Utilization and purchase of medical care services in Mexico by residents in the United States of America, 1998-1999
We assessed self-reported frequency of purchase of medications and medical care services in Mexico by southern New Mexico (United States, [U.S.]) residents in relation to their medical insurance coverage. We analyzed data obtained in 1998 and 1999 from a health interview survey of residents in a six-county region of southern New Mexico, using prevalence and logistic regression methods for complex survey data. About 22% of southern New Mexico residents had purchased medications and 11% had sought medical care in Mexico at least once during the year preceding the survey. When we adjusted for the effects of other variables, persons able to pay for services out of pocket and those who were uninsured were more likely than persons who were fully covered to purchase medications or medical care in Mexico. Large numbers of people residing near the border in New Mexico traveled south to Mexico to purchase medications and medical care. Lack of medical insurance was associated with higher frequencies of these purchases. There seems to be a need to establish relationships between U.S. private and public care plans and Mexican medical care providers to identify appropriate mechanisms for U.S. residents to purchase medical care in Mexico.