By Vladimir Lazareff | Biz Latin Hub
Healthcare services are feeling the effects of globalization. Medical tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today, which is why we are going to examine its impact in Mexico... As a result of the increase in the sector, there is a full suite of business opportunities for opening up to foreigners investing in Mexico.
While a family of five living in the South of England are getting ready for their “booze cruise” weekend in France to stock up on relatively cheap French wine, Samantha is in San Francisco, California, planning her next trip to Merida, Mexico for an affordable nose job. Healthcare services, henceforth like any other products on the market, are becoming more and more competitive as patients are willing to travel abroad for better treatments and prices.
In the whole of the Western Hemisphere, Mexico is the most popular destination for North-Americans who are looking for affordable healthcare. As of last year, more than one million foreigners travelled to Mexico for a large range of medical treatments. As a result, Mexico’s earnings from medical tourism have significantly increased in the past decade, growing from $544 million USD in 2006 to $4.7 billion USD in 2016. And the trend is predicted to grow further.
Why is there Such a High Demand for Healthcare Services in Mexico?
1 .Growing number of U.S. expats retiring in Mexico:
Mexico is a retirement paradise for U.S citizens. With their US pensions in dollars, retirees can afford to have a nicer life for less in these heavenly regions of Mexico where the weather is ideal all year round.
As most of these Americans are older, they may be in greater need of medical treatments. Although it is difficult to know the exact number, it is estimated that at least 1 million or so American citizens live in Mexico. This generates a significant amount of business for Mexican hospitals and clinics which offer the same if not better quality of treatment than in the US.
The actual medical tourism, those who travel for treatment:
Medical tourists are those who really symbolize this phenomenon because the reason for their trip is purely medical as opposed to expats who just want to live a better life or retire in Mexico. These are of all ages and come from all over the US.
Their inflow in Mexico is intimately connected to U.S. politics regarding healthcare. The US, as of today, does not have any form of universal healthcare but instead a complex system of private insurance and government-provided healthcare that many can’t afford. Barack Obama’s attempt in 2010 to trigger a reform with the launching of Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) gave millions of Americans access to basic healthcare support. Even then, not all Americans had access to Obamacare as it wasn’t universal.
Since President Trump’s election, Obamacare’s repeal is being debated in the Senate, putting millions of Americans at risk of losing the little government support they previously had.
In the meantime, the Mexican expertise in Medicine is growing with a new generation of experts offering services at very competitive rates. A plastic surgery procedure such as rhinoplasty (nose job) costs approximately 56% less than in the U.S. while a heart valve replacement can be as much as 89% cheaper for example. One can imagine that the price of the flight ticket to Mexico represents only a small part of the investment.
Although many doubt it, if Trump Care becomes the law, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 15 million Americans will lose their health insurance. This would bring a huge amount of medical tourists to Mexico and a full range of business opportunities for businesses involved in the healthcare sector.
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