We’ve heard of traveling to Mexico or India for saving big bucks on expensive surgery, but now “medical tourism” is a realistic option for travel to Europe and other “first world” places too, with similar big savings.
The issue this highlights is not just pinching pennies, but why is American medical care so expensive, with no better outcomes?
Blog readers should check out this New York Times piece by reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal, who traveled to Warsaw, Indiana, home of the world’s biggest manufacturers of hip and knee implants, to find out why those same implants cost so much more for Americans than when they are shipped overseas. Hint: One reason is the legal tangle created by Congress that makes it hard for Medicare and other insurers to negotiate better prices.
The article gives many examples. The first: a Colorado patient who flew to Belgium for a hip replacement, at a total cost of $13,660, which would have cost him as much as $100,000 in the U.S.
Readers who want to know more about medical tourism and medical “vacations” should check out our recent newsletter on the ups and downs of the concept.