I'm Fleeing The Country For Healthcare!
It’s all the buzz lately as healthcare costs rise, and especially after Michael Moore’s SICKO caught the attention of the masses. Those of us not living in places where everyone seems to get a free ride on the healthcare wagon are up in arms. Yet, we don’t seem to hear enough from those who take the leap and leave their home country in search of less expensive (and often higher quality) care. So, how can we know if it’s worth the trip? I’m going to India to find out. There are a million questions spinning around about this subject and I want to hear from WB readers. Maybe together we can bring light to this important issue. Please post questions on this thread and let me see if I can dig up some answers for all of us.
The term “medical tourism” equals big business. It was originally connected to boob jobs and face lifts in faraway lands. Now, it’s not so. People are leaving the country for major medical procedures such as cardiac surgery and organ transplants, which are depending on the country, often 5 to 10 times lower than the cost in the states. A bone marrow transplant that could cost approximately $250,000 in the U.S. is about $26,000 in India. Some countries are offended by the coined term of “medical tourism” because of its negative connotation. It’s regularly associated with people setting off to vacation-type destinations for cosmetic surgery at upscale spa-like facilities. These countries want credit for being just as technologically advanced in medicine as we are – and in many cases, even more so.
After navigating the medical maze all across the United States for years, I’m getting on a plane and going to New Delhi, India Dec. 9th for treatment that’s not legal here – embryonic stem cell therapy. After developing severe neuropathy (nerve damage in my limbs) at the age of 25, I began a journey that I could have never imagined would lead me nearly 8,000 miles from home. Earlier this year, I discovered that the neuropathy, along with a host of other serious health problems, was due to an undiagnosed case of Lyme Disease and other infections transferred from the tick that bit me. I do believe long-term antibiotic therapy is helping to control the Lyme bacteria. Unfortunately, my immune system, nerves and tissue have all been compromised over this time period. This is an ongoing battle for me - one that has amazing financial consequences as my health insurance denies claims and prescriptions left and right. I believe embryonic stem cells will help to restore my body. To me, it’s priceless to be able to receive this type of treatment because it’s a chance at a healthy life I don’t have the opportunity for here. In addition, maybe it will put an end to or at least curb future medical costs by helping my body heal instead of masking its problems. Even if the treatment was available in the U.S., I’m confident the cost would be astronomical and not covered by insurance.
Some are adamant there is high risk associated with leaving the country for medical care, but I’m not worried. I’ve suffered long enough, researched and utilized western medicine (which I’m thankful to have) - but now it’s time to step outside of the box. The average cost for procedures and care in India are about 1/5 what they are in the west; it’s one of the biggest pharmaceutical distributors to over 180 countries; and clinical outcomes for surgeries and treatment are par with the world’s best centers. To me, not following this road would pose the biggest risk of all – possibly at the cost of my future health.
If you want to follow my India trip, you can do so at www.HealthcareHacks.com over the next two months. But, I'll be back on WB to report what the quality, cost and attitude of healthcare is in a country that’s third-world by most standards, but ironically can offer more than available in many flourishing countries.