by Conner Wallis-Collins, Living Lake Chapala

I recently read an article on Living Lake Chapala called Healthcare Analysis in Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico.  It was talking about healthcare costs in Mexico and just how affordable it was. It had me wondering if Mexico had better healthcare options than the US for vets and people without insurance.

According to the World Healthcare Rankings Mexico sits in 61st place for healthcare while the US is in 37th place. I don’t think anyone would disagree that the level of healthcare in terms of equipment is a little better in the US than in Mexico, but that level of care comes at a high price. There are good and bad doctors on both sides of the border and now the equipment that was scarce is readily available at a reasonable price.

The general consensus is that healthcare spending in the US is seriously messed up with medical tech being upgraded on an almost yearly basis and this massive spending and high costs ends up placed on the individual as well as insurers. According to data released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2018, the U.S. rate was a whopping $10,000 per capita.

Not only are healthcare costs prohibitive for those who are uninsured but insurance companies seem to automatically reject all claims making it a difficult and lengthy process to get your money.

Meanwhile in Mexico getting healthy is cheap by comparison. (See Cost of Living in Mexico).  People only spend a 1/5 on healthcare compared to the US, for any given ailment and people report an astounding 90% satisfaction rate.

People who receive healthcare in Mexico consistently talk about how much time their doctor spends with them and how they felt like their doctor actually cared and listened (a major complaint about US healthcare is the lack of one on one attention they receive), they talk about how they like having options as to what kind of level of healthcare they are able to receive. In fact, people usually talk about having a much better experience in Mexico than in the US.

The largest community of expats in Mexico is on the north shore of Mexico’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Chapala. This community pays on average approximately $20 USD for a doctor’s visit and $1,000 USD for insurance ( depending on age and overall health currently), so many of them don’t keep high levels of health insurances they can afford to pay as they go and many will just keep insurance for emergencies with a high deductible.

I’ve found that when you talk to these people, they will often tell you that they feel much safer knowing that if anything happened to them where they require service that it wouldn’t bankrupt them.

Conner Wallis-Collins

So the point I am trying to make is that it is understandable to have concerns about the quality of the health care system in Mexico. But, luckily, these concerns are unfounded as people are happier, healthier, and feel safer knowing that they can receive healthcare at reasonable rates without the ultra-high levels of very expensive care.

About the Author:  Conner Wallis-Collins is a Canadian who has lived in Mexico for over 25 years.  He works in Real Estate in Mexico at LivingLakeChapala serving the Lake Chapala are of Jalisco.  He studied at Queens College in Canada and has lived in Toronto, Canada as well.  He can be reached at [email protected]

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  1. Good comments, gentlemen. I escaped to Thailand for several years. Had a ball. One could expect very-inexpensive food, health-care and cost of living in general. That was 2011-2015 but now the exchange rate on the U$D has declined by around 50% (from what I read). Corruption is rampant; e.g., Thai’s pay large bribes to become police. But it was some very-aggressive ladies, the police state itself and a minor run-in with the mafia that sent me packing. Last week, before reading this article, I was checking out travel to Lake Chapala and learned that a 4-hour direct-flight from Orlando to Guadalajara costs $320. And, 2-weeks ago, I found an American (now a Mexican, as well) who has some lodging available and is setting up some sort of assisted-living facility on the lake. The cuisine might not be as exotic as Siam’s but the natives are nicer. Kind regards to all.

  2. About 20 years ago my wife was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a rarer form where the tumor is distributed throughout the breast. After one round of Chemo at a local hospital she developed a temperature of 105 and severe abdominal pain. She required emergency surgery to remove part of her colon. She did not have colon cancer. She nearly died and was on a ventilator for 11 days. I did my own investigation of this incident and found that the chemo itself killed too many cells in her colon and allowed clostridium septicum to enter her bloodstream from which most patients die in 24 hours. Her doctors agreed this was likely what happened. She moved to Houston where MD Anderson Cancer Center was prepared for such emergencies and continued on with full treatment without further incident. She is alive and well today. Suppose this happened in Mexico? What would be the outcome?

    • If my wife had died as a result of this horrible cancer treatment nightmare some 20 years ago, which by the way cost upwards of $300,000, her doctors would have told me, “sorry, we did our best”. but they would not have done an autopsy, the only scientific way to prove the cause of her death. They would not want to admit her death was iatrogenically caused or “doctor” caused. Every day doctors kill patients unbeknownst to the patients and their loved ones while misleading them to believe they died of the illness rather than the “treatment”, mistreatment would be the more appropriate description. This situation is a shameful disgrace.

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