By: Monica Rix Paxson |

Physicians in Mexico do not typically earn six-figure salaries. According to the New York Times, the average physician in Mexico earns the equivalent of about US$25,000 per year. Earnings in Mexico are lower across the entire spectrum of jobs and this is just as true for doctors and other medical professionals. For example, according to World Salaries, professional nurses in Mexico earn just under US$550 per month. But there’s more to it than that.

Most doctors in Mexico do not start their professional careers needing to pay-off student debt. Bloomberg reports that the median student debt for a medical student in the USA in 2012 was US$170,000, but for some graduates it will be much higher. This does not include the student debt from undergraduate school, nor interest. Patients in the USA, their employers and insurance companies ultimately pay these student loans. In Mexico, many medical students study at free public universities or in private universities with much lower tuition fees.

Unlike medical practice in the USA, for example, physicians do not typically order additional, frequently expensive and questionably unnecessary medical tests to proactively defend themselves against anticipated lawsuits. Doctors in Mexico do not purchase malpractice insurance (so there is no incentive for patients to sue for malpractice) and thus saving the US$4,000-20,000 in annual malpractice insurance that doctors in the USA typically pay—and which are inevitably reflected in their fees.

Other factors which keep patient fees lower in Mexico include doctors not being driven to generate high-volume, over-booked medical practices by the economic demands of having the latest equipment, the absence of additional staffing to manage insurance companies, complex scheduling, the flow of patients into and out of examining rooms, etc.

Furthermore, in Mexico a physician more typically owns his or her medical practice. There are few HMOs, PPOs or other corporate entities extracting a share of profits.

The attention of physicians in Mexico is more typically focused on the patient with fewer distractions by pharmaceutical representatives and phone calls from pharmacists in the background—and the need to hire people to manage those intrusions. And since the physician has (generally) lower expenses and all the money goes directly to the physician, you, the patient, enjoy lower medical costs.