Category Archives: Health Care in Mexico

ACA – Obamacare’s Effects on American Expats Living Abroad

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
ACA – Obamacare’s Effects on American Expats Living Abroad
yucalandia.com

Sept. 27, 2013 Update:

This article is for all the Americans traveling or living abroad who have, so far, avoided learning about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With the upcoming Oct. 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014 enrollment period, for ACA – Obamacare, there are bundles of questions that arise affecting US citizens who are outside the USA.
Are US citizens outside the US covered / protected by the ACA?

ACA – Obamacare’s Effects on American Expats Living Abroad

ACA – Obamacare’s Effects on American Expats Living Abroad

Are we exempt?

Is coverage only offered within the US (like Medicare), requiring citizens outside the US to travel for care?
Are expats forced to pay for a US insurance plan, even if they cannot receive care under the plan outside the US?

What fines (a.k.a. “taxes” in US Supreme Court lingo), must be paid for not enrolling in a US health plan?
The full answers will all be revealed in due time, since MOST of the significant parts of Obamacare do not take affect until 2014, and Congress may overturn these provisions before then.

 

 

 

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Powerful Spiritual Healer in Mexico By Susan A Mahalick. Compiled By: Miguel Sedano

 

I went to see someone called El Maestro, or Constantino, this past week in the wine valley close to my home in Baja.

Mexican Spiritual Healer

 

People think very highly of this spiritual healer. Much publicity went out to let everyone know locally about his arrival. He had been here one day in January, but I could not go at that time. I figured it would be an all day affair, which indeed it was. Constantino came back for another three days in February due to popular demand. It was his calling, he was called to come back. Some people go to see him every chance they get. Some of my friends are volunteers as they believe in him so much. One friend told of people who could now see, or get up and walk after years of being in a wheelchair. One of the volunteers follows him all around the world as she was one of his major successes. She had been in a wheelchair for fourteen years. She had tried many treatments to no avail until seeing El Maestro.

One of the volunteers is my friend Jo Ann who relates these stories to me via email:

“A friend of Janet’s went to see the Maestro. She recently had a 10 hour operation to remove a tumor at the top of her spine. The doctors could not remove it all and recommended chemotherapy. After seeing the Maestro she experienced pain on her left side and went to the emergency room. They performed an MRI and the tumor is gone.

Or the one about Judie. She was one of the Friday wine group and makes jewelry. She’s been a bunch of times now. She had tintinnitus, ringing of the ears… gone. She took her 90 some year old husband in a wheelchair and he no longer has pain in his legs and is walking…. don’t know what else. Took Margo and the pain in her shoulder (it was dislocated) is gone and she was walking. (Margo has suffered horribly for years from fibromyaligia. She has fear of falling. She can’t wait to go back again. The stories go on.)

A sister of her close friend, Coleen, named Barbara who was legally blind can now thread a needle.”

I talked one of my close friends into going, even though I had a ride from someone in La Mision where I live. The van would have been a bit too full with my friend. Rocky had three different friends of his try to convince him this might be a good idea. As he is an open minded and curious sort, this appealed to him. Most people have medical or emotional issues with which they would like some assistance. So off we went at ten thirty in the morning on a Wednesday to go see a spiritual healer at La Casa Viejas in the wine valley.

It was a pleasant enough day for a trip and we made it to the event in about a half hour or so. The healer was supposed to arrive between twelve and one, but many people got there early to get into the first group. We were seated by arrival for the most part. Given slips of paper to fill out with our concerns and basic information like where we lived and our contact numbers and email addresses.

It was a well organized event with just the right amount of volunteers. Taken into the first room in a group of thirty seven people, we were treated to some testimonials by prior participants. We also got to hear about the beliefs of El Maestro such as a simple diet, no alcohol and no drugs of any kind. No eating of any meat was emphasized. He only owns two sets of clothes, simple white pants and a shirt, with a long poncho of soft beige material over his clothes. It was a somewhat chilly day in the shade. He stays with people so he does not have to own anything other than the clothing. I saw a rather simple gold ring on one hand. His hair was tied back with headbands that were embroidered in dark colors. I could not tell how long his hair might have been, but I would guess it to be of medium length and black. He wore a white scarf tied around his mouth and head to help prevent the passing of germs to complete his look.

We were sent into a nearby palapa that could seat two circles of thirty seven people. We were instructed to be patient and center ourselves around peaceful thoughts. Some talking went on before the arrival of the healer. When he appeared all went very silent. We were told he was going to come see us one by one. We were instructed to all rise and hold hands. Told to look into his eyes when he stood in front of us, but not to touch him. Our chairs were still behind us when we all arose in greeting. A spotter would stand behind each chair as he approached so we could not fall. I could not wait to be touched with his quite powerful presence of healing. I feel that his personal being is a channel to a higher power. El Maestro would look into your eyes and then most often touch the center of your chest with a somewhat forceful motion with one finger. This is to open the heart. Most people fell into their seats from the contact. If your ailment pertained to walking, then you were instructed to walk around the circle after being touched. One man came in on crutches and walked around the circle very stiffly without them. Everyone paid him the most respectful attention.

Some people cried, though not very many. I was one of those who did. I get emotional at these kind of things, even getting teary eyed in church some times. He looked into my eyes with his intense green ones. He asked me what my concerns were, and they got translated into Spanish. I wanted assistance with some uterine fibroid tumors which I have had for about ten years. Conventional medicine would have me get a hysterectomy. I also have a small lesion on the left hand side of my nose. It has been going away slowly for about four months now. He spent a good amount of time with me, even putting his hands on the front of my lower belly and chanting. I was asked by the volunteer if there was anything else and I replied that yes, I am without an income at the moment which causes a lot of stress.

We were told the healing is not always instant, that it can be a process that is now ongoing as we have encountered such a powerful healing force in the spiritual presence of Constantino. A white box was passed around the circles before we left for donations to help El Maestro with his traveling expenses and favorite charities. No suggested amount. Then we were each given a sheet of paper with simple instructions to detox our bodies for the next fifteen days. Mostly vegetables and fruit. No caffeine, alcohol, salt, sugar or refined pastas or white rice. No drugs of any kind. The kind of diet that not very many people can handle as it is so restrictive. No meat as it is aggressively procured. He lives this way all the time himself and recommends that everyone take up his principles for a less aggressive and healthier world. He is most probably correct, but the only people I know of who can follow this regime live in monasteries or spend a week at a spa to get cleansed. My point here being that when you see other people eat what they want it is much more difficult to stay on such a regime without a very strong will.

As for myself, thus far the lesion on my nose is almost completely gone. I am attributing this to the power of El Maestro as the rapidity of the healing has increased. I am going to continue to believe the fibroids are gone until I can get an ultrasound for verification. As for the lack of income, that was taken care of quite nicely the next day.

What can I say but that I am truly a believer in Constantino, El Maestro, the powerful spiritual healer. The man who has the mysterious reputation of being from nowhere.

Susan Mahalick has lived in Baja for the last nine years. She recommends that newcomers can use the FRAO (Foreign Relations Assistance Office) for many of their issues and information. She has also written a book about “Living Resourcefully, Yet Well” available in eformat on Amazon about tips on living well and within a budget.

If you are thinking in moving to Mexico, don’t think more act today.  We Can Help.  Call today 858-433-0561 or email Miguel Sedano  info@rentinginmexico.com the perfect home is waiting for you.

Med to Go International – Paving the Way for Mexico’s Successful Medical Tourism Industry. Compilied By: Miguel Sedano.

Mexican Medicine

Baja Doctors

According to recent statistics, over 59 million Americans do not have health insurance.  That said, there is obviously a tremendous need for affordable alternatives for those requiring either minor or major surgery.  Despite Mexico’s ongoing struggles, there are a few areas where the country is feeling a positive impact. Foreign investments are booming and now “Medical Tourism” is taking hold and bringing in a new type of visitor and potentially millions of dollars to the economy. With the ease and affordability of traveling south of the border, along with state-of-the-art facilities, current technology, US trained (English speaking) doctors and surgeons, and virtually no wait times, Mexico is quickly becoming a leader in this fast-growing industry.

A forecast by Deloitte Consulting projected that medical tourism originating in the US could jump by a factor of ten over the next decade. The growth in medical tourism has the potential to cost US health care providers billions of dollars in lost revenue and bring those huge dollars into a host of other countries including Mexico.

Leading the way is a revolutionary company called MedToGo International. I first met the founders ten years ago in Acapulco. Dr. Robert H. Page, Dr. Curtis Page and Robert Page Jr. are an impressive family of over achievers who were, at the time, publishing a book called Mexico: Health and Safety Travel Guide

They spent two years in 50 Mexican cities researching doctors and hospitals suitable for tourists. The end result: the ultimate guide for any tourist (or ex-pat) looking for an English-speaking doctor with excellent credentials (or an accredited hospital) almost anywhere in the country. This book on its own is an extraordinary product.

Over the years, the connections they made and the contacts they had began to take another turn. And, like most successful entrepreneurs, the Page family simply connected the dots. Today they are the only medical tourism company owned and operated by U.S. physicians. They have elevated MedToGo International© (MTGI) into the most trusted and credible healthcare referral service in North America, and offer patients surgical savings of up to 80% of what they would pay in the states. (A knee replacement for a registered MTGI© patient, including six days of physical therapy, costs about one-fourth of what it would be in the United States.)

They have conducted personal interviews and certification background checks on more than 700 physicians and have inspected over 80 private hospitals abroad. Only the top 10%, or those meeting the strictest health standards, parallel to that found in the U.S. are selected. As a result, MTGI© clients can feel assured that they will be working with the finest physicians and institutions outside the United States. In Mexico, their surgical partners are located in Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Leon, Hermosillo, Merida, and Tijuana.

The major areas of elective and specialized surgical offerings include:

* Orthopedic Surgery: Total knee or hip replacement; ACL, tendon or meniscal repair; spinal surgery; shoulder surgery
* Kidney Transplant: Live kidney donor already identified and pre-qualified
* Cardiovascular Surgery
* Weight Loss/Obesity Surgery: Lap Band, Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, Metabolic Gastric Bypass
* General Surgery: Hernia Repair, Gallbladder, Nissen Fundoplication
* Gynecological Surgery: Laparoscopic or Vaginal Hysterectomy
* Dental Surgery: Full mouth Restoration
* Plastic Surgery: Breast Reduction, Liposuction, Post-bariatric Plastic Surgery
Their website (www.medtogo.com) is filled with all the information you need to explore the possibilities.  I asked if I could go through the process as if I was a patient, and they sent me the entire step-by-step. I am a stickler for detail, and I can tell you honestly, they don’t miss a thing. From the moment you submit your information for a quote, there is no stone unturned. From an “education sequence” of emails, to complete travel arrangements and assignment of your own English -speaking “Medical Liaison” who will be with you every step of the way in Mexico, they do this right. This is as professional and thorough as it gets.

Per their website:

“Once a patient is registered with MTGI© for a surgery, rigorous medical procedures are followed. Beginning in the patient’s hometown, pre-and post-surgery protocols are established with the patient’s physician/specialist to ensure the patient’s surgical readiness and long-term success. Depending on the type of surgery performed, accommodations are made regarding length of stay and follow-up medical care required back home, once the patient is released.

MTGI© also provides a team of U.S. physicians and coordinators who oversee a patient’s care and serve as their advocate while they are abroad. Safety and peace of mind are a top priority. MTGI© is the patient’s medical and travel referral source before they leave, while they are abroad and once they have returned home. Each patient is provided an English-speaking Medical Liaison to attend to them throughout their stay abroad. The designated Medical Liaison is available to facilitate communication, coordinate day-to-day schedule, and provide information.”

Medical tourism is quickly becoming a safe, affordable option for thousands of patients, and Mexico is stepping onto the world stage as a contender. With MedToGo leading the charge, Mexico might just come out the winner.
Below are the bios of the owners:

Robert H. Page M.D.
Dr. Robert Page is an Arizona native who was raised in Douglas, near the Mexican border. He earned his medical degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in 1971. While studying in Guadalajara, Dr. Page co-founded the Tlaquepaque Free Medical Clinic. He completed his Family Practice residency at the University of Arizona in 1978. He served as Chief of Staff at Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital from 1991 to 1993 and was an Arizona delegate to the American Medical Association from 1993 to 2001. He is a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM), and is owner of a bilingual medical practice in Tempe, AZ, with a staff of five physicians and 22 assistants.

Curtis P. Page M.D.
Dr. Curtis Page graduated from Harvard Medical School in Boston Massachusetts from 1996. He later completed 2 years of a General Surgery residency at Emory University in Atlanta from 1996-1998 and later a Family Practice residency in Brooklyn, NY at the Lutheran Medical Center from 1998-2000. While in medical school, he did volunteer work in the Dominican Republic and with elderly Spanish-speaking patients at Alianza Espana in Boston. Dr. Page is also a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) and a private family practitioner in Tempe, Arizona. Dr. Page has completed many years of scientific research and is published in several leading scientific journals.

Robert R. Page
Robert earned his BA in Developmental Economics at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1996. He has conducted economic research in Argentina, Mexico and the US and completed further studies in Brazil and Germany. Fluent in Spanish and English, he also speaks German and Portuguese. Robert has been the project’s field researcher, spending more than three years pre-screening physicians and medical facilities throughout Mexico. Robert currently divides his time between the United States and Mexico, where he works with Mexican physicians and hospital administration on patient-care protocol.

If you are thinking in moving to Mexico, don’t think more act today.  We Can Help.  Call today 858-433-0561 or email Miguel Sedano  info@rentinginmexico.com the perfect home is waiting for you.

San Ysidro “Stacked Booths” will speed up border crossing. By: Miguel Sedano

San Ysidro Border 2011

Even though demolition at the San Ysidro Port of Entry will be closing as many as five re-entry lanes at a time in the next few months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Thursday that traffic may actually flow faster through the busiest border crossing in the Western Hemisphere.
Traffic will be “channeled” into fewer lanes, the pace shouldn’t slacken because Customs will be opening additional inspection booths at each gateway to process two vehicles at a time. The so-called “stacked booths” are being used at other border crossings according to officials and have proven efficient.
San Ysidro is undergoing a massive, three-phase, $577-million reconstruction which requires the contractors to tear down existing structures that sit directly over the top of the 24 lanes of wall-to-wall, bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Since June, the Colorado-based Hansel Phelps Construction Co. has been “surgically” dismantling the sprawling administration complex above the traffic. Central to the process is a towering yellow crane that dominates the border landscape.
Starting at the end of August through Thanksgiving, the project enters a particularly tricky phase as remaining shell of the building must come down. To accomplish this, processing booth areas will be closed off as each section is torn down, affecting up to five lanes.
When it comes to figuring out which lanes are functional, Customs and Border Protection will try to remove the guess work for border travelers. A traffic engineer in Tijuana has been contracted to design a strategy for channeling vehicles to the “stacked booth” gateways.
By the end of August, Customs will have operating 10 gateways with “stacked booths” to process two vehicles simultaneously.
When completed, the reconfiguration and expansion of San Ysidro will have 62 northbound inspection booths, expanded processing facilities, a dedicated bus lane and express lanes for the “trusted traveler” programs – SENTRI and Ready Lane vehicles.
This first phase is fully funded and is on track to be completed by the summer of 2014, officials say.
The second phase, which includes the construction of the new administration building and pedestrian route and Phase 3, the realignment and expansion of I-5 south with expanded capacity and a transit center on the Mexican side of the border are as yet unfunded.

If you are thinking in moving to Mexico, don’t think more act today.  We Can Help.  Call today 858-433-0561 or email Miguel Sedano  info@rentinginmexico.com the perfect home is waiting for you.

What retirees wish they knew when they were younger? By Miguel Sedano

Their answers were both simple and wise so I’ll summarize here.
1. Be happy now.  Not next week, not next month, not next year. Now. The great Western disease we are spreading around the world is “I’ll be happy when.” When I get that BMW, when I get that Ocean front house, when I get that status. Americans are among the luckiest people in the history of the world. Don’t get so wrapped up looking at what you don’t have that you miss that, what you do have.
2. Appreciate your friends and family. When you’re 95 years old and you’re on your death bed, do you think you’ll be surrounded by your clients? It’s your friends and family who matter most.
3. If you have a dream, go for it.  Want to write a book? Visit Mexico? Learn to speak Spanish? Your dream doesn’t have to big–it could be one that people think is silly, or just plain nuts. It’s your dream, and you should go for it now because when you’re 75, you may not be able to do it.
If you are thinking in moving to Mexico, don’t think more act today.  We Can Help.  Call today 858-433-0561 or email Miguel Sedano  info@rentinginmexico.com the perfect home is waiting for you.

Benefits of Playing Tennis. By: Miguel Sedano

Playing tennis on a regular basis can help maintain or improve balance, mobility, agility, strength and fitness. It also helps burn calories. According to the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute  exercise physiologist and avid tennis player Gordon Blackburn, Ph.D., research shows that three hours of moderate aerobic exercise every week can cut the risk of developing heart disease by 50 percent. “Playing tennis at a moderate to vigorous intensity on a regular basis,” says Dr. Blackburn, “is a good way to get your aerobic exercise. You’ll exercise your muscles and burn calories. Tennis can even help lower your blood pressure. All of that helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease or of having a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke.”

A 135-pound woman playing an hour of tennis can burn 330 calories during doubles and 420 calories during singles, says Dr. Blackburn. An average-sized man playing an hour of tennis can burn about 425 calories during doubles and 600 calories during singles. In fact, says Dr. Blackburn, you’ll burn more calories playing three hours of tennis per week than you will doing three hours of light weightlifting, bowling or golfing.

“If you complement the tennis with other aerobic activities such as brisk walking or cycling, so that you are getting some sort of aerobic exercise most days of the week,” says Dr. Blackburn, “you can make an even bigger impact on improving heart health.” For instance, numerous recent studies, says Dr. Blackburn, have documented the physiologic benefits of walking on a regular basis and at a moderate intensity.

Stretching
Whether you’re a former tennis player ready to take up the sport again, or you’re taking it up for the first time, pre-play stretching is one of the most important precautions you can take to minimize the risk of muscle or limb injury. Stretching prepares the body for physical activity by warming the muscles and joints. The process takes only a few minutes. Stretching does not guarantee that you won’t be injured during play, but the evidence shows that it can help significantly reduce the risk.

For those of you thinking, “Dude, this body don’t bend,” stretching exercises are not designed to contort the limbs, inflict pain or serve as a tryout for Cirque de Soleil. The objective is to ready the muscles and joints for the stretching and extending you’ll do as play begins and progresses.

To keep tennis safe and healthy, always keep these tips in mind:

•    Get the body’s muscles and joints properly warmed up by stretching.
•    Use water or healthy sports drinks to keep the body properly hydrated before, during and after play. This is particularly important when playing in hot, humid weather, or for longer than an hour per session.
•    If you injure yourself or experience chest pain, stop playing immediately and contact your physician.
Play within your means. (In other words, leave the acrobatics to Roddick and Henin-Hardenne.)
Get Your Game On…Safely
Dr. Blackburn encourages anyone who can to take up tennis, but certain individuals, he says, need to check with a physician before doing so. If you are interested in playing tennis, check the list below to see if any of the criteria describe or relate to your health status. If so, you’ll want to discuss your intentions with your doctor.

•    Chest discomfort or pain during physical activity
•    Current inactive lifestyle, by choice or because of a medical condition
•    Rheumatoid arthritis
•    Heart disease
•    Recent surgery (within past year)
•    Pacemaker
•    High or low blood pressure
•    Osteoporosis
•    Regular dizziness or loss of consciousness
•    Vision problems
•    Joint replacement

If you are thinking in moving to Mexico, don’t think more act today.  We Can Help.  Call today 858-433-0561 or email Miguel Sedano  info@rentinginmexico.com the perfect home is waiting for you.

Using a real estate IRA to acquire property in Mexico

By TOM KELLY, INVESTMENT columnist

Using a real estate IRA to acquire property in Mexico

Using a real estate IRA to acquire property in Mexico

Like second-home sales in the U.S., the sales of Mexican homes have been limping along. They are a luxury that buyers have been unwilling to revisit until the economy improves. While anecdotal evidence is beginning to reveal increased activity in some of the more popular resort areas, very few developer projects are thriving because of a lack of bank funding or sales.

“We have some buyers who have returned to look and buy,” says Max Katz, who operates Baja Real Estate Group in Rosarito Beach, about 70 minutes south of the California border. “But it doesn’t help when U.S. television repeats the same shows on crime in Mexico that they were showing 18 months ago.”

Much has been written about the kidnappings, roadside hijackings, crooked cops, and the infamous bandidos in some of the regions of Mexico. Most of the violence south of the border, however, is directly related to the drug cartels and the authorities who are trying to eradicate them. There is absolutely no pattern of any innocent U.S. citizens being randomly murdered in drug violence.

Unfortunately, the negativity surrounding the country comes at a time when more and more Americans could use a less expensive place to live. According to a new report by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), baby boomers have not saved for retirement and they will be forced to work longer and/or move to less expensive places than they anticipated. Property taxes, health care, and cost of living will force boomers to consider moving to other countries, especially if they plan on living at the same level of comfort as they do now.

John Youden, the Vancouver, British Columbia native who founded a multiple listing association in Puerto Vallarta in 1988 (www.mlsvallarta.com) and also publishes a highly respected real estate magazine, believes developers will have to offer potential buyers a creative proposition to sustain sales.

A Puerto Vallarta-based group headed by a Harvard MBA graduate took Youden’s message to heart. It is seeking buyers/investors looking for a guaranteed rate of return and has found the offering to be an ideal alternative to conventional Individual Retirement Account investments. One hour south of Cancun on the Caribbean Sea’s Riviera Maya, the company is building a condotel adjacent to Madrid-based Bahia Principe Group’s mega resort. Called Sian Ka’an (www.bahiaprincipecondohotel.com), the development is on its own golf course.

The condo hotel is a gated community with 24-hour security, and it has access via a private bridge to the adjacent resort and its pools, spa, restaurants, tennis courts, and boutiques.

Because Bahia Principe needs additional rooms during much of the year, the corporation is guaranteeing an 8% annual return to investors on their rental unit for seven years, even if the unit is not occupied. Personal use by the owner is allowed, yet owners-investors can also enter their unit in the guaranteed rental pool. After that period, owners-investors can renew the contract or take sole possession of their unit.

To prepare for your real estate IRA, designate the amount of your retirement funds that you wish to use in the property deal and open a new IRA account with an independent administrator.

The guidelines covering real estate IRAs are stringent. If you break one of these rules, you could jeopardize your tax-free status on your account.

  • The land or house must be treated like any other investment.
  • All rental profits must be returned to the trustee.
  • You cannot manage the property. But your trustee can hire a third party – a real estate broker, or local manager – to collect rents and maintain or improve the property.
  • The house or property (or proceeds from its sale) must remain in the trust until distribution at retirement. If a trustee is instructed to sell the property, funds can be transferred to another account for reinvestment.

You cannot use IRA money to buy your own residence or any other property in which you live. It has to be investment property. But when you retire, you can direct your IRA to turn it over to you as a distribution at the current market value.

It’s a creative way to get in the door if you are considering an investment purchase.

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Browse for Rosarito Homes for Sale.

Mexico’s big hope: get 5 million U.S. retirees

BY ANDRES OPPENHEIMER
aoppenheimer@MiamiHerald.com

Mexico's big hope: get 5 million U.S. retirees

Mexico's big hope: get 5 million U.S. retirees

MEXICO CITY — Mexico is silently working on proposals aimed at drawing millions of U.S. retirees to this country, which could eventually lead to the most ambitious U.S.-Mexican project since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

President Felipe Calderón is likely to propose the first steps toward expanding U.S. retirement benefits and medical tourism to Mexico when he goes to Washington on an official visit May 19, according to well-placed officials here. If not then, he will raise the issue later this year, they say.

“It’s one of the pillars of our plans to trigger economic and social well-being in both countries,” Mexico’s ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhan told me. “We will be seeking to increasingly discuss this issue in coming months and years.”

Calderón brought it up during a U.S.-Canada-Mexico summit in Guadalajara in August last year, but President Barack Obama asked him to shelve the idea until he was able to pass healthcare reform, another official told me.

Now that Congress has passed healthcare reform, Calderón is preparing to charge ahead.

A GROWING MARKET
There are already an estimated 1 million Americans living in Mexico. And according to Mexican government estimates based on U.S. Census figures, that number is likely to soar to 5 million by 2025 as the U.S. population grows older and more Americans look for sunny, cheaper places to retire.

The U.S. Census projects that the number of U.S. retirees will soar from 40 million now to nearly 90 million by 2050. Already, 5 million American retirees live abroad, of whom 2.2 million are in the Western Hemisphere — mostly in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. Another 1.5 million live in Europe and 850,000 in Asia.

The key to luring more U.S. medical tourists and retirees to Mexico and other Latin American countries will be getting hospitals in the region to be certified by the U.S. Joint International Commission, which establishes that they meet U.S. hospitals’ standards. There are already eight Mexican hospitals certified by the JIC and several others awaiting certification.

According to Mexican government estimates, healthcare costs in Mexico are about 70 percent lower than in the United States. And from my own experience, those estimates are right: As I reported at the time, when I was hospitalized in Mexico two years ago for an emergency operation, my hospital bill was indeed about 70 percent lower than what it would have been in Miami.

So what will Calderón specifically propose to Obama? Most likely, the Mexican president will suggest starting with a low-profile agreement that would allow the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration to pay for Medicare benefits to U.S. retirees in Mexico. Under current rules, Medicare only covers healthcare services in the United States.

IT JUST MAKES SENSE
My opinion: Mexico and much of Latin America are bound to become growing U.S. retirement and medical tourism destinations, much like Spain has become a permanent living place for Germans, Britons and Northern Europeans.

You won’t read much about it now because neither Calderón nor Obama will emphasize it publicly while the drug-related violence in northern Mexico is making big headlines, and while the political wounds from the recent U.S. healthcare debate are still open in Washington, D.C.

But I’m increasingly convinced that, as the violence in Mexico subsides and the healthcare debate becomes a distant memory in Washington, medical benefits’ deals will become a top U.S.-Latin American priority. Just as free-trade agreements were the big thing of the 1990s, healthcare agreements will be the big deal of the coming decade.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Calderón and Obama take the first baby steps toward a U.S.-Mexico healthcare agreement by finding a way to pay for Medicare benefits for U.S. expatriates in Mexico, or getting U.S. states to allow similar payments. Then, most likely after the 2012 presidential election in both countries, the two would start negotiating a more ambitious deal.

Demography, geography and economics are pointing in that direction. With the U.S. population getting older, a record U.S. budget deficit, rising U.S. healthcare costs, and Mexico and other Latin American countries badly needing more tourism and investments, this should be a win-win for everybody.

Browse for real estate in mexico.

How safe is travel in Mexico

It all depends on your destination. The State Department warns against travel in the border towns of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros, but most beach resorts and other historical spots popular with American tourists are unaffected.

Carol Pucci
Seattle Times staff columnist

How safe is travel in Mexico?

How safe is travel in Mexico?

How safe is travel in Mexico?

It all depends on where you’re going.

As a new travel warning by the U.S. State Department (http://travel.state.gov) points out, the areas of concern are not the beach resorts or historical cities most Americans visit, but rather the border towns, specifically Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros.

Too often in the past, these types of government alerts have taken a broad-brush approach, simply advising against travel to a country as a whole. What’s different about this warning, issued Sunday following the shooting in Ciudad Juárez of three people with ties to the American consulate, is its level of detail, and the way it rightly targets only towns where drug-related violence has been rampant.

This could have something to do with the fact that Mexico’s tourism economy is fragile, and the U.S. government doesn’t want to do anything that might damage it, but let’s hope it also has something to do with a new, more responsible approach to travel warnings in general.

As the State Department points out, millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year, and this isn’t likely to change. Nearly a million Americans live in various parts of the country, enjoying the benefits of an inexpensive retirement and low-cost medical care. read more »

Bring Your Medicare to Mexico

Bring Your Medicare to Mexico

Bring Your Medicare to Mexico

Suzan Haskins
Latin America Editor, International Living
International Living Postcards—your daily escape

Which foreign country will be the first in which Americans can use Medicare and Medicaid benefits?

Mexico, of course.

It just makes sense. Mexico is right next door to the largest market of health care consumers in the world. Some health services in Mexico can cost 12 times less than what is charged in the U.S., experts say.

It’s no wonder that Americans (and yes, Canadians, too) cross the Mexican border in frequently increasing numbers to avail of the high-quality but low-cost health care Mexico provides, including reduced cost prescriptions.

Already, the four largest commercial U.S. health insurers—with enrollments totaling nearly 100 million people—have either launched pilot programs exploring or offering overseas travel to countries like Mexico for health services. Some smaller health insurers and brokers also have introduced travel options for hundreds of employers around the country. read more »