- Health & Safety>
- The Healthcare Benefit to Living in Latin America
When I first started traveling and ultimately living in Latin America some odd years ago…
Well, my very first trip to Latin America was when I was, if I remember right, 19 years old.
And I was still in my early 20s or so when I made the move to Latin America by choosing Mexico City.
In either of those cases, healthcare was not something I was at all concerned with.
Which might sound ironic for a few reasons…
First, I actually got really sick early on one time in Nicaragua with food poisoning as you can read here.
Where everyone and I in my group (aside from one chick) all started puking constantly.
With one chick having to be taken to a hospital in Nicaragua as she was having it worse than everyone else by far!
Despite that, healthcare was never a reason why I moved down here…
And I never cared early on about things like healthcare insurance or anything like that.
Mostly because I was covered until I turned 26 on my dad’s health insurance plan.
Which, to be fair, I have no idea if that healthcare plan would actually be useful internationally in a country like Nicaragua or Mexico…
I’m pretty confident it wouldn’t be, but I honestly don’t know.
Second, as I’ve gotten a little bit older and no longer on that healthcare insurance plan, it has made me consider more healthcare costs.
Especially since there might come a day where I need genuine healthcare at an affordable cost.
My dad saw the issue well before me though.
Which was the first time I ever considered the issue as a thing to consider when it comes to living abroad.
A long time ago, I remember getting that message on Facebook Messenger from my dad about healthcare.
He was warning me that, as I’m getting closer to 26, I’ll be off his healthcare plan.
Now, as I said before, I’m again not certain that his healthcare plan was any good internationally anyhow.
So I might’ve been exposed all this time!
Either way, he was concerned about my future lack of healthcare.
And was, in part, trying to use it was a tool to convince me to come back to the US.
“Well, you have to have health insurance! Or else YOU’LL DIE TOMORROW!”
Well, OK, he didn’t put it like that.
But that was the basic premise of that mini conversation over Messenger – find a way to get healthcare. Maybe come back home and get a job up here? But find a way anyhow.
Because, unfortunately, my line of work doesn’t involve any healthcare insurance.
And, truthfully, he has a point.
It might not seem like a major issue now given how young I am…
To think “well, I always be OK. It won’t hurt me to not have healthcare insurance right now. I’ll need it when I’m 50 or something.”
But that is ignorant talk obviously.
So in part because of that conversation…
And also because I’m a little bit older than when I first started living down here…
I’ve been taking this aspect of life more seriously.
Well, seriously meaning thinking about it.
Not much more.
I still don’t have healthcare insurance because I haven’t gotten around yet to figure out how to purchase it.
It is along that same train of thought – “I’m young. I’ll get to it.”
And I will.
When I need to get to something that I deem relatively unimportant, it can take me a year to get around to it.
Mañana time and all.
It’s in my blood now.
But there is one other thing that has made me consider healthcare more…
The Beneficial Costs
We all know what I’m talking about…
How much cheaper healthcare can be down here versus the US.
Here’s a video of what is known as “medical tourism.”
Where basically folks from the US go a country like Mexico to fix a healthcare issue…
Especially as it is often much cheaper down here than in the US even when you factor in the flight costs.
Though, to be fair, I’ve had minimal experience with this.
I’ve seen it with dental costs!
Where a guy I know named Alex had to get some teeth issues resolved – cavities I think.
And he noticed how the dentist only wanted like 10 to 20 bucks from him when it would cost a lot more for whatever he wanted back in the states.
He knows that anyway better than most because, according to him, one of his parents is a dentist.
So that was a shock to him to see how low the dental costs are here.
Which has made me think to get some dental work here done before I visit the US again since I need to fix a small cavity I got also.
And it’s not just the dental stuff either…
As I wrote in this article here, I’ve been using TRT recently.
Testosterone replacement therapy.
In the case of plenty of people (including myself), it’s really more like Testosterone enhancement therapy since you can argue I’m too young for it.
But it has given me some benefits in life so far.
And how much does it cost?
Well, I don’t need a doctor’s approval for it – over the counter.
Which that wouldn’t be the case at all in the US.
And it only costs me 45 bucks per month to have 250 mg of it each week and to have a doctor inject me with it each time.
No way would I get all of that for only 45 bucks in the US.
For a whole month’s worth of TRT with 250 mg each week and a doctor to inject it each week.
Though, to be fair, I’m not entirely sure how much it would cost in the US.
I did see a video though of some guy saying he spends like 200 dollars a month for like 100 mg each week.
So, in my short life so far, I definitely has been benefiting from the healthcare benefits to life in Mexico.
At least a tiny bit.
Here’s another video of someone else from Youtube talking about how beneficial healthcare has been in Mexico.
And even though the healthcare systems are different in each Latin country…
I’m sure the healthcare is likely cheaper in the rest of Latin America than in the US.
Or at least I haven’t heard of any country where it is insanely expensive like the US.
But there is one other thing to mention….
A concern some would have….
This is the concern some might have about healthcare in Latin America when they haven’t been here yet.
Essentially thinking that because a country like Mexico is third world in their eyes…
That you can’t possibly get QUALITY healthcare in their country!
That there exists no good hospitals!
The doctors are all high school dropouts who fuck their cousins and drink tequila all day!
That isn’t how it is down here.
They work hard and can be reliable also.
But is the overall healthcare system truly reliable down here?
To be fair, as I said before, I’m not truly an expert on how high quality it is down here.
I can only reiterate what I’ve heard from a few older expats down here.
Like when I was in Guatemala years ago…
I often went to this café where I met a guy who was a regular there also.
Some other American guy.
And, in his words, the quality of his healthcare in Guatemala was as nice as he needed it to be.
At a much lower cost too!
And I’ve known a few other older folks – only a few – who have reiterated that.
Though the common theme I’ve heard is that only the private hospitals are worth going to that have real quality.
I’m not sure if that is true for every Latin country but that’s the common theme I’ve always heard…
Which, to be fair, private hospitals would obviously be more expensive than public ones.
But the benefit of lower cost seems to still be applicable in the cases I’ve heard of.
I obviously can’t speak for every medical treatment in every Latin country as to if it is cheaper or not down here versus the US…
Especially given my very minimal experience with the healthcare industry in this part of the world due to my young age.
I can only reiterate what I’ve heard from other expats older than me who have all said it is cheaper and better down here even for more complicated treatments.
But let’s wrap this up…
As I said, I’ve never considered healthcare to be a thing to prioritize when I first started traveling and living down here.
This is a topic that you usually seem to mostly hear older folks talk about.
So, in a way, you can say this is a change I’ve noticed in myself.
Which is normal.
I started living down here at a very young age.
I imagine the changes I’ll go through from living down here – assuming I stick around for decades – will be even more noticeable with the time to come.
Where healthcare will likely be even more of a priority whenever I hit my 50s and so on.
Maybe even earlier!
And so while I can reflect on this now as I’m only beginning to consider this aspect of life here…
It has dawned on me that this is another benefit to living in Latin America.
In which you can likely, though maybe not always, enjoy cheaper healthcare down here that doesn’t bankrupt you with decent quality service.
Just got to get off my lazy ass and spend the time finding quality insurance one of these days.
Anyway, that’s all I got to say anyway on the matter.
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Thanks for reading.