Would You Travel Overseas for Surgery? You Might After Reading These Experiences
Considering the ridiculous cost of health care in the United States these days, the surge in medical tourism in recent years is hardly surprising.
And, make no mistake, it is surging.
According to Patients Beyond Borders, almost 1.5 million Americans traveled to a foreign country last year to save money on a medical procedure. That’s about a 10-fold increase from a decade ago.
What’s more, the global market for medical tourism is expected to grow as much as 25% a year, led by the emergence of countries such as Costa Rica, Brazil and India as cost-friendly destinations.
Savings can range anywhere from 20% to 90%.
When someone on Reddit this week asked for both good and bad experiences in medical tourism, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Here are just some of the highlights…
JPLucas14: “Had to get a gum graft done. In the US with insurance put me around $5,000. In Mexico, after the plane ticket, procedure, car rental, and AirBnb I was still sub $2,100. Everything worked out great for me and I would completely recommend it to anyone who needs to save the money. I used Medigo.com . They certify clinics and will only recommend a clinic to you if they have done thorough research to make sure it is legit.”
Starvard11: “I had been living half-time in Thailand and moved there full-time at 30 weeks pregnant to have my baby there. 4-day hospital stay with all my care and round-the-clock care for the baby, plus a private room and all meals for me and my husband, was like $900.”
Bechecko: “A friend went to Italy for in vitro fertilization. It cost $4,000 and she got an Italian vacation out of it. That’s versus $15-20k in the U.S.”
Litofon: “I actually run a dental tourism company and I cant tell you how many patients tell me how they wished they did it sooner. Same materials, same skills, just 70% off. It’s nothing surprising either, healthcare costs in the US are abhorrent.”
NewMindRedPill: “All my family returns to either Mexico or Peru for dental work or ‘Beauty’ work such as botox. I know its not exactly Medical but I’ve gotten a ‘radiofrequencia’ treatment in Peru. It tightens the skin and helps destroy fat cells. It costs I think $200-300 for 15 minutes here in the United States but only $30 for a 30 minute treatment in Peru.”
TwistedLittleLady: “I drove to Tijuana, Mexico to have lasik surgery performed! The doctor spoke English and there were so many people from around the world their. The price ended up being half of what it would have cost me in the US. I have 20/20 vision now and no side effects from the surgery. It was such an easy procedure and they were so accommodating. I do speak Spanish so it helps a bit and TJ can be difficult to navigate but it was so worth it to save $2000.”
Yes, a few stories of botched procedures emerged, as one would expect, but the clear takeaway from the thread is that, if cost is a factor, at the very least consider looking abroad. Just make sure to do your homework before packing your bags.
According to Medical Tourism magazine, seeking treatment abroad “can be very safe, cost effective and provide comparable care to hospitals in the United States.” Here are four steps from the publication to ensure a positive experience:
1. Solicit tailored health advice — Talk to your doctor and consult a travel health provider to make sure your destination is the right one.
2. Prepare for recovery — Some hospitals catering to medical tourists offer programs and perhaps even partner with local resorts, for upscale post-op care. Iron all that out ahead of time.
3. Protect yourself from theft — Alert your financial institutions of your plans and maybe even enroll in a program like LifeLock. Thieves have been known to take advantage of visiting patients, and you don’t need the added stress during recovery.
4. Stay connected to loved ones — “Keeping in touch with loved ones can help foster peace of mind and monitor any issues you’re having abroad.” So, the magazine says to set a time to check in with friends and family on a daily basis.
Contributed by: Shawn Langlois