Thursday, June 10, 2010

Colonoscopy: $9,000 in the U.S.; $350 in Costa Rica



Video segment about a retired Detroit meteorologist, with a high deductible for his health insurance, who turned to medical tourism in Costa Rica for a common procedure. Quotes for a routine colonoscopy in the U.S. were as high as $9,000 (and as low as $2,000), but only $350 in Costa Rica.

20 Comments:

At 6/10/2010 3:58 PM, Blogger Bill said...

This is not a routine procedure and can cause serious complications and/or death if done improperly. I wouldn't want to do this on the cheap.

 
At 6/10/2010 5:09 PM, Anonymous JGH said...

Gee, I think Medicare pays me $250. Maybe I should be doing these in Costa Rica.

 
At 6/10/2010 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So who is getting that much. It is not the doctor.

 
At 6/10/2010 8:31 PM, Blogger Adam said...

People think that if it isn't outlandishly expensive that somehow it isn't safe.. I'd look further into this.

 
At 6/10/2010 9:43 PM, Blogger bobble said...

i think the $9000 quoted here is bogus. a search of the internet turned up an average cost of about $3000. here's one example:

"For those not covered by health insurance, the cost of colonoscopy varies by provider and geographic region, usually ranging from $2,010 to $3,764, with an average of $3,081, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina."

source

maybe the author meant 'colostomy', which is more expensive.

 
At 6/10/2010 11:07 PM, Anonymous Dignity said...

Uh, I don't think I'd want a $350 colonoscopy. That's one flight I go first class.

 
At 6/10/2010 11:17 PM, Anonymous Hydra said...

A colostomy is not the same as a colonoscopy.

Anyway, so much for high deductible health insurance.

Your choice: high deductible health insurance or high, deducted taxes.

 
At 6/10/2010 11:26 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

I do think for non emergency surgeries you can find equivalent quality in a number of countries to what you find in the us. Typically at least 1 hospital in the capital city is up to us standards because there are enough rich and expats to make it fly. Anyway recent studies show that the US tends to overtest and overtreat, the number of Cat Scans and MRIs being one index. Of course if you go offshore you loose access to the malpractice lottery (primarily your lawyer does not so much you)

 
At 6/11/2010 6:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could save the 350 by not having one.
The va which takes care of veteran's medical problems,has been guilty of not properly sterilizing their tubes.
Now,why would anyone in their right mind,believe a money savings
is worth the chance of getting aids ,hepatitis etc.?
You sometimes have to pay for first class med care.
All of you who voted for national health care,will soon find this out.

 
At 6/11/2010 7:12 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Well what's interesting is balancing the costs of getting a domestic colonoscopy versus the costs of flying somewhere else and getting it done...

Locally I could have one done for the low, low price of $1650 versus price of a flight plus fees and hotel stay...

So for me personally the idea of going to San Jose, Costa Rica for a colonoscopy is a non-starter...

 
At 6/11/2010 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't have to go that far. I have had 3 colonoscopies in the last 20 years here in Cordoba, Mexico. Private doctor and hospital op. room. all less than $300 including everything.

Had a double cataract op and total was $1300--private NOT public health.

 
At 6/11/2010 11:38 AM, Blogger jonathan said...

Check out http://www.medicaltourismassociation.com , the non profit trade association for patients traveling to other countries

also the medical tourism magazine, www.medicaltourismmag.com

 
At 6/11/2010 12:34 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Well what's interesting is balancing the costs of getting a domestic colonoscopy versus the costs of flying somewhere else and getting it done...

Never mind the costs of security in those countries? Nothing adds to the cost more than kidnapping for ransom in a Third World hellhole. Mexico or Costa Rica.

 
At 6/11/2010 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned the hard way that health care in San Jose, CR, is top-notch. While on vacation I experienced 3 grand mal epileptic seizures and was taken to Clinica Biblica. I was more impressed with the care and medical advice I received there than anywhere I've been in the US, albeit limited experience.
As far as security goes San Jose is much safer than urban US cities populated by welfare receiving degenerates. Just "dress down."

 
At 6/11/2010 5:44 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"So for me personally the idea of going to San Jose, Costa Rica for a colonoscopy is a non-starter..."

juandos, where's your sense of adventure? It's the new hip vacation destination for the rich and famous.

Instead of saying "I vacationed in the Greek isles.", the jet-setters now brag "I got a colonoscopy in Puerto Rico.

You should check with your tax guy to make sure, but I believe your whole vacation would be tax deductable as a medical expense.

Also, I predict that as this popular technology becomes widespread, we will see the developement of a colonoscopy kit you can use yourself at home, under the careful guidance of a remote doctor. Perhaps as a usb connected device on your home computer.

 
At 6/11/2010 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Low cash prices such as this may be the only way to keep the US out of national bankruptcy. Why not let Costa Rica and Mexico open clinics here, staffed with their personnel? A genuine free market, instead of the current expensive de jure monopolies.

 
At 6/11/2010 8:32 PM, Anonymous doubleBubble tripleDip said...

"
usb connected device on your home computer.
"
~~Ron H~

My uncle swallowed a tiny camera then strained his liquid excrement to recover the camera and its data. The doctor looked at the photos then gave him a copy of the CD containing the photos. I could sit at the computer and display all the views of his stomach intestine and colon. He was bleeding from a few places but it was easy to see from the clear photos. Later they burned the bleeder shut so he didn't need more transfusion.

Why they don't have camera for everybody. Then you wouldn't need ticket to Costa Rica or Puerto Rico.

 
At 6/11/2010 8:47 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Why not let Costa Rica and Mexico open clinics here, staffed with their personnel? A genuine free market, instead of the current expensive de jure monopolies."

People from Mexico and Costa Rica can already open clinics in the US, but It wouldn't likely accomplish what you think it would. The reason they are now cheaper, is because they are in Costa Rica snd Mexico. In the US they would cost as much as any other clinic here.

 
At 6/11/2010 8:57 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

doubleBubble tripleDip said...

"Why they don't have camera for everybody. Then you wouldn't need ticket to Costa Rica or Puerto Rico."

The camara-in-a-pill is an excellent tool for some applications; not nearly as much fun as a Costa Rica vacation, but way more fun than a colonoscopy.

 
At 11/30/2012 10:41 PM, Blogger Tim said...

The price of gasoline and butter are known. Why does medical costs have to be shrouded in mystery. We are allowed to negotiate. Make an offer. I did. I offered and paid $600 in 2010 for physician service. Hospital cost was $1700 but was waived. I have no insurance and don't want any either.

 

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