California Obamacare patients are finding it more affordable to drive to Tijuana, Mexico for health care treatment than to use their high-deductible Obamacare plans.
Irma Montalvo tells USA Today seeing a Tijuana doctor only costs $15 and that she likes her Mexican doctor better.
“She listens to me,” said Montalvo, a U.S. citizen who was born in Mexico, said in Spanish. “I come here feeling really bad, and three days later I am better.”
The Obama administration has lamented the fact that Latino Obamacare enrollments remain surprisingly low. However, according to USA Today, “Mexican immigrants living in California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico have long sought health care in border cities such as Tijuana, Mexicali and Nogales. The Affordable Care Act won’t change that, experts said.”
Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the UCLA School of Medicine Director David Hayes-Bautista said high U.S. costs and low access may mean that “it’s possible even more U.S. residents may seek care with Mexican doctors.”
A 2009 study found that half a million Mexican immigrants living in California get their medical care in Mexico because their green cards allow them to travel back and forth across the border easily.
The trend of Latinos forgoing Obamacare coverage because they prefer Mexican doctors, faster service, and significantly lower prices than their high Obamacare deductibles allow stand to further frustrate Obama administration efforts to coax Latinos to sign up.
Lorena Villaneuva cleans homes in Riverside County, California and recently purchased a $150 a month Obamacare plan. Still, Villaneuva said she prefers getting care in Tijuana.
“To be honest, I like to come here [Mexico] better even if I have insurance. Over there it’s wasting money and time,” said Villaneuva.