Today’s post will take a look at several cost comparisons for various types of procedures and their costs in multiple countries with the idea of seeing where one might possibly be able to afford a needed surgery in the future.
Big Fat Disclaimer: This post is for educational purposes only. I have not used any of these companies, nor do I endorse their services. It is only to be used as a wide look & to start your investigations.
A Broad Look at Medical Procedure Costs Worldwide
Below are several charts from several commercial medical tourism sites. I borrowed the chart below from http://www.indiaprofile.com/medical-tourism/cost-comparison.html It lists quite a few common procedures & their respective costs around the world. It’s a promotional piece for India’s medical community, but wow, look at the differences in cost.
|Treatment Cost Comparison|
|Procedures||US ($)||Costa Rica ($)||India ($)||Korea ($)||Mexico ($)||Thailand ($)||Malaysia ($)|
|Heart Valve Replacement||$170,000||$30,000||$5,500||$43,500||$18,000||$21,212||$10,580|
|Lasik (both eyes)||$4,400||$1,800||$500||$6,000||$1,995||$1,818||$477|
|Cornea (both eyes)||N/A||$4,200||N/A||$7,000||N/A||$1,800||N/A|
On a personal note, I had a corneal transplant done in 2001, and at that time it was $13,000 in the US. I would venture that it’s gone up significantly since then. On the other hand, the surgery was excellent & I have had zero problems since. My regular ophthalmologist in Lima ($50 for an hour thorough exam) says it’s one of the best that he’s ever seen.
Here’s another comparison taken from http://pilgrimed.com/medical-tourism-information/cost-comparisons.html
|Heart Valve Replacement||$170,000||$31,000||$31,000||$3,000|
Another excellent chart of costs can be found at : http://www.medicaltourism.com/en/compare-costs.html Once again, even keeping in mind that these are “promotional” charts meant to entice you to use a service, but one can see that the differentials in price are dramatic.
Here’s some simple steps to start and a potentially more cost effective method:
1) Do your homework first – Did you get a second opinion yet? The obvious cost saving is the one where you don’t even have to have surgery. Let’s face it, doctors and health professionals may be altruistic or not. It’s only common sense to not blindly take advice even from a most trusted friend. Always verify, for even the pros can make innocent mistakes. Ok, so now you’re certain that you need treatment. Research specific countries to see who really has a reputation for what you need done. Another country may be less expensive, but do they have the facilities and skilled doctors that you need?
2) Try to find someone on the ground – Unless you can afford to live for several months in your new medical country, you’ll want to establish a relationship with someone who works & lives there. Now that can be as easy using one of the many service companies that are out there (make sure you research them well too,) or the possibility exists of finding a translator/gopher to guide you.
Get help online at Elance or workaholics4hire (for research) & see if you can locate someone willing to be your “eyes” on the street. Make a list of the best specialists where you will be potentially going for Using Skype & a translator, you can actually even interview your physician from the comfort of your own living room. You will need a good internet connection.
3) Think about logistics – Do you need time off from work? Need to arrange for pets, kids, parents etc.? Now is the time to think about how that can be handled. Do it yourself or if you’re super busy use: Get Friday for a virtual personal assistant.
Plan to travel away from major holidays etc. (and check out which days are holidays where you plan to go.) You’ll not only save money, but you’ll encounter better prices and less competition if you can go in an “off” time.
4) Make your own arrangements – Whether you use an existing medical tourism service, or search for your own medical professional, it will generally be less expensive if you can book your own air travel etc.
Often, however with an existing company you will find basic transportation & living quarters included in the price. Some will be even comparable to a 4 or 5 star hotel! You may be able to find something less than 5 star yourself and be able to negotiate a lower price for your treatment. Here again for a virtual personal assistant for help in planning and booking you can use Get Friday.
5) Learn some basic language – A smile can go a long way, but at least knowing the basics in your medical destination country will make the experience much more enjoyable & less intimidating. There are many apps & websites today that can help. Use Skype to find a practice tutor so that you’ll have spoken at least a little. Several hours over a month or so now can be a world of difference when you’re far away. With the cost of care increasing rapidly, it behooves one to view all options before blindly committing to spending thousands of dollars for procedures that have now become routine.
©2015 Ben Gangloff
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