They saved a lot of money, they received high-quality healthcare care and they enjoyed vacationing in the beach resorts and national parks of Costa Rica.
These were the win-win experiences relayed by three medical travelers during a panel discussion at the recent Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.
While each of the individuals traveled for different procedures, all worked through the medical travel facilitator Companion Global Healthcare, a partner of Well-Being Travel. (Well-Being Travel co-sponsored the conference with sister company Travel Market Report.)
Explaining that he has been a medical traveler himself, moderator David Boucher, president of Companion Global Healthcare, jokingly told the audience, “I’m not only president of the Hair Club for Men, I’m a client.”
Hernia leads to a vacation
A long-held desire for a vacation in Costa Rica became an unexpected reality for Ben Schreiner, an early retiree from Bank of America, after he suffered a hernia while working out in a gym. His doctor told him he needed an operation costing $14,000.
Schreiner contacted Global Companion Healthcare and learned that the equivalent procedure in Costa Rica would cost just $3,400. Factoring in the $10,000 deductible he would have paid had he undergone surgery in the U.S., he realized that would translate to a savings of $6,600.
“My wife and I figured we could take the money we saved and apply it toward a vacation in a place we had always wanted to visit,” he said. “As it turned out, our experience in Costa Rica exceeded our expectations.”
Schreiner chose an American-trained surgeon at a hospital in the capital city of San Jose. “The hospital was modern, efficient and had the latest technology and a well-trained staff,” he said. “The physical exam I had there was the best I’d ever had.”
After his operation, Schreiner spent five days recovering at a nearby hotel, attended by a nurse whose fee was included in the $3,400 charge. He then went back to the hospital for a follow-up exam and was cleared to travel within Costa Rica.
“We thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said. “We traveled to both the Caribbean and Pacific sides. We went canoeing, visited the national parks where we saw monkeys in the trees. We walked on deserted beaches where we saw sea turtle nests.”
No longer skeptical about receiving medical care overseas, his wife is planning a return visit to Costa Rica for a dermatology procedure, he said.
Second mortgage, or Costa Rica?
When Jeffrey Castle, an Atlanta-based group benefits salesman, learned that he needed to have $37,000 worth of dental work, he realized that “I could either take out a second mortgage on my house or I could go to Costa Rica.”
Castle’s dental work in Costa Rica cost him $10,000, an amount he had in his Health Savings Account. His dentist in Costa Rica was American-trained and a member of the American Dental Association.
After receiving temporary crowns, he enjoyed five days of vacationing at a beach resort where he was able to visit a national park. “Then I went back and received my permanent crowns – all were a perfect fit,” he said.
First international trip
Knee surgery in Costa Rica marked the first-ever international trip for Kathy Marlow from Euless, Texas. The $12,000 procedure – a fraction of what it would cost in the U.S. – included a four-day stay in the hospital.
Marlow never had to return to the hospital after the procedure, as her surgeon came to her hotel room to conduct the post-up checkup.
“This was the best decision I ever made,” she told the audience.
Once cleared for travel, Marlow realized a long-held dream of “putting my feet in the Pacific Ocean.”
Source: Travel Market Report