RV Medical Tourism: Despite the Downsides, RVers Love It
With the rising costs of healthcare and health insurance in the US, medical tourism is becoming more popular for RVers and many other Americans.
In this article, you’ll learn what medical tourism is, the pros and cons, and insight if you want to try it out yourself.
Let’s dive in.
What Is Medical Tourism for RV Travelers
Medical tourism is the process of traveling outside of your country of residence for medical procedures.
Many RVers travel to Mexico for therapeutic treatments because of the high price of medical work and insurance in the US. In Mexico, you can get treatment and medication at a fraction of the cost charged in the United States.
Medical tourism to Mexico typically consists of light medical procedures such as dental work and cleanings, optical exams and procedures, and prescriptions.
All of these procedures are more cost-effective in Mexico than they are in the US. For example, the price of a dental cleaning in Mexico averages around $25-30 US dollars.
Sometimes individuals will visit Mexico for more aggressive procedures like stem-cell therapy, cancer treatments, and weight loss surgery.
Where Do RVers Cross Into Mexico for Medical Tourism
There are a few border towns popular with travelers heading into Mexico for medical procedures. Los Algodones is right across the border from California and Arizona, and visitors can drive their car across or park in a parking lot and walk across to spend the day in Mexico.
Los Algodones is a tiny town, but this little town is packed with over 350 dentists and many other medical professionals ready to service the thousands of Americans that come across the border for medical procedures each year.
About an hour away from the town of Los Algodones is Mexicali, another popular spot for medical tourists coming from the United States. Mexicali borders southern California and has made medical tourism their main draw.
PRO TIP: Before crossing the border, try free camping at American Girl Mine.
Pros for Medical Tourism
Having medical procedures done in Mexico – no matter what it is – is more cost-effective than done in the United States. Many insured individuals will travel to Mexico to have elective procedures done that aren’t covered by insurance in the US simply because they can get it better… In some cases, up to 80% less than in the US.
The quality of the healthcare provided in Mexico border towns is generally high, and the facilities are clean. When you are traveling to a border town that is commonly visited by American medical tourists, you won’t have many (if any) communication issues or language barriers.
You can even work with a US-based medical tourism company to help you select a provider.
Just like with doctors in the US, you can check reviews and learn about previous patients experiences when selecting the dentist or doctor that is right for you.
As an added benefit – you can grab some tacos and sip a few Margaritas when you spend the day south of the border!
Cons for Medical Tourism
Having routine medical procedures done in Mexico is generally safe, especially if you do your research beforehand.
However, just like in the US, you may hear horror stories about a procedure gone wrong, an unskilled practitioner, or otherwise bad experience.
Mexico has different government and healthcare regulations than we do in the US. For example, Mexican law prohibits suing a doctor in Mexico for malpractice. For many individuals, this is a risk they are willing to take.
Another con to medical tourism in Mexico is that it’s unfamiliar. It’s a different country, and your visit and medical procedure may go differently than it would in the US.
For some people, this unfamiliarity is uncomfortable.
Insight for Medical Tourism
Medical tourism to Mexico can be a safe experience and an affordable alternative to US healthcare. Here are some tips to help you out on your journey:
- Do your research. Ask around in your RVing communities for personal experiences and preferred doctors. Read up online about the doctors or clinics you are considering. Contact the clinics and ask questions.
- If you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself, look for US-based companies that specialize in medical or dental tourism. This may cost you more overall, but it can be worth it if you need the peace of mind.
- Learn how your specific procedure is performed ahead of time. This will help with any discomfort you feel about the process.
If Saving Money on Medical Tourism is Your Thing, You May Also Enjoy Free Camping
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy). You should give it a try! As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours.
Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.
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