About the authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular web...
About the authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books
The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
Edificio Sixtino Hospital in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Source: author.
We often get readers asking us basic questions about medical tourism and wanted to share the answers to some of the most common questions we get asked. How do you know if this option will work for you? The following should help you decide.
Q: I have heard the term "medical tourism," but what exactly is it?
A: Generally, medical tourism refers to going outside your own home state to receive medical care. For example, for years people in the U.S. have been traveling from their home state to the Mayo Clinic for treatment. Canadians often come to the U.S. for procedures, perhaps because they don't want to deal with long waits in their own home country.
Today, medical tourism most often refers to traveling outside one's own country for treatment. There are dozens of countries, such as Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica, India, Guatemala, Singapore, and the Philippines, that offer excellent medical care in ultra-modern facilities to patients from other countries for very affordable prices.
Q: Isn't it scary having an operation in a foreign country?
A: The idea is frightening to many people, most likely because it is out of their comfort zone. Having surgery is stressful under the best of circumstances, and the thought of going outside one's home country can put some people over the top. Not everyone would choose this option, but for those who are self-insured, have limited coverage, or do not want to put off surgery such as a hip or knee replacement, for example, medical tourism can provide excellent care at prices that are feasible.
Q: What happens if something goes wrong -- say, my knee replacement doesn't work properly?
A: This is an excellent question, and often people stop pursuing the subject right there, assuming there is no assistance for them if something goes wrong. Shopping for a medical service provider overseas is to be taken seriously. Depending on which company you choose and the package you purchase, rehabilitation, medication, and follow-up care may be included in the price.
For those who are especially concerned about this, you can purchase "adverse outcome" insurance in the States before having a procedure done. The U.S.-based insurance company will pay out if, say, a facelift or hip replacement goes awry.
Q: What about dental care? Do overseas clinics offer that as well?
A: Some countries excel in dental surgeries and mouth restoration. Even if you want routine work such as a root canal, bridge, or crown, the money you can save by having it done elsewhere could pay for your trip. If you need several dental implants, you can save a significant amount of money by having the procedures done overseas.
Operating room in Edificio Sixtino Hospital, Guatemala City, Guatemala. Source: author.
Q: OK, let's talk more about cost. Honestly, is there that much difference considering that I need to take a flight and stay in a hotel?
A: Absolutely! It is no secret that the delivery of medical care in the States is beyond expensive, and is out of the reach of many, even those with insurance deductibles. If, for instance, you have a pre-existing heart condition or had cancer some years ago, many insurance companies will not cover you. In these cases, treatment in the States can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not so overseas.
For example: A heart valve replacement in the States can cost $170,000 but will run you $24,000 in Guatemala City. Chemotherapy in the States runs about $75,000 but is les