Medical Tourism, New Healthcare Reform?
There’s never been a better time to visit Costa Rica- really.
As the cost of food and other living expenses goes up, one would think that people in the US would be less inclined to travel to exotic destinations than ever before. With gas prices skyrocketing, why would anybody in his right mind choose to hop on a plane headed for Thailand, India, or Mexico?
But that’s exactly what more people are doing these days, and believe it or not, their motives are cost-effective.
“Medical Tourism” is at a statistical high, with hopeful patients traveling as far as South Korea for a tummy tuck, Malaysia for a gastric lap band, or Singapore for a gastric bypass. With hospital safety standards equal to that of American hospitals, many countries in Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific are cashing in on their newly acquired medical technology by appealing to Americans who are tired of paying high health care prices.
The $6K rule of thumb
Medical tourism agencies have sprouted to meet the demands of US citizens seeking low-cost bariatric surgeries, heart surgeries, and cosmetic surgeries. But what about the cost of air travel, time off from work, and other vacation expenses? How can you be sure that you won’t just break even in the end, or worse, end up paying more than you would had you elected for surgery in the US of A?
Josef Woodman, author of the consumer guide, Patients Beyond Borders, suggests getting a complete quote from your healthcare insurance, including the actual price of surgery, plus overnight hospital stays and doctor visits. If the total comes out to more than $6,000, then call your travel agent. Chances are, you can save a significant amount of money by searching outside the US for a more economical quote.
Compare the cost:
1) United States
Gastric Bypass- $32K, Gastric Lap Band- $30K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $7-20K, Tummy Tuck- $6-9K
Gastric Bypass- $11K, Gastric Lap Band- $9K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $9K, Tummy Tuck- $4K
3) Costa Rica
Gastric Bypass- $10-12K, Gastric Lap Band- $8K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $10K, Tummy Tuck- $4K
Gastric Bypass- $10K, Gastric Lap Band- $9K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $5K, Tummy Tuck- $3K
Gastric Bypass- $9K, Gastric Lap Band- $11K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $9K, Tummy Tuck- $5K
Gastric Bypass- $12K, Gastric Lap Band- $8K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $8K, Tummy Tuck- $4K
Gastric Bypass- $16K, Gastric Lap Band $9K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $11K, Tummy Tuck- $6K
Gastric Bypass- $13-16K, Gastric Lap Band- $14K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $13K, Tummy Tuck- $5K