Trend:Mexican nursing homes see U.S. influx

Here's a new example of medical tourism, or at least the export of U.S. medical needs. Increasingly, patients needing nursing care are taking up residence in Mexican nursing homes, particularly patients who live near the border. Not only are Americans coming in and moving straight into nursing homes, the approximately 40,000 to 80,000 American retirees already living in Mexico are trickling into the nursing homes as well.

Patients in Mexico typically get dramatically cheaper rates--as little as a quarter of what they pay in the U.S.--along with additional perks like satellite TV, laundry and cleaning service, plus beautiful landscapes and warm weather. They also get access to medical care from the Mexican Social Security Institute, which runs clinics and hospitals across Mexico and allows foreigners to enroll in its program even if they've never worked in the country.

Because nursing and assisted-living facilities are a new phenomenon in Mexico, they're not well-regulated as of yet. Smaller facilities run out of homes are a particular risk, according to some critics. However, most facilities seem to be meeting patients' expectations. Look for this to be a huge phenomenon over the next decade, as baby boomers look at local nursing home prices, choke and head for the border.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this USA Today piece

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