Monday, August 10, 2009

US health care v. Canadian. A father's passing tells the story

My friend Kenny posts on the passing of his father, in distant Canada. It's a story to be taken to heart.

My sympathy, Kenny.


Hamster said...

I just thought I'd mention what my wife and I have done to cut the cost of health care.
We are in our 60's and self of the most unfortunate groups of all. Our Blue Shield premiums are $920 per month. Our deductible is $4000 for me and $4000 for my wife.
(I understand that is pretty standard for folks at our age and with our health conditions)
So before I can get a dime of help from my insurance policy I have to spend $15,000 per year out of pocket on medical bills and premiums.
Needless to say we try not to use the medical system in the US unless we have to.
Over the last 5 years we've started going to Thailand for our medical checkups, dental care and medical needs.
Almost every November we hop on a plane and head to Bangkok where we check in a private hospital called Vejthani. Airfare can vary from $800-$1200 round trip depending on what class you fly. But even taking that into consideration...we really save a lot
There are a lot of hospitals in Bangkok that cater to Americans..the best known is called Bumrungrad Hospital which was featured in the "60 minutes" episode. (more expensive but still cheap by us standards)
Many Private hospitals in Thailand put my local US hospital to shame.
The care is excellent, equipment brand new and the cost...just a fraction of what I would have to pay out of pocket in the US. For example, last November I had an Endoscopic balloon dilation for a condition known as dysphagia. The specialist in the US said the operation would cost me $2500. (His bill for the 15 minute consultation was $250.) I decided to wait until I got to Thailand
This time I had it done at a public hospital in Bangkok called Chulalongkorn Hospital...cost $100 including biopsy, (all I needed for ID was my US passport. No questions asked!!)

I have to keep my US insurance in case I have a heart attack or get hit by a bus. Otherwise I would like to drop my health insurance here and just rely on the Thai medical system.

Anyway, that's my solution to the health care problem.

Larry Thorson said...

Thanks, Hamster, for your great story. I was in the Peace Corps in Thailand and respect the people there highly. I've also heard of people going to the Dominican Republic for fine medical care or to Colombia or Venezuela. Some years ago I had a barber whose wife needed urgent treatment for a serious but not life-threatening condition. Her bill was $15,000 for a day in a Miami Beach hospital. He said he wished he could have gone back to their native Cuba for treatment at a reasonable price, though he hated the lack of freedom in Cuba. Yet he couldn't afford health insurance in the US. This happened about halfway through the Bush 43 administration, which did nothing to tackle medical costs.