For our ages (61 and 62) we are extremely healthy and have cruised the last two years without medical insurance. If one is out of the US more than 350 days in the calendar year, that's perfectly okay, but now that we are back in the US for several months we decided to look into medical insurance.
Using the terribly difficult-to-navigate Healthcare.gov website, we were offered a policy for $1600.00 per month with a $9000.00 deductible. That could add up to $28,200.00 annually if we had to use it. And, $1600.00 per month is HALF our income. How could that possibly be considered affordable?
The Captain recently developed a hernia which is fairly common for men his age, and surgical repair is the only solution. We've had lots of things to take care of in the last two months what with the generator repair, moving the boat to St. Augustine, and dealing with Hurricane Matthew, but finally we were ready to get his hernia repaired.
And what do you think we did ?
We flew to Costa Rica where he had his hernia repaired in a first rate hospital for a fraction of the cost an American hospital would have charged. The hospital was clean, modern, and efficient. The staff was skilled, kind and many spoke English. The doctor was gentle, compassionate, and spoke excellent English.
The doctor charged $3500.00, the hospital charged $2008.00, the hotel was $1500.00, and the airfare was $800.00. So for $8000.00 we got the Captain repaired and had a mini vacation too. We know we will be penalized on our tax return next year for not having medical insurance, but even adding that onto the cost of the surgery, we will still be money ahead.
Now I understand that this option might not be for everyone, but we are very comfortable travelers, and we've had lots of experience with hospitals. Our oldest daughter's medical condition has led us to experience many different surgeries, medical procedures, and situations so we feel comfortable, not stressed, in hospitals. If we had seen anything unusual we would have questioned it, but every step of the process was professional and predictable.
The point of this post is not only to demonstrate our frustration with, and lack of faith in, the American medical system and the Affordable Care Act, but also to offer an affordable option for others in our situation. Medical tourism is quite a common occurrence in Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, Brazil, Singapore and Malaysia. The rich and famous have been doing this for ages, but with the increasing cost of health care in America, maybe it's time for the rest of us to follow suit.
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