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Receiving Medical Care in BajaWith the rising cost of health care in the US, a number of Americans are following the lead of some Mexican nationals living in the US who for decades have crossed the border for lower cost medical services. This tendency to seek lower cost medical procedures like plastic surgery, gastric bypass, dental work, knee replacement as well alternative medicine, overseas in countries such as India, the Filipines, South America, China, Iran and Mexico, to name a few places, has come to create what is now called Medical Tourism. Medical Tourism in Baja although common, has turned itself more to a relocation option amongst senior citizens or people looking to upgrade their lifestyle by lowering their cost of living, thus, spending far less money without sacrificing quality in medical services.
Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey have long been known as places to go for medical procedures here in Mexico, but as the medical tourism increases, they are no longer the only places you can find excellent medical care in state of the art medical facilities. The number of private and state hospitals as well as clinics with up to date technology has increased significantly in Mexico in the last few years, all of this in order to provide affordable medical care for people who cannot afford it in their country.
Millions of Americans are visiting Mexico for medical care and Baja is no exception, around half of the people who travel to Baja for medical care come from the U.S. and only in the city of Tijuana it accounts for 350,00 monthly visits, especially from California, and with some treatments costing anywhere from 50% to 80% less than what they cost in the U.S. it’s no wonder why; because of this, insurance companies started offering HMO type health plans that cover medical care in Baja, such is the case of PacifiCare, Blue Shield of California with their Access Baja Plan and Health Net with Salud con Health Net. Some of the hospitals and clinics in Baja will accept most U.S. insurance (it is always recommended to call ahead and verify the will accept your provider), however, because the medical facilities or practices are established outside of the U.S., some of them will not be able to charge the insurance company directly, unless you contact your provider for written authorization, you will most likely have to cover the cost of the services and request a refund from the insurance provider; if the insurance company is not contacted for authorization you run the risk of not being partially or fully reimbursed. The best thing you can do is contact your insurance provider and ask for information about plans that cover medical care in Baja.
Here are some of the Hospitals that accept U.S. insurance.
In TijuanaHospital Angeles
This is a recently constructed hospital with state of the art facilities offering cutting edge technologies in their treatment as well as diagnostics. Since 2004 it has offered treatment in the fields of cardiology, fertility treatment, pathology, neonatal, nuclear medicine, plastic surgery, neurology, oncology, psychology, among others and is equipped with cubicles for intensive care, laboratory, imaging and MRI technology as well as a blood bank, to name a few. Located in Av. Paseo de los Heroes in Zona Rio Tijuana, its just minutes from the border. For a look at other specialties and services as well as contact information and a look at their facilities you can visit their web page www.hospitalangelestijuana.com.mx/ingles/
Excel Medical Center
Also located in Zona Rio, close to Hospital Angeles, Excel Medical Center is one of the most modern private hospitals in the city; it is also equipped with the most modern technology in the country, staffed with highly regarded physicians and qualified personnel. Although the heart is their primary focus they also provide treatment in many areas such as general surgery, dermatology, ophthalmology, urology, endocrinology, orthopedics and many others, a complete list is available for you to see in www.hospitalexcel.com or call toll free from the U.S. by dialing 1-800-211-0609.
Oasis of Hope Hospital in Playas de Tijuana
Oasis of Hope is a world class health center with general hospital, cardiovascular center and cancer prevention and treatment center. Since 1963 it has offered care for chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer, and other conditions like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular conditions. With 40+ years of treating patients from over 55 countries it is probably the most experienced health center in Baja. If you want an integrated approach to healing this is the place to go, where medicine, nutrition, emotions and spirituality are combined to provide a support therapy for body mind and spirit. They are a top level hospital with cutting edge technology such as 3D imaging, digital radiology, 3D color ultrasound and helicoidal tomography necessary for tracking the evolution of tumors. Besides the before mention ailments, they also provide outpatient consults for neurology, gynecology, pediatrics, obstetrics, urology and proctology just to name a few. Their toll free number is 1-888-500-HOPE when dialing from the U.S., for Mexico is 01-800-026-2747, more information is available in their web page www.oasisofhope.com you can also take a virtual tour.
In RosaritoClinica el Rosario de Santa Lucia
One of the newest and largest hospitals in Rosarito, Hospital Bonanova is also located in downtown Rosarito in Oceana Plaza, a few blocks north of Hotel Festival Plaza and Rosarito Beach Hotel, their services are primarily in the fields of plastic, reconstructive and bariatric surgery, like gastric bypass, as well as dental care such as root canal, crowns, dentures, bonding, whitening among other services. For any questions regarding services and other medical specialties you can call their local number (661) 612-5157.
Sanoviv Medical Institute
A medical facility built next to the ocean that feels more like a spa than a hospital, it also focuses on the treatment of mind body and soul. Treating arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia as well as providing dental treatments among others; Sanovir brings together internationally trained physicians in the fields of psychology, nutrition and fitness with state of the art technology in order to provide you with the best diagnostic and treatment programs for your individual needs. For a virtual tour of their installations as well as more information on Sanovir Medical Institute you can go to www.sanoviv.com or call their toll free numbers U.S. 800-726-6848, Mexico 1-800-725-83-10.
In EnsenadaHospital Velmar
Recently build, this hospital is equipped with the most modern technology in an effort to provide the best tools for the treatment and diagnosis; with an intensive therapy unit, oncology areas, blood bank, neurosurgery, cardiovascular unit and respiratory therapy among others. Treating ailments in the fields of allergies, pediatrics, dermatology, oncology, odontology and many more; Hospital Velmar is located in Arenas No. 151, Fracc. Playa Ensenada; close to the naval base. You can visit their web page at www.hospitalvelmar.com or give them a call at their local number (646) 173-4500.
Ensenada Scientific Breakthroughs
The city of Ensenada is not only known for its fishing and carnival, it is also home to the larges scientific community in Latin America, with ongoing research in various fields, it’s the home of some of the technologies that are and will be used world wide. One such research, in the field of oncology, specifically for the treatment of breast cancer, is the discovery of the effect of a toxin from a sea snail found in the Baja region. According to a recent report, the molecule which has an effect on the tumor has been identified and isolated, it has been tested in cellular cultures with promising results, test on infected mice are said to be starting soon.
The Medical Service LaneThe Economic Development Council of Tijuana (CDT) in 2007, created a program to promote medical tourism in the city by making the border crossing more accessible for patients; this program is called Cruce de Servicios Médicos or Medical Service Lane. This means that Tijuana doctors, hospitals and clinics who have registered in the program can provide their patients with a pass to be presented in the new medical service lane to the officer, along with personal identification when returning to the U.S. reducing the wait at the border to around 30 minutes or less. This program however, is not meant to be used as a handicap lane. It also provides quick access for medical emergency services going to San Diego.
Memberships for Medical ServicesRosarito Beach has long been a primary choice for retirees and families looking for a permanent home in the Baja region. In trying to make available quality health care services at affordable prices for people relocating to Rosarito, medical groups such as Hospital el Rosario de Santa Lucia and Baja Medix, have developed membership programs that provide significant discounts for medical services, doctors visits for around 10 dlls, surgical services at 20% from the normal fee, x-ray and lab services at no cost and home doctor visits for a low cost are a some of what these memberships offer for an annual or quarterly fee. What is important to point out is that the medical memberships are not insurance, and do not cover some mayor surgical procedures, medications, alternative medicine and dental services. If you would like more information you can reach Baja Medix at (661) 612-1266 or (661) 612-5850; for Hospital Rosario de Santa Lucia, the contact information is listed above.
Assisted Living In RosaritoSerena Senior Care and INCARE offer assisted living services to seniors, mostly American retirees who decided to relocate to the Baja cost. INCARE is focuses mostly on in home care, recovery and assistance, while Serena Senior Care also has medical care with doctor’s visits, nursing assistance and their medical network, property care housekeeping, repair and remodeling as well as property management. Serena Senior Care recently launched its membership card with which you can get discounts on their medical and property care services on top of preferential access and discounts with their affiliate network.
Written by Alejandra Esquivel