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US Retirees Living In Mexico Cross The Border To Use Medicare

Audio

Aired 5/6/10

The lower cost of living in Mexico has caused many American retirees to move there, but many of them still come back to the U.S. for health care.

— The lower cost of living in Mexico has caused many American retirees to move there, but many of them still come back to the U.S. for health care.

The Baja California coast is home to tens of thousands of American retirees.

Richard Kiy, with San Diego's International Community Foundation, says most of them still cross the US border to see the doctor. That's because Medicare will not reimburse Mexican doctors who treat Americans over age 65. This has led to a lobbying effort to convince the U.S. government to spend Medicare dollars in Mexico.

Kiy said changing the policy could save a lot of money.

"The health care costs in Mexico are a fraction what they are in the United States," he said. "So being able to get Medicare reimbursed in Mexico will not only save the retirees money but will also save the US taxpayer money."

People involved in the lobbying effort say questions about the quality of service, at Mexican clinics, stand in the way of Medicare coverage.

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