This month, The San Diego Union-Tribune’s advertising department will begin collaborating with the Spanish-language news site San Diego Red to promote medical tourism in Mexico. The collaboration will inform and educate readers about advantages and benefits of traveling south of the border for medical services.
The initiative will include sponsored content promoting Mexico’s medical and dental services and will include information on medical destination developments in Tijuana, focusing on relationships between patients and providers on both sides of the border.
Low cost alternatives available in Mexico continue to draw traffic across the border to Tijuana. Medical services include cosmetic surgery, weight loss, wellness and treatments for a variety of diseases. Dental patients seek help with bridges, implants, bonding, whitening, orthodontics and much more.
Mexico’s medical tourism reached $5.5 trillion by 2010, with U.S. citizens traveling across the border for almost $3 billion in services. In 2019, 13 million people visited Mexico, generating almost $2 billion in revenue. Of that, medical tourism accounted for over $94 million.
Medical tourism has changed over the years. It began with medical and dental treatments catering mostly to wealthy patients seeking elective treatments. However, with a steady rise in U.S. health care costs coupled with a growing number of Americans lacking health and/or dental care, Mexico has grown into a lower-cost alternative.
Comparable treatments in the U.S. are usually 60 to 80 higher than in Mexico. That is partly due to higher overhead, salaries and educational expenses in the United States, along with the high cost of malpractice insurance, not required in Mexico. The expenses of medical tourism destinations — travel, lodging, procedures, and a vacation-like experience — is often cheaper than the treatment alone in the United States.