By Gilbert Silverman, M.D.

Here at Lakeside we have a plethora of well-trained (some in the U.S.) English-speaking GPs and specialists. Some are in private practice, others work out of clinics. These clinics all have emergency capability, out-patient surgical facilities, and short- term hospital beds. Further, all these clinics are associated with major hospitals in Guadalajara, and ambulance service to these hospitals.

The Chapala Red Cross also provides emergency ambulance service to Guadalajara. In Guadalajara there are many excellent hospitals, including those of two university medical schools, where the latest diagnostic tools are available, as well as up-to-date treatment of all diseases. Moreover, medical costs are a fraction of those in the U.S. There are also several medical insurance options.

One is the IMSS (or Mexican Social Security), a federal-run universal health plan which costs about $200 per year. This program is open to foreign residents, and is excellent catastrophic coverage. Retirees with U.S. plans such as Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Champus, Metropolitan, Golden Rule, Cigna and others, can use such coverage in Mexico. In addition, both the American Legion and the Lake Chapala Society have local health insurance plans. Many U.S. citizens with Medicaid and Medicare carry a medical evacuation provision in the case of life-threatening illness, under which they can be transported by air ambulance to the U.S. for treatment. For devotees of alternative medicine, chiropractic, herbalism, acupuncture, acupressure, homeopathy and other such treatments are available locally.

As for dental treatment and costs, people have been coming to Mexico for years, enjoying both a vacation and getting dental treatment for what the dentistry costs alone would run in the States. Finally, home nursing care, assisted living and nursing home care is of high quality, and amazingly inexpensive by U.S. standards.

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