More Americans are Looking Across the Border for Their Medical Needs

Updated on April 2, 2021

Healthcare in the United States is among the costliest of any other country, driving millions of people to look for alternatives. One option that’s growing in popularity is for Americans to turn to our neighboring countries for our medical care needs. By seeking medical procedures in Mexico and buying prescription drugs in Canada, people all across the United States are saving millions on healthcare costs.

Heading South of the Border for Medical Care

Commonly referred to as “medical tourism,” traveling to Mexico for healthcare has become a popular trend among Americans. While many go for affordable dental care and other routine health matters, others are routinely going across the border for more serious matters and illnesses, such as lung cancer treatment in Mexico

Patients Without Borders, which is headed up by Josef Woodman, helps hundreds of thousands of Americans make this journey every year. Woodman, himself, has taken the trip to obtain much needed dental care. In the U.S., the treatment he needed would have cost him almost $16,000, but his trip to Mexico helped him trim over $10,000 off of that cost. Josef says his case isn’t an anomaly, either. He estimates that the average savings for Americans seeking treatment in Mexico can range from 40-70% overall.

Since Mexico isn’t obligated to comply with U.S. standards, the concern many people have is for the quality of care they will receive. While that is true, the Mexican healthcare community has made great strides in improving patient care. Today, many healthcare facilities throughout Mexico are considered top-quality and recognized for maintaining state of the art equipment. 

Additionally, Mexican healthcare professionals are among the best trained in the world. One only need to look at the affiliations Mexican hospitals maintain with major medical universities throughout the world to see that the country has become very competitive in offering high-quality care.

Heading North to Fill Prescriptions

In addition to medical treatment, the cost of prescription drugs also continues to skyrocket in the United States. Fortunately, those same drugs can be obtained for a fraction of the price by buying them through Canadian pharmacies. 

However, there are two factors to keep in mind when determining if this is the right option for you. First, it’s important to inquire about shipping costs. In some cases, the cost of shipping prescription drugs to certain U.S. states will drive up costs enough that you might be better just going to your local pharmacy.

Another concern is the currency exchange. Remember that any prices you see on websites are going to be in Canadian dollars, so you will need to compare those prices with a current rate of exchange. The cost in U.S. dollars can sometimes be significantly higher.

The third concern has to do with U.S. Customs regulations. It’s illegal for drugs to be shipped into the country, except by the manufacturer, and it’s also against the law to bring large quantities of drugs into the country yourself. The only exception is that you can import a 90 day supply of the drug into the U.S. Even then, you must be able to show that it’s for your own personal use and that treatment for your condition cannot be obtained in the U.S. Additionally, you will have to provide the contact information for your doctor and sign an affidavit certifying that you won’t try to sell the drugs to others.

If you consider these obstacles, obtaining the drugs you need from Canadian pharmacies can present a more cost-effective option. It will allow you to obtain medication at costs that can be pennies on the dollar. Depending on your medical condition, this may be an option that can help you obtain the treatment you need at a more reasonable cost.

While there may be certain legal considerations, many people are willing to deal with them in order to get medical care at a more reasonable price. As care costs continue to rise in the United States, these options will likely become more attractive to a larger segment of the population. Even in light of the bureaucracy involved, crossing our borders still seems like the best way to get the medical care we need.

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