Some Mexican Immigrants Travel Back to Native Nation for Health Care Services
Many Mexican immigrant families living in near the U.S.-Mexico border travel back to their native nation to receive medical care "rather than brave the costs and unfamiliarity of the U.S. medical system," the Sierra Sun reports (Hartman, Sierra Sun, 3/13). The average cost of medical services in Mexico generally is less than that of the U.S. For example, an average physician visit in Mexico is about $25, a dental cleaning is about $20, lab tests cost one-third of U.S. prices and an overnight stay in a Mexico hospital is about $35, according to the Sun (Sierra Sun graphic, 3/13). Some Hispanic immigrants choose to receive medical care from their native nations for cultural reasons, according to the Sun. For example, some immigrants experience language barriers accessing care in the U.S. Some of them feel more comfortable receiving care from a Mexican physician to whom they can relate and who they believe will understand their issues. Sylvia Ambriz, executive director of California-based North Tahoe Family Resource Center, said that most Mexicans do not visit physicians unless they are sick, adding that preventive health care in Mexico usually consists of taking natural herbs or relying on religion and spirituality. She said, "Their way of thinking and paying health insurance, they don't really see the benefit of 'wasting' money every month if they're not sick every month. For them, it's a hardship." The center has been working to emphasize the importance of preventive care for immigrants, including a focus on women's health. Ambriz said the center is working "in shifting the mentality now that they live here in the [United] States." For undocumented immigrants, who might not qualify for public health insurance programs and for whom it is "much too risky" to go to Mexico for care, there are some U.S. community health care programs and scholarships available, the Sun reports (Sierra Sun, 3/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.