagnosed my Tarlov cyst correctly, and so did my Mexicali doctor. The operation was a complete success, at a fraction of the US cost, and I am far better off that those who have had the operation in the US. Just check the horror stories at .

    One of the comments on reads: Has anyone every heard of somebody HAVING surgery for these things & having a “good” outcome? All I have every read about was the Kansas Dr testimonials and of course they are not going to print bad ones.

    I have posted my good outcome on – only to have it deleted by their “moderator.”

    The health care scam continues in the US – but not in Mexico!

    God Bless,

  • Samuel

    it just sucks everywhere! lol!

  • Hey, this is great news for Diane Watson. She won’t have to travel all the way to Cuba for her optorectomy. She can just run down to Tijuana where it probably can be done on an outpatient basis.

  • Doug: Thanks for reading my articles. I don’t know about signing up for t he IMSS Health Program, but I suggest you visit, you should be able to find your answer there.
    God Bless,

  • Doug

    Read your articles on health care in Mexico. I live (full time)in Puerto Nuevo (12 miles south of Rosarito) and am trying to find out how to sign up for the IMSS Health Program through the Social Security Dept. I am 63 years old and been living in Mexico 14 months. I have my FM3. I know where the IMSS building is but I need to know the requirements before I go to apply. I speak very little Spanish and I assume everything (forms, etc.) will be in Spanish. They have a website but it’s in Spanish and I don’t think they list the requirements such as age & visa statis.
    Thanks in Advance for any help on this matter.
    Doug Cotey

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