Last year, my aunt underwent dental surgery that could have cost her thousands of dollars. The cheapest quote she got in the U.S. was $45,000. To get affordable health options, and save money, she sought out-of-country care. She told me she saved more than $20,000 when I told her about my dental emergency.
I was surprised to learn she’d had her teeth fixed because all I’d heard was that she’d gone on vacation to Mexico during the summer. I interrogated her over the phone.
“What did you get done?”
“Gum surgery and implants” she said.
“Ouch! Guess bad teeth run in the family. How did you pick the dentist?”
“I got quotes last time we went to see your grandma.”
“So how much did you end up paying in total with travel?
“The round-trip cost $500, which we already planned to pay to go visit. The bill was $24,250. Everything was $24,750.”
“What if there would have been complications?”
“That’s why we stayed over the whole summer just in case I had to go back. But everything went well. Plus the dentist studied and worked here [in the U.S.] so I knew he had experience.”
Things worked out well for my aunt. She didn’t have to worry about losing hours at work since she gets the summers off. Housing was also not a problem since she stayed with relatives. These are all things you must take into consideration because they will add to the expenses.
Would I travel to another country to get inexpensive dental or doctor care? I’m not sure. I guess it depends on the kind of care I needed. I wouldn’t do it to take care of a cavity or two. Normally, I’d jump at the opportunity to save that kind of money. But I’m hesitant to say yes because I’d be scared something would go wrong and I’d find myself in a country I know little about.
My aunt’s surgery went without a glitch, but if something had gone wrong her health and dental insurance from work wouldn’t have covered expenses. Since all her expenses where covered out of pocket, she would’ve had to fork over more money. Not only that, according to this NPR story, if something goes wrong in surgeries abroad there may not be much you can do. At least, in the states we have malpractice laws and medical standards that can help right a wrong.
Would you consider going out of country to get low-cost medical or dental care?