Skip to comments.Health care reform alternative: Medical tourism
Posted on 03/24/2010 6:30:37 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
So you're not thrilled with the new healthcare reform package signed into law today by President Barack Obama. What can you do?
Well, you can be like talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and move to Costa Rica as a way of protesting the new law. Better yet, you can combine your love of travel with your need for medical care by experiencing medical tourism.
Essentially, medical tourism is the practice of traveling beyond your home country's borders to seek medical care in another nation -- usually at a much lower cost. This is especially true for surgeries not typically covered by health insurance, such as cosmetic procedures like facelifts and breast augmentation.
Dozens of countries officially recognize medical tourism as a national industry, and many overseas hospitals offer five-star care, such as Bumrungrad in Bangkok, Thailand.
How much can you save? Here are some eye-popping numbers, courtesy of the University of Delaware:
"The cost of surgery in India, Thailand or South Africa can be one-tenth of what it is in the United States or Western Europe, and sometimes even less. A heart-valve replacement that would cost $200,000 or more in the U.S., for example, goes for $10,000 in India -- and that includes round-trip airfare and a brief vacation package. Similarly, a metal-free dental bridge worth $5,500 in the U.S. costs $500 in India, a knee replacement in Thailand with six days of physical therapy costs about one-fifth of what it would in the States, and Lasik eye surgery worth $3,700 in the U.S. is available in many other countries for only $730. Cosmetic surgery savings are even greater: A full facelift that would cost $20,000 in the U.S. runs about $1,250 in South Africa."
Medical tourists from Dallas/Fort Worth and all across America are headed to such countries as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Turkey, Argentina, Brunei, Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Jordan, Lithuania, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Korea, Tunisia and New Zealand.
That's just a partial list. But medical tourism is so popular now that even tiny Latvia is getting in on the act. The former Soviet bloc country wants to be the go-to destination for Lasik eye surgery and other fountain-of-youth procedures.
(VIDEO AT LINK)
What do you think of this idea?
How to survive socialized medicine
Rush never said that! He said he would go to Costa Rica for medical attention if needed, but would not move there. The left read "move" in his statement.
My theory of life is that “jurisdiction is everything.” The Obamacare legislation and all that will surely follow ask the question - is there something to be gained by going offshore? Here in S. Florida, we are so close to a number of foreign jurisdictions - this could be the way it is gong to play out. Or perhaps cruise ships...
Medical Tourism is DEFINITELY the future. It was slowly forming anyway, now much quicker.
The bottom line, save up a wad of cash...maybe $100k (or really about $20k plus your age in thousands, add 50% if married), and then be ready to fly (on a moment’s notice) to Costa Rica, India, or somewhere, where they speak enough English, have enough well-trained Western doctors (probably American refugees), cheap (but high-quality) local nurses, and no lawyers. Then your hip changeout or quad bypass costs maybe $20k (at most), and you’re fine.
Otherwise...wait until your turn under Stupak-care, maybe a year or two or three or more.
We have a friend who lives in Thailand. He is married to a woman from there and says it is as good as here and much cheaper.
I just bought a home in Honduras. The hospitals in San Pedro Sula are as modern and efficient as most in this country — at a fraction of the price. That’s where I will be getting all of my medical care.
He’s got enough money to live quite comfortably in CR. I’m not worried about him. It’s the 150 million Americans who can’t just up and move out that worries me.
What I’m really getting at is that we (Americans) have to ADAPT to our new situation. In other words, we have to skip buying the boat, but, instead, have a wad of money ready for that trip to Costa Rica or India. If you think that you cannot save up the money, think harder...most likely there are things that you can do that will get you there...do you REALLY need that I-Phone (or would a Net10 Wireless, at $15/month do)...do you really need that $80 Comcast Cable package...why not over-the-air?...do you really need that internet connection (actually, yes...but that’s about all you need). Maybe live in an apartment for a while...the list goes on. But it’s time to hunker down...the party has ended for the middle and upper middle class (and even for some of the upper class).
Rush NEVER said he would move there. He did say he would go there for medical treatment...
Why the heck aren’t the American Indians getting into this business on their reservations? There are little bitty reservations dotting much of the continental US. Enough with the tobacco and gambling crap already — they ought to do something worthwhile that’ll make them rich AND help the rest of the nation.
Bummercare reaches to the Injun territories too, so I hear.
I’d do it. The American medical establishment is a monopoly and the charges are outrageous. They have created this monopoly by limiting the available slots in medical schools and severely limiting licensing of doctors and nurses from other countries, all to keep demand in excess of supply and their pay scales high. The only way to create price competition is to go where their monopoly doesn’t rule. Why shouldn’t we “outsource” major medical procedures as a method to force the American medical industry to address its cost problems ?
This article doesn’t mention it, but I remember reading somewhere else about American health insurance companies actually sending some heart patients to India to take advantage of these radical cost differentials. If such a policy was offered at a significantly lower premium, I’d take it.
From what I’ve read India has some world-class hospitals operating on a for-profit basis for foreigners and wealthy Indians. The amenities are supposed to be fantastic - private rooms, private nurses, a superb doctor-patient ratio. All of it at a fraction of what you’d pay in the U.S. It’s much like the elite hospitals Cuba has set up for foreigners with hard currency.
What’s really interesting is how much these places differ from what the average citizen gets in some of these countries. The “free” medical facilities the average Cuban has access to are chronically short of supplies and equipment and have long queues. India’s state-run health care system can be the stuff of nightmares:
I could also see an airline popping up to specialize in transporting sick people, complete with medical equipment and doctors.
“Why the heck arent the American Indians getting into this business on their reservations? There are little bitty reservations dotting much of the continental US. Enough with the tobacco and gambling crap already they ought to do something worthwhile thatll make them rich AND help the rest of the nation.”
My husband is a member of the Choctaw Tribe from Okalahoma. They already have some sort of health care available which his membership card would make him qualified for. I just don’t know the details.
Heads above the United States and the gap will grow even more. Statement of fact. Love America. Hate Communism.
Hey I’ve been looking into Costa Rica for a long time.
A lot of medical stuff going on in CR.
Dental tourism to Mexico use to be the in thing.
Conceivable, but a LONG way off. You need a high enough concentration of people at each end of the trip to make it worthwhile...we’ll likely get there, but not for at least a decade or two.
“Why the heck arent the American Indians getting into this business on their reservations?”
That would be GREAT, but if, and a big IF, they can operate freely...meaning telling lawyers to TAKE A HIKE, telling regulators that they ONLY take paying customers, and simply setting their own rules and standards on what qualifications are required for support staff.
If they do have that much freedom on the reservations, then they can be the safety valve that all of us desire...but don’t want to fly overseas for.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.