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Monday, December 31, 2007

AARP: Can't Afford Surgery in United States? 500,000 Americans Went Overseas for Treatment in 2006

AARP has an article titled "Traveling for Treatment - Soaring U.S. Health Costs Are Driving More Americans Abroad For Medical Treatment, " by Anthony Mecir and Katharine Greider, Sept. 2007. For many people going overseas is the only affordable way to get the surgery they need without bankrupting their savings. For example, one couple gave up their medical insurance when the premiums were over $1,000 per month. They flew to New Delhi, India, where instead of costing $40,000 to $60,000, a hip surgery plus the travel expenses cost $15,000.

People who cannot obtain or cannot afford insurance due to pre-existing conditions may not have a choice if they need a knee replacement, hip surgery, prostrate or other surgery. The medical tourism websites say that people may save from 30% to 80% of the cost by going outside of the United States for surgery.

For example, Bumrungrad, Thailand, has a JCI accredited hospital with state of the art equipment. English is spoken more often there than any other language. The article said the 45 to 65 year old group, including self-employed people without medical insurance, early retirees, and workers who have lost their benefits are among the patients there from the United States.

I have an acquaintance who is unable to obtain medical insurance in the United States due to pre-existing conditions. This person is much too young for Medicare, but needs a knee replacement due to wear and tear for many years following a knee reconstruction.

A chart at the website We Care Health Services compares prices of surgeries in the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. A total knee replacement in the United States can cost $30,000, and in India the chart lists it at $7600. Bypass surgery in the United States is $35,000 and in India $6,500.

If someone without insurance must pay out of their savings for surgery, overseas surgery may be the only option left. The article said people who have never traveled or had a passport have gone overseas for treatment due to financial necessity.

There are precautions one can take, such as checking for JCI, Joint Commission International Hospital Accreditation Program. You can check for overseas hospitals that have a large number of U.S. trained, board certified, medical doctors, and state of the art equipment.

The website at Med Journeys has information about costs and savings, surgical procedures, doctors, hospitals, and other pertinent information.

For those who are self-employed, who have lost their insurance, and who cannot obtain insurance due to pre-existing conditions, getting an affordable surgery overseas may be the answer.

1 comment:

brent said...

You're welcome to visit MedRetreat, a U.S. owned and operated medical tourism service agency, at for more thorough education about medical tourism. MedRetreat was developed to help protect the American consumer when traveling abroad to receive medical procedures.