The 83-cents-a-day Health Plan…and Other Ways to Get Healthy in Mexico


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An eternal optimist, Liu-Yue built two social enterprises to help make the world a better place. Liu-Yue co-founded Oxstones Investment Club a searchable content platform and business tools for knowledge sharing and financial education. also provides investors with direct access to U.S. commercial real estate opportunities and other alternative investments. In addition, Liu-Yue also co-founded Cute Brands a cause-oriented character brand management and brand licensing company that creates social awareness on global issues and societal challenges through character creations. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Liu-Yue worked as an Executive Associate at M&T Bank in the Structured Real Estate Finance Group where he worked with senior management on multiple bank-wide risk management projects. He also had a dual role as a commercial banker advising UHNWIs and family offices on investments, credit, and banking needs while focused on residential CRE, infrastructure development, and affordable housing projects. Prior to M&T, he held a number of positions in Latin American equities and bonds investment groups at SBC Warburg Dillon Read (Swiss Bank), OFFITBANK (the wealth management division of Wachovia Bank), and in small cap equities at Steinberg Priest Capital Management (family office). Liu-Yue has an MBA specializing in investment management and strategy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Marketing from Stern School of Business at NYU. He also completed graduate studies in international management at the University of Oxford, Trinity College.

By Glynna Prentice, International Living,

On a recent trip to the U.S., I got to catch up with a few State-side friends. One of them, I learned, is trying to schedule knee-replacement surgery. She had one knee operated on several years ago; now it’s time for the other. Fortunately, my friend’s insurance will cover most of the cost. But many people in the U.S. aren’t so lucky.

Access to good, affordable health care is one of the benefits to living in Mexico that I most appreciate. I have an excellent private insurance policy here that costs a fraction of what I’d pay in the States. Mexico’s national health plan, IMSS (which I qualify for as a legal resident), is even cheaper—the top rate is less than $300 a year (83 cents a day). But even if I didn’t have insurance, many procedures that are expensive in the U.S. cost much less here.

A quick survey of the cost of several major procedures in nearby Mérida shows exactly how much less. There are several excellent hospitals in Mérida with English-speaking doctors—and a growing medical tourism business. There are plenty of top-flight hospitals all over Mexico, of course. But Mérida is close to me; it’s where I’d send friends if they wanted to come to Mexico for surgery or dental work.

With my friend’s knee replacement surgery in mind, I first checked the cost for that procedure. My friend’s earlier surgery, performed in the U.S., cost about $50,000. At the Star Médica Hospital in Mérida—one of the best—a knee replacement surgery costs around $10,000.

Gastric bypass surgery—which sometimes isn’t covered by U.S. insurance plans—costs in the neighborhood of $16,000 in Mérida. In the U.S., you can pay as much as $55,000—and that may not even include the hospital stay.

Routine health care is also inexpensive. Most specialist visits cost $35 to $50 each. Overnight hospitals stays often cost less than $100. And lab tests, prosthetic devices, and other medical services show similar savings.

For U.S. folks who don’t have insurance—or whose policy won’t cover a procedure—lower health care costs like these may turn a needed operation that was once a pipe dream into a feasible option.

And in my book, that provides a lot of economic security.

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