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Medical Vacation in Thailand - Page 1

A Series of Article by Joe Tapp
Medical Vacations Overseas  | Medical Vacation in Thailand  | Annual Physical

In todayís economy, it is possible to look outside of the US for quality medical services.

This is due to four things.

  1. The quality of service is as good as or better than what is available in the US. Many doctors, trained in the US, have repatriated to their own country. These countries, in turn, are actively establishing a world class medical infrastructure. Often, the medical facilities are both newer and better, from a consumer point of view, than what is available in the US.
  2. The international airline infrastructure permits travel to every large city on the earth with such facilities in less than 48 hours. For non emergency medical needs, this is quite attractive.
  3. The cost for such service is often half, even a quarter, what it would cost in the US. This includes medical, travel, lodging and eating expenses. The costs of the actual procedures are as much as 85% less than what is charged in the US.
  4. The internet provides both communication with and data about medical services outside of the US. It is readily available at internet cafes in foreign cities,

    I had to have cataract surgery. I do not have medical insurance as I have enough assets to pay for what I need done. When I started looking, I assumed that the costs for the day surgery would be about $3000 or so.

I was wrong.

The doctorís fee is $2600, not including the initial exams. The hospital actually had the gall to say their cost, for a 23 hour stay, would be $19800. The stay is actually about 3 hours. They have no rate for that. Then there are the anesthesiologistsí fees and many other fees. In fact, they can not tell me how much all the costs add up to. After some negotiating, pleading etc, I came to the conclusion that the costs for cataract surgery in one eye would not be less than $10000.

I went on the internet, made inquiries to several countries, and got many responses back within three days. All of the responses were in well phrased English.

Thailand appeared to be the best place for me. I spent a year there while in the Army. There is a fairly substantial expatriate cadre of ex GIs that have retired there and I know some. There are several major, very modern hospitals there.

The hospital I selected has an English language web site. Other languages are featured as well. I am able to talk with the actual doctor re my needs. It was recommended by several of my friends living in country. They quoted me a fixed price of 55000 Baht. That is about $1430. With airfare, hotel and food the total cost would be about $3000. For a minimum saving of $5000 it is a no brainer.

My wife and I have decided to pay the same amount as the procedure would cost in the US. For that amount, we both go to Thailand for a month and stay in Bangkok for a week at a very upscale hotel. I get my surgery. We both get very substantial exams that include physical exam, oral exam, eye exam, chest x-ray, enemas, kidney and liver tests, EKG, vascular screening and several other tests. They even include a meal. We will have our teeth fixed. We get new glasses. That is one week. The next three weeks we get to stay at what I consider a very plush resort on an island in the Gulf of Thailand.

We personally know that many people go to Mexico and Poland for medical and dental needs. Thanks to the internet it is apparent that many other people go to South America, Canada and India for their needs. We are still searching for a site that acts as a clearing house for this type of thing. If you know of such a site, please forward its address to joetapp@comcast.net I plan to start such a site if there is not yet one. I believe that only competition will drive down the costs of medicine.

Someone ought to compare the costs of medical insurance with both average American income and what is actually spent on medical needs. Apparently, over 40% of all Americans do not have medical insurance. I can not find any adequate plan that costs less than $920 per month. That works out to about $11000 per year with a $2500 deductible per event. My guess is that is about 20% of the average wage earnerís income. Lower deductibles result in medical insurance costing around $2000 per month.

†Based on my limited research, the average familiesí actual medical payments are around 4% up to age 60 and about 10% after that. If they are on social security, then the numbers are meaningless. Another thing that everyone seems to overlook is that if the main payer of the plan gets sick, then the plan terminates if payments are not kept up. Want to guess who loses?

I am very interested in pursuing this matter. I am not interested in making tirades against any group. I just want to present competitive alternatives to anyone interested.. Please forward this to anyone you feel may be interested. I have all the data, including pricing, location and vendors for what I have described above. I am willing to research alternatives for anyone that is interested. I can speak to any group that may be interested.


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