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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Nothing But Sunshine


A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Guadalajara with an immigration lawyer to get my FM-3. The passport-like document proves I am a documented (READ legal) alien resident. After our visit to the immigration authorities we were treated to a bit of tour of parts of the city. Our lawyer once worked as a tour guide and her knowledge of Guadalajara was impressive.

One of the areas of the city that was highlighted was the medical black market. Doctors, pharmacists, and regular people go there to find bargains on everything they need. When my doctor talks about going to Guad to find my prescriptions, I now know what he means. He is always bragging about the bargains he finds when shopping for lamictal, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta and other medications. And, I am grateful.

An article from Reuters.com reports on the large number of American citizens that travel to Mexico for dental care. It states:

U.S. dental treatment costs up to four times as much as in Mexico, making it tough for uninsured Americans to treat common problems such as abscessed teeth or pay for dentures.

A dental crown in the United States costs upward of $600 per tooth, compared to $190 or less in Mexico.

Aspiring Mexican dentists are moving to border cities in droves and are luring American patients away from farther flung discount destinations such as Hungary and Thailand.

Americans have long crossed the border for cheap medicines, flu vaccines, eye surgery or specialist doctors, but dentists are now in highest demand.

We haven't taken advantage of the local dentists or any medical professionals other than our personal physician. Ajijic does have its fair share of medical specialists. The Lake Chapala Society monthly news publication has plenty of advertisements for professionals offering everything from tooth whitening to chelation therapy.

The cost of living here continues to amaze me. It really isn't such a bad thing to have had my retirement out-sourced to Mexico. The North American Free Trade Agreement does benefit some Americans.

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