Most Shared

Weather Alert

FLASH FLOOD WATCH THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON FOR SANTA ROSA AND OKALOOSA COUNTIES.



WEATHER ALERT
Health News

Health News

 
text size

More Americans become medical tourists

Updated: Wednesday, October 2 2013, 09:00 AM CDT

The cost of healthcare in the U.S. is proving to be bad business for some companies.

Why they are sending employees on vacation to cut their costs.

"I'm so scared"

This is the first time 39-year-old Joy Guion of Hickory, North Carolina has been on a plane.

"I'm so excited"

Her destination?

The sun soaked hot spot:  Costa rica.  A four star hotel.  Local driver. Personal concierge.   But a full fledge vacation it's not.

Joy is a medical tourist, she's come to Costa Rica for weight loss surgery because of a family history of diabetes and heart disease.

"Could you have afforded this at home?"

"No"

"No chance?"

"No"

And what's more her company is paying the entire bill.  They gave Joy a choice: A traditional insurance plan or outsourcing her care in a foreign country.

"Out of pocket, how much do you have to spend?"

"Nothing. Zero."

Back home Joy's gastric sleeve surgery goes for about $30,000.  Here, less than $18,000. Her company HSM, a transportation and furniture manufacturer in Western, NC
tells ABC News it has saved nearly $10 million dollars in health care cost the past 5 years by sending close to 250 employees abroad for medical procedures.

"You're coming for a total right knee replacement"

Another HSM employee on the Costa Rica trip is 65-year-old Gary Harwell.  A retired plant manager, Gary's going for knee replacement.  His doctor earned his medical degree in Latin America but has received advanced training in the U.S.

In the U.S., Gary's knee replacement would have cost  more than $50,000 but in Costa Rica it's half that. In the U.S. Gry and Joy would have each paid $3,000 out of pocket.  In
Costa Rica,  nothing.

And get this.

When the bandages come off Joy and Gary will get a bonus check for at least $2,500 from their company:  A percentage of the corporate savings in insurance costs.But medical experts who are tracking the increasing number of Americans going abroad for  medical  care are concerned.

"What are the biggest risks and challenges with medical tourism?"

"Risk of getting an infection while abroad, risk of a poorly performed procedure," said Glenn.

At this Costa Rica private hospital there has been a very low rate of problems.  So for patients like Joy the opportunity outweighs the risk.  The opportunity of a better healthier life without breaking the bank.More Americans become medical tourists


Advertise with us!

Health Watch

  [ - ] Video Stories Only  [ - ] Text Stories Only  [ + ] Show All

ABC National Health News

Baby Can’t Open Mouth in Medical Mystery
The Scott family started a website to find out what's wrong with baby Wyatt.
New Bill Aims to Curb Overzealous Photoshopping
Could this mark an end to overzealous photoshopping of models?
Ohio Soccer Player Is Dangerously 'Allergic' to Her Own Sweat
By the time Caitlin McComish was back in fall training at University of Toledo, she had gone into shock 17 times, always near the soccer field. She missed more than a month of school and couldn't leave her apartment.
Couple Applauds FDA Warning Against Hysterectomy Procedure
The FDA warns common surgical technique could lead to dangerous spread of cancer cells.
Conjoined Twins See Sunlight For the First Time
They were finally able to go outside, seven months after surgery.
Dying Boy Who Got Unapproved Drug Leaves Hospital
Josh Hardy was dying last month, but has now left the hospital.
Group Grieving May Help Families Through South Korea Ferry Disaster
Heart-wrenching photos of families mourning loved ones lost in a South Korean ferry disaster capture what some experts say is a helpful process: group grieving.
Paralyzed Veteran Walks Again With Exo-Skeleton
An explosion paralyzed Kevin Ogilvie while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.
School Flier Counsels Kids Not to Rat Out Bullies
The school has apologized for passing out the ill-advised flier.
Grieving Widow, Widower Discover Love Again on Internet Forum
"Marisa93" and "Jim C." who are engaged and have been living together in Miamisburg, Ohio, met on the website GRACE (Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education), while their grief was still raw.
UK Doctor: 'I'd Rather Have HIV Than Diabetes'
UK doctor draws controversy after penning op-ed comparing HIV to diabetes.
Digital Mirror Shows Users Their Internal Organs
Mirror may some day help patients prepare for surgery.
No Shots, No School Amid Ohio Mumps Outbreak
At least 224 people in Franklin and Delaware counties have contracted the virus.
Lab Loses Thousands of Vials of Deadly SARS Virus
Vials containing SARS fragments not dangerous, but hint at vulnerability.
Dallas Conjoined Twins Head to Rehab
The Ezell twins, formerly conjoined, are now happy, healthy and heading to rehab.
Why Your Spouse May Be 'Hangry' for a Fight
The link between marital discord and hunger pangs.
Dangers of Vaccine Hesitancy Explained in 10 Tweets
Many parents hesitate to vaccinate their children because of safety concerns.
Watch: 8 Mumps Cases Reported at NJ College
Stevens Institute of Technology reports eight cases despite students having been fully vaccinated.
Watch: Digital Mirror Reveals Internal Organs
3D installation creates what your body might look like on the inside.
3 High-Tech Diets That Work
Experts say that dieters who include apps in their weight-loss efforts score greater success than those who don't. We asked three Health readers to each test a leading digital diet and report back.
5 Steps to Avoid Getting 'Hangry'
Your energy is zapped, your stomach is rumbling, and your personality has transformed from level-headed and sweet to short-tempered and snippy. Your hunger has led to anger: You’re officially hangry. We’ve all been there, and it’s not pretty, but fortunately—for the sake of your relationships and social life—it can be avoided. Here are five rules for thwarting hunger-induced crankiness, and the binge that often follows.
9 Real Solutions for Seasonal Allergies
To find solutions that actually work, we scoured the latest research. Here's what we found.
6 Food Labels That Don't Mean What You Think They Do
Misunderstanding these labels could be sabotaging your health.
 

Enrollment for healthcare exchanges as part of healthcare reform begins October 1 in states where exchanges will be set up. Expect special reports each week from us about what you need to know about 'Obamacare' and the ongoing political fight about its future.

To Learn More About Health Care Reform, Click Here

Navigation

Sacred Heart Health System - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Sacred Heart Cardiology - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Sacred Heart Cancer Center - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Sacred Heart Orthopedics - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Coastal Vein Institute - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
The Endoscopy Center - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Coastal Vascular & Interventional - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Stand Up Open MRI - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Advertise with us!

Tonight on ABC 3

06:30PM Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
07:00PM Last Man Standing
07:31PM Last Man Standing
08:00PM Shark Tank
09:01PM 20/20
10:00PM Channel 3 News

Complete ABC 3 Schedule