American Patients and Surgeons in Cancun

Phil Galewitz writing in Kaiser Health News: To Save Money, American Patients and Surgeons Meet In Cancun

Donna Furguson lives in Mississippi. She receives health care insurance coverage through her husband’s employer, Ashley Furniture. Donna needs a knee replacement.

The hospital costs of the American medical system are so high that it made financial sense for both a highly trained orthopedist from Milwaukee and a patient from Mississippi to leave the country and meet at an upscale private Mexican hospital for the surgery.

Here’s what Donna gets:

  • A Mayo trained, US-based physician
  • All travel costs included
  • No out-of pocket copayments or deductibles
  • A $5,000 cash payment
  • The same implanted device from Johnson and Johnson that she would get state side
  • The assurance that if something goes wrong she can bring a malpractice claim against the doctor in a United States court
  • Care provided by Joint Commission accredited hospital (the Joint Commission is the gold standard of hospital accreditation for safety and quality in the US)

The doctor gets paid three times as much as if he did the procedure in the US.

In the US, knee replacements are expensive and the cost varies dramatically. In Dallas, it could cost $16,772 or $61,585. The average is about $30,000.

Ashley Furniture spent $12,000 for Donna’s procedure in Cancun.

This is a damning indictment of hospitals in United States.