All Americans now know that American medical and dental costs are the costliest in the world. The average person or his or her insurance company pays about twice as much as a resident needing care in the next most expensive country.
Today, some fifty million U.S. residents lack medical or dental coverage, For them, injury is added to insult because hospitals charge patients without coverage much more for services than people having good coverage.
It is a shame that the U.S. allows so many people to suffer. Indeed, it is the only First World country to turn its back on its own citizens and residents.
Certainly, if you do not have that kind of money you always have this option: suffer in silence.
This is where Costa Rica medical care comes in for thousands of injured and ill American tourists. Why? Because they understand that they can save up to 65% in this little country for the identical services they would receive in their hometown. Every year, more than 25,000 people, mostly Americans, board a plane or cruise ship and head south for medical care in close to home Costa Rica.
Only the best hospitals in the world have Joint Commission International Accreditation. There are thousands and thousands of hospitals on the planet but only a small percentage attain the excellence for JCI accreditation.
Three Costa Rica hospitals are JCI accredited, providing assurance that they meet the highest international standards for hospitals and patient care.
Those hospitals are Clinica Biblica. Cima, and La Catolica, all in or within minutes of San Jose, the country's capitol.
This tropical paradise offers internationally accredited medical hospitals and board certified doctors, many of whom have studied and trained in the U.S. and other world renowned universities. The procedures in Costa Rica rival the quality of anywhere but at prices that boggle one's mind.
Lasik eye surgery that can run up to $5,000 in the States is less than $2,000.
Aesthetic surgery accounts for more than 13% of all tourists medical care in Costa Rica. Increasing numbers of women come for face lifts. Instead of paying $10,000 in an American clinic or hospital, they hop a plane, pay $3,000 or less, get the procedure they want, recuperate in a tropical paradise on a Costa Rica vacation, and go home with money in their pocket.
Others go on vacation to Costa Rica and, while there, undergo breast augmentation. The cost? About $3,200 or so. That is thousands less than in the United States.
Seriously injured people find similar savings. If you do not have health insurance and need total knee replacement surgery in the U.S., expect a $30,000 bill. Or, take a Costa Rica vacation. Clinica Biblica charges less than $12,000 for the same procedure.
In addition to the three JCI accredited hospitals, there are three clinics accredited by the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Facilities. They are UNIBE (Universidad de Iberoamerica) which offers ambulatory and surgical care; Sonrisa Por Todo (Smiles for Everybody) providing dental care; and Pino Plastic Surgery Clinic.
More than a third of all medical tourists in this Central American country come for dental surgery or dental implants. Implants that cost $3,000 in the U.S. are between $500-$750 in Costa Rica. Cavities are painless fixed with technologically advanced laser techniques for about $25 each. Periodontal surgery that is at least $2,500 at your local dentist is about $400.
There is an American myth that American medical care is the best in the world. More and more Americans have discovered that care in Costa Rica rivals that of the United States, but at a third of the cost. That is why so many thousands Americans essentially outsource their own surgical procedures to a little foreign country.
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Victor C. Krumm lives in sunny Costa Rica and writes the popular Costa Rica Vacations website. Check out the great Costa Rica Seven Wonders
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