[Freeman]needed a coronary bypass. He had dropped his catastrophic insurance coverage because the $320 monthly premium was eroding his retirement savings and the $5,000 deductible left him with big bills.There's more where that came from, including this schedule of estimated comparative costs:
Facing a $100,000-plus operation, he thought he had two choices: "submit or die."
A friend pointed him to a third: World Med Assist of Concord, which lined him up with a heart surgeon in Turkey. The all-inclusive cost: $18,000. He had the surgery last spring and "unreservedly" recommends the care.
U.S. doctors refused to give him a price. "They would almost be proud of it," Freeman said. "They would say, 'That's not my department, I do operations. I don't have any idea how much anything costs.' Even the nurse would get mad at me and say, 'You want me to connect you with the billing department?' "
But for Freeman, cost mattered. "For people who can't pay, somehow the government won't let them die. But if you're like me in that awkward middle, where you have a little money saved, they'll take it all."
Heart bypass: $8,500 in India; in the U.S., $144,000
Liver transplant: $75,000 in Latin America; in the U.S., up to $315,000
Dental implant: $1,000 in Costa Rica; in the U.S., $2,000-$10,000
Face-lift: $4,000 in Singapore; in the U.S., $15,000
Knee replacement: $10,650 in Mexico; in the U.S., $50,000