With all the news these last two weeks about Congress proposing cutbacks on Social Security and Medicare, it looks inevitable that the vast majority of baby boomers will likely end up in the exchanges set up by Obamacare starting Jan. 2 next year.I recently received an e-mail from Nicholas Scott, owner of Steve’s Sports Bar in Puerto Vallarta.
He said that health care is the most important subject discussed by Americans when they think about retirement in Mexico. Recently he had a few condo owners from the Marina tell him stories about how they feel, with so many doctors retiring due to Obamacare, that health care in Puerto Vallarta is so much better than what they’re experiencing in the U.S. They fear the kind of care they’ll be forced into when Obamacare becomes reality.
One customer from San Francisco told him that his wait to see a specialist is usually weeks and sometimes months. He said his doctor and two other specialists were unsuccessful in treating his wife’s stomach virus that she acquired while in New York two months prior. On referral he and his wife came down to the Amerimed Medical Center in Puerto Vallarta.
Their wait was about 10 minutes when the general practitioner on staff said that they needed to see an internal medicine specialist. The specialist was called on a Saturday and in less than one hour the specialist was in consult with the wife. He ran tests and wanted to do a “colonostrophy” right then and there at the center.
The typical cost in the U.S. for that procedure is $3,500, plus approximately another $2,000 in hospital costs. At Amerimed the total cost was $1,000 including the hospital costs. She needed to stay in a hospital room for about six hours but three days later all symptoms were gone.
The diagnosis, the prescription and data were put on disk and given to the patient. They took the disk back to their general practitioner in San Francisco where he and another specialist reviewed all the data. They then told the wife that the Mexican doctor was 100 percent correct and that their diagnoses had been wrong.
In another case, a friend’s wife had numbness in her right arm that refused to go away. One specialist in the U.S. said he wanted to put her on expensive medication and put her arm in a cast for two months. Trying to avoid the cast she went to a different specialist who then prescribed the same medicine but no cast. She went that route but she only got worse.
They too decided to try Puerto Vallarta. Arriving in March 2013 they too went to the Amerimed Hospital where a specialist had her X-rayed within 30 minutes of arriving. He then ran some tests and diagnosed the problem. He gave her a different and much less expensive prescription and showed her some arm exercises. Two days later the numbness was gone.
Nick’s friend needed two teeth capped. The cost in his hometown in the U.S. was nearly $4,000. He had the work done in Puerto Vallarta for $750. The English-speaking dentists have all the latest dental equipment. People can rent a condo for a month and get the dental “works” for say a combined $5,000. The same work in the USA would be $20,000-plus without a vacation.
Medical tourism in Mexico is already No. 1 in the world. Because in January 2014 a majority of baby boomers will likely end up in line in exchanges waiting behind people who have never worked, never paid any taxes and live on checks from the government, the Mexican alternative may be the best alternative.
From all accounts, boomers could wait months to see a specialist once Obamacare is implemented and there’s no guarantee that they will be granted the right to one due to the 15-member panels who will dole out care at their discretion. During the passage of Obamacare, many called these boards “death panels” because all care to specialists will be doled out by non-medical, nameless, faceless board members trying to keep costs down.
It could be life-saving to consider taking the short 2.5-hour flight to Puerto Vallarta to get first class health care with almost no wait at 20 to 25 percent of the cost at home. Carlos Slim (the world’s richest person) started construction in 2011 on 10 more hospitals in high tourist areas like Cancun and Cabo San Lucas.
These medical centers are all being built to USA Health Care Standards and will continue to staff only the highest quality specialists from Mexico, Canada and doctors fleeing the U.S. These centers will continue to provide cutting-edge medical care at a very affordable cost.
I’ll have more in my next column in two weeks. Until then, go in peace.