Thanks to our current economic system, as well as other factors of supply and demand, getting time off to take care of your health can feel nigh impossible. When you combine the amount of money you lose from not working to the amount of money you have to pay for getting an important procedure done, it can feel like an impossible feat. Especially if you live in an area where you can barely cover rent with multiple jobs and have no passport.
So, what can you do that can get you the care you need? And how do you avoid losing too much money in the process within your travel limits? That is where interstate medical tourism comes into play.
Saving by Going Abroad
When it comes to medical tourism, people run on the assumption that the destinations in mind always involve Costa Rica, Mexico, or the Philippines. The idea behind the premise does sound solid when you take into account:
- Medical procedures are much cheaper abroad
- The destinations in question have a high tourism rate
- It makes the most of recovery time by both combining the concept of a vacation and a medical treatment, all while being cost-effective.
In theory, these can satisfy a series of needs at a reasonable price. After all, who wouldn’t want to get as much as possible from their time off by getting a much-needed procedure, going on vacation, and save money while doing it?
It is also backed up by studies that compare the cost of a procedure from one country with another. “For instance, the cost of weight loss surgery in the United States is around $15,000 whereas the price of bariatric surgery in Mexico begins from $3,899”. If that isn’t an encouraging reason for people to jump on the bandwagon, then nothing is.
Drawbacks from International Medical Tourism
However, there are a few drawbacks to going abroad that most people don’t talk about when it comes to medical tourism. Or if they do, they make a quick news segment.
We covered the topic before, but some of this does bear repeating. Some of the major risks that come with medical tourism on a global scale include:
- Language Barrier:
- There are countries that utilize English as a common second language, and the knowledge of the language has gotten much better compared to a few years ago.
- However, America’s lackluster approach to second language literacy and cultural differences can provide an extra hurdle for patients going abroad. And if your health is in their hands you want crystal clear communication.
- Uncertain Medical Standards:
- While there are international regulations regarding worldwide healthcare, every country still has its own governing standards. The presence of the World Health Organization isn’t going to determine the quality of care you receive on elective surgery. They are busy dealing with more important health care issues like vaccinations and reducing disease in third world areas.
- Travel Logistics:
- There could be various reasons why traveling in and out of a country can be harder than you think. There is, of course, the need for a passport and identification.
- Also, there is no guarantee that you will make it to your appointment. Flights can get canceled at any time. Sometimes for freak weather or because there is political tension.
But, if you decide to exclude international travel, what is left? Traveling from State to State.
If You Go From State to State
The interesting thing about the United States is that while they fall under a federal umbrella of a lot of things, they still differ drastically from one another. For example, if you lived in Massachusetts, the cost of gastric sleeve surgery would be on average, $31,150. That is on the high end of the range. Now, look at a state like Alabama. The cost of a gastric sleeve surgery there is at around $14,935. If you were to book surgery in another state, you could cut your cost almost in half.
Also, if you are going from one state to another, there is going to be less of a language better. While you may encounter the occasional dialect difference, such as “pop” vs “coke” it hardly compares to a language gap compared to trying to navigate around a country that has Portuguese as their primary language.
Plus, while there is more finite state by state standards, they all fall under the Federal umbrella of regulations. So, you are more likely to know the standards that the doctors or surgeons need to follow to legally practice.
Another thing to think about is that you don’t have to fly if you don’t want to. If you are just one or two states away, then you can easily make a quick drive to where you are getting your procedure done. Also, if there is an emergency, or somehow the surgery wasn’t right, you are more likely to get it addressed sooner.