The Exodus – Mexico’s Medical Tourism
Medical tourism is a growing industry in Mexico, with surgeries for weight loss as one of its most well-known techniques. And amazingly, the most avid consumers are arriving through the Texas borders. The primary purpose, because most insurance policies don’t cover bariatric surgery. And those that do, not only brand it as a ‘premium’ choice, but they have several requirements an insured individual must fulfill before any surgery will be preformed. The National Center for Policy Analysis mentioned in 2012 that medical tourism has become so successful, that it’s now a 100 billion dollar industry. And since both overweight and diabetic issues are increasing in the U.S., more and more people in America are asking for bariatric operations.
Leslie Henry said gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve are very well-known techniques to get done Mexico. Leslie works as a manager and liaison for patients enthusiastic about Mexican Medical Tourism and currently works with Dr. Guilermo Alavarez in Piedras Negras. “In the U.S., bariatric surgery has become too expensive and individuals don’t want to fight the insurance coverages.”
This 2014, CDC reported that up to 750,000 U.S. citizens journey overseas for medical care each year. And you don’t have to look very far. Many physicians in Mexico offer all-inclusive offers. “Dr. Alvarez, provides the whole surgery (vertical sleeve), hotel stay, transport, after-care diet programs, and meals for the visit for a little less than $9,000,” Henry said. “Mexico is sometimes a third or a quarter for the price. If it were not safe, we would not allow anyone to come here.”
Despite typical perception, not all medical centers are just in it for the profit, Henry said. She herself has gone through bariatric surgery in Mexico and she said it “gives individuals their life back.” She said that “The greatest issue of individuals looking into Mexico’s medical tourism is the judgment of the border“. “I think individuals watch really just too much TV. They anticipate gun fights in the road, and things like that, but it’s just not that way,” she further elaborated. “It is all just a matter of doing your research. The bad can be found anywhere.”
But going to a different nation can have a disadvantage if you’re not cautious. Many U.S physicians have seen the side effects of operations gone wrong and notify their patients that specific research beforehand is essential. Dr. Rich Lewis of the UT Wellness Technology Middle said that “There are some surgeons, who do very great work, but there are some who don’t and there are no rules like the FDA in the U.S. You may think you’re getting one thing, but you’re actually getting something different.”
Despite the safety measures, U.S. citizens keep taking the risks, visiting locations they may have never been before to get the weight-loss. 1200 WOAI’s Stephanie Narvaez, discussed to one individual, Randy, from Michigan to Texas to journey to Piedras Negras for the gastric sleeve surgery. He did not want to offer a last name because of the judgment he said he still gets. He said he did his due diligence and he was well qualified in the process before journeying and realized the actual kind of questions to ask once he met the physician for the very first time, the day of the surgery. Randy shared “I was a little anxious before traveling to Texas, but once I met the employees at the airport and hotel, I was very relaxed. It’s a very well-oiled machine… the terminology hurdle wasn’t an issue and the border wasn’t terrifying at all.”
These kinds of stories are a great testament to Mexico’s budding medical tourism. As with everything in life, the burden still falls on you to ensure that you are doing the right thing.