Can I get that medical procedure for less?

A recent advertisement by a prominent phone company talks about bad decisions people make, and one of them is a funny line about getting cut-rate medical care.  However, this growing trend – going overseas for medical procedures – isn’t without basis.  Take, for example , Coronary Artery Bypass.  A recent article in found that the average price in the United States is $67,583.  Now, whats your view of care in other countries?  If you went to Switzerland, you could save over $40,000.  In Germany its only $16,578.  India? $4,525, or 1493% less!

The same applies to mid-level procedures- An MRI in the US ($1080) is almost 4 times the price of the same test, same machine, in Spain, France, India and Argentina.  The differences are even more pronounced in Cataract surgery and appendectomies. 

Another issue that relates to this is that in some states (South Carolina included) you cannot buy maternity Coverage on an individual insurance plan.  So whats the women to do?  A normal delivery in the US averages $9280, and can be as high as $15,000 in some regions.  For that money, the women could fly to Canada, pay for the plane flights, a couple of nights in a hotel, and come back with money in her pocket-  its only $3195 in Canada, and $1291 in Argentina.

We spend 17.4% of our GDP on health care for worse outcomes and poorer overall health.  Hospitalizations cost three times more in the US than the next most expensive developed country, Germany.

It is small wonder that 6 million americans travelled overseas in 2009 for medical procedures.  If we do not get our health care system under control, the trend will most likely accelerate.