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The Mexico Medical Boom Is Coming

The Mexico Medical Boom Is ComingThere was a residential tourism study about 5 years ago in which the economist predicted that if Panama was to have an estimated 30,000 retirees to move in, which is about 1% of its total population, the country would get a foreign investment higher than what the canal itself makes annually. In another article from the Miami Herald, Mexico plans to attract more foreign retirees (mostly American and/or Canadian) by offering health care that is Medicare certified. The Mexican President is planning to work in conjunction with the American administration to get the Mexican hospitals under Medicare.

There are already around a million American expats residing in Mexico but the government wants to increase this to over 5 million. Let’s try and take this into account. The American welfare system is already up to its neck due to the burden of illegal immigration. A lot of US citizens are thus forced to look for cheaper healthcare abroad. Mexican healthcare is 70% cheaper and Mexico has a lower cost of living to top it off. So, is there really something wrong with that? I think not.

Felipe Calderon, the Mexican President, is offering the initial steps into expanding American medical tourism and retirement benefits and perks to Mexico. He would either have done this in the May 19 visit to Washington or most probably later on this year.

Arturo Sarukhan, the Mexican ambassador to the USA indicated that it was one of the foundations of their plans to incite economic growth along with social well-being in both neighboring countries. The Mexican government will look to put forward this issue as the months and years progress.
The US census has estimated that a good 90 million people will be retirees in 2050, compared to the 40 million that we have today. An estimated 5 million retirees live abroad, out of which, 850,000 live in Asia, a million and a half in Europe and the rest (a 2.2 million remainder) live either in Mexico, the Dominican Republic or Brazil.

The key to being able to attract more of these retirees to Mexico and the other Latin American countries would be to target the healthcare system first- trying to make their hospitals certified by the American Joint International Commission. This would be proof that the hospitals are of American standard and thus expat retirees would feel safe in their old age; safer that the hospitals are as good as home. There are only 8 Mexican hospitals approved by the Joint international Commission as of now, and others are still waiting upon their certification.

The Mexican government estimates that health costs in Mexico are around 70% cheaper than what they would be in the United States. From personal experience and the experiences of others, these estimates are pretty much true.

Thus, with the increasing elderly in the American population, rising healthcare costs, a record American budget deficit and South American countries needing the extra income from tourists and foreign investments, this entire scenario would pretty much make everyone happy; a win-win for all.

July 15, 2010



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