The rise of medical tourism

Getting Around By Dear Alyne June 27, 2018

Dear Alyne is a World Citizen and has been to 72 countries around over the Globe. She is a WU customer and guest blogger who we’ve teamed up with. Follow along with her adventures, here:   

Around the world, medical prices are climbing higher and higher, and in my home country, the United States, if you don’t have insurance, a simple procedure can wipe out all of your savings. And when I got a terrible toothache, that’s what I thought would happen to me. You see, I’m from LA, where a root canal is expensive.  But luckily, I found an alternative. This is the story of how that simple toothache turned into a journey around the world, and I was introduced to the world of Medical Tourism.

So, what is “Medical Tourism”? It simply means visiting a country other than your own for medical care. As many countries develop, so do their services. , You may be able to get the same medical care for a more reasonable price. Here’s a crazy fact. For the price of a root canal in some parts of the US, you can fly to Mexico, stay in a hotel for 5 days, AND get a root canal! It’s almost like getting a free vacation with your root canal!

So, what did I do? Well like I mentioned, I’m American, but I wasn’t in the US when the pain hit, I was already on the road. In fact, I was in Israel, where the price tag for a root canal can be expensive. The irony is, I had my tooth misdiagnosed and mistreated TWICE, in the very modern and developed country of Israel. I was wasting precious time and money in a place I thought would be the best choice. I spent hundreds of dollars on dentists who spent too little time diagnosing and too much time trying to file through patients.

So, I flew next door… to Egypt! I was a little nervous, what was I doing?! But I quickly made some local Egyptian friends (thanks internet!), got a referral to their long time, trusted family dentist, and within the week, I was sitting in the gilded office of a lovely, English speaking specialist who performed a root canal for the grand total of $120.

What I learned from this experience is that other countries can have amazing medical care, and for much better prices. Back home, many of us are raised to be afraid of the healthcare systems outside the US. Medical and Dental care should help you feel LESS pain, not MORE pain, and high prices can be stressful and unaffordable. So next time your tooth starts to ache, remember you may have options. ­­