By Jessica L. Anderson
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Published: September 16, 2007
The reason to go overseas for surgery is simple: You could pay a fraction of
what you’d pay in the United States.
A hip replacement stateside can run between $44,000 and $63,000, vs. about
$12,000 to $18,000 abroad, even with travel and hotel costs included. Although
prices vary depending on your destination and the type of surgery, it isn’t
unusual to save as much as 80 percent.
Greg Scandlen, president of Consumers for Health Care Choices, says the best
candidates for overseas treatment are individuals who lack health insurance or
have high-deductible health plans. People who are uninsured "pay out of their
own pocket regardless of where the surgery takes place," says Scandlen.
Plus, says Jonathan Edelheit, vice president of insurance group OptiMed
Health/United Group Programs, foreign hospitals often rival those found in the
No doubt Michael Hornholtz would agree. After having surgery to straighten a
broken nose in 1974, Hornholtz, now 66, experienced chronic nerve pain. For
years, he searched for a doctor who would correct the problem. After a friend
suggested that he might have better luck abroad, Hornholtz contacted
PlanetHospital, a medical-tourism company.
com) found him a doctor in Singapore who would perform nasal surgery to repair
the nerve damage. The company made his travel arrangements and had a staff
member tend to him from the time he landed in Singapore until he returned home.
Two weeks after his surgery, Hornholtz was thrilled with the outcome. Because he
couldn’t find a surgeon in the United States, price wasn’t an issue. But, he
says, the total cost, which he estimates was about $12,000, was well worth it.
Hornholtz paid all his expenses directly to the providers, from the travel
arrangements to the hospital and doctor. PlanetHospital charged a $395 concierge
If you intend to go overseas for medical care and are making arrangements on
your own, check ahead and check credentials. Ask whether the hospital is
accredited by the Joint Commission International, the international arm of the
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the major U.S.