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Marygwen

Dec 29, 2004, 9:18 AM

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U.S. Medical costs

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Previous posts were getting a bit long so I'm posting my comment as a new thread.

I'm 55 (and although not necessarily germaine to what comes next, I've have never been sick in my life), and broke my finger three months ago. It became infected: the bill for the hospital alone - no doctor's fees, tests, home health care, whatevers - the hospital bill alone - for 18 days came to $140,000. I haven't received all the bills yet, nor is my treatment over, but I expect $140,000 won't be the half of it. My American infectious diseases doctor had some kind of breakdown on the Wednesday before Christmas, has no backup, and now I'm scrambling to figure out what to do next. I've developed unexpected side effects/damage, which I'm chalking up to continued bad luck (as opposed to blaming it on the health care providers/system, which might be the temptation if I were in Mexico).

So, who's to say where the best care is but I think it's safe to say the most expensive is in the U.S.



Kip


Dec 29, 2004, 10:30 AM

Post #2 of 25 (3210 views)

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Re: [Marygwen] U.S. Medical costs

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Good grief girl!! All of those years of health and now this!! You never mentioned if you have health insurance.

So far all of the reports I've had from friends, (and the little I've expeienced) have been very favorable regarding the care and better yet the "caring" they've received in Mexico.

My experience NOB has been that the majority of problems I've had in the past, were caused by Doctors not paying attention to what they prescribe. Several times I've had some pretty severe problems only to discover that the cure was to stop taking whatever it was the quack gave me.

Once it took a year and a half of extremely severe, almost non stop coughing for the doctor to remember that the blood pressure medication he gave me, sometimes does have that side affect. Duh. A year and a half.


Obviously I'm not saying that all US Doctors are quacks, but what I am saying is that they don't give you a fraction of the time that an MD in Mexico will give you.

Good luck and I hope things get better....I really think you would enjoy Mexico.

Kip
kip


Marygwen

Dec 29, 2004, 10:47 AM

Post #3 of 25 (3203 views)

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Re: [Kip] U.S. Medical costs

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Thank the Lord, and not common sense, which I have very little of in these matters, I signed up for COBRA when I lost my job back in April. I have very good insurance, the PPO kind, something I never "needed" before.

My doctor and surgeon have never spent more than 5 minutes with me per visit. They stopped by once or twice a day when I was in the hospital (the one that charged $7,000/day), yet I was able to go for two days on a critical care floor with no one changing my surgical dressing. Lots of other ancedotes . . .

So, based on posts on these forums (that I'm now rereading and paying much more careful attention to!), I'm starting to think that health care in Mexico might be one of its many positives.


Esteban

Dec 29, 2004, 11:14 AM

Post #4 of 25 (3191 views)

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Re: [Marygwen] U.S. Medical costs

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I think you are beginning to see the light. Many doctors in Mazatlan still make house calls including surgeons, to do post op checkups. Making the decision to live in Mexico or the US based on the medical attributes of either is a strange set of criteria.


Kip


Dec 29, 2004, 11:32 AM

Post #5 of 25 (3181 views)

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Re: [Esteban] U.S. Medical costs

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I think she said that health care in Mexico might be one of the many positives.
kip


D.G.

Dec 29, 2004, 1:02 PM

Post #6 of 25 (3160 views)

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Re: [Esteban] U.S. Medical costs

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Here's some more info to add to the collective wisdom. Our daughter, a 30 year old college student who had taught overseas had a medical policy with her employer. The insurer was based in Poland. While she was on the policy, she never had any major problems--just routine exams. She returned to go to school, and let her policy expire, and was looking for a new one.

Then she had a medical problem--an ovarian cyst. She had no insurance, and was advised to have a cat scan. US cost, $4,000. Prior to this they gave her an ultrasound at $500. Seeing where this was all leading we inquired about the surgery costs. We were quoted $15,000 to $20,000 for the surgery. Who knows what the other costs would be.

We decided to try Mexico's medical system. We had read a great deal about how good it was, and figured it couldn't be any worse that the U.S. care.

Her surgery cost was $3,800 USD total, which included everything except for four post operative shots which she has to take. The cost of the shots are $350 USD each in the Mexico, and $600 each in the United States.

I was with her through the consultations, operation, recovery and post surgery follow ups. My take on it was that the hospital, doctors, nurses, and care were much superior to what she would have received in the U.S. I would recommend anyone who thinks they have to go back to the U.S. for procedures to consider that option only if they have insurance which will only pay for the work to be done there. If someone does not have the insurance, or the deductables are sizeable, I'd suggest they seriously consider Mexico.


Marygwen

Dec 29, 2004, 4:02 PM

Post #7 of 25 (3139 views)

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Re: [D.G.] U.S. Medical costs

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Ya live and learn (and then do more research).

When I told a friend that I might be moving to Mexico sooner than I planned/hoped (if I can figure everything out - it will most likely be to SMA, BTW), she immediately said, Oh no, you can't possibly go now. What if this accident had happened there? Debatable, of course, but it definitely would have cost less (than the co-payment, let alone the entire bill) and I probably would have received much more compassionate treatment.

One of the big attractions of retiring in Mexico has been the thought of getting old in a society where I'd be treated with more dignity than the one I live in now (U.S.) and where I'd also be able to afford household and home health care when it's needed.


El Queso Grande


Jan 2, 2005, 10:12 AM

Post #8 of 25 (3040 views)

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Re: [Marygwen] U.S. Medical costs

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Just can't keep my mouth shut on this one!

Have been wanting to 'make the move' for 30 years since my first trip to P.V. Spent the last 15 years owning a large Private Investigative firm in Austin specializing in medical defense. Had some hip pain and was told that I needed a replacement on the right side and so I decided to sell the house, etc., move to an old trailer on the farm and wait six months to move till my HMO did the THR. WELL - that was four years ago. I am now on my 4th hip and have been on the brink of death at least three times all for the most absurd of mistakes. This last hip works well enough for me to hobble using a cane (although it has left that leg about 3" shorter that the other) and now am in the process of trying to get some strength back after being flat out in bed for four years and convince myself that I can still make it there even with the constant pain, etc. which they have caused. I could go on for hours about the other 8 stays in the hospital in the same period, all of which were caused by the incompetence of the greatest healthcare system in the greatest country on the planet.

I just love it when I tell people that I am moving to Mexico and they ask me, "What will you do if you get sick."

Maybe survive???




"I'm not so think as you drunk I am."

E-mail me at xalapaboy@aol.com


Jerry@Ajijic

Jan 2, 2005, 9:32 PM

Post #9 of 25 (2984 views)

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Re: [El Queso Grande] U.S. Medical costs

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Hi, My wife was run over by a truck here lakeside. She had 13 broken bones, a collapsed lung, 5 broken ribs, a broken hip (which had to be replaced),leg,etc. She went to a hospital in GDL and after a month in the hospital on to a nursing home for 6 weeks then home. This was a couple of years ago and now she walks 2 1/2 miles most days as well as yoga twice a week. It is just an opinion but I do not think she would have survived in the states


El Queso Grande


Jan 3, 2005, 1:08 PM

Post #10 of 25 (2931 views)

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Re: [Jerry@Ajijic] U.S. Medical costs

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Jerry - thanks for the input and glad to hear everything turned out as well as it has. Just my opinion...But I sure wouldn't have wanted to be betting on your wife Nob. Before my "surgery" I was on a cane and thought I was in pain. But I could go fishing everyday and work and do anything else I wanted to. Now I hobble around like a 2000 year old man and can do just about nothing. Wish I would have been in Gdl. Anyway, I promise for the sake of the forum, I will stop whining at this point!

Dave




"I'm not so think as you drunk I am."

E-mail me at xalapaboy@aol.com


Marygwen

Jan 3, 2005, 2:17 PM

Post #11 of 25 (2928 views)

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Not whining, El Cueso

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I think we should be hearing more about stuff like this. I, too, am in constant pain and hobble around like an old lady. I'm entering "pain mgmt", I hope, this week; need at least double the meds I'm getting now to be comfortable. Have a lot of nerve pain (where did that come from?), which I'm hoping is temporary.

Can't imagine that I would have been worse off in Mexico. Maybe we're being sold a bill of goods about the quality of health care in this country.

If you don't mind me asking, where you able to get Soc. Sec. Disab., were you already retirement age, or are you supposed to be able to work at age 2000? I'm applying (know there are time thresholds).


tfyoung


Jan 3, 2005, 5:57 PM

Post #12 of 25 (2884 views)

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Re: [Jerry@Ajijic] U.S. Medical costs

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Jerry,
Glad to hear your wife's good report. Did you have Mexican private insurance, IMSS, US insurance, or was all of the expense out-of-pocket? It would also be interesting to know the approximate cost of the ordeal.

We are planning to move to somewhere in Mexico in about 8 years, and how to pay for routine healthcare as well as emergencies will be a concern.

Thanks


Jerry@Ajijic

Jan 3, 2005, 9:09 PM

Post #13 of 25 (2849 views)

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Re: [tfyoung] U.S. Medical costs

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At the time she had private insurance through a group plan. They stopped offering the plan so now we have IMSS. The cost was about 500,000 pesos (50,000.00 USD). This included the time in intensive care which I believe was about $138.00 USD per day, a private room after ICU which was about 50.00 USD per day plus a whole raft of specialists, medicines etc.


Carol Schmidt


Jan 4, 2005, 7:06 AM

Post #14 of 25 (2820 views)

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Re: [tfyoung] U.S. Medical costs

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Some costs charged recently at Angeles Hospital in Queretaro:
$3,000 US for an angiogram including overnight stay in private room and meals for another person staying in room also;
$55 US for mammograms;
$400 US for a colonoscopy.

In Hospital de la Fe in San Miguel, three days in ICU, paddles necessary to restart the heart twice, 44,000 pesos. A life saved, priceless.

Last year in de la Fe, a minor operation performed in the ER, three hours, including a biopsy, the surgeon, all supplies, and lunch: $210.

Also last year in de la Fe, two days in a private room at $71 US a night, with heavy antibiotics, $270 US.

None of the parties involved in these procedures had any insurance and paid out of pocket.

Carol Schmidt


razorbackhack

Jan 4, 2005, 8:34 PM

Post #15 of 25 (2738 views)

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Re: [Marygwen] U.S. Medical costs

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I fell out of the back of a truck last year in Nayarit......knocked me out cold. I awoke in the hospital, 30 mins later. Apparently, I hit my head on the cobblestone road and had a severe gash above my eye.

My ER visit (5 stitches, a couple of shots, dressings, and a hug from a cute nurse) cost 47 pesos. I thought they were joking. I insisted that there had to be a mistake. But that's all it cost.

Unfortunately, I am very accident prone, and make annual trips to the ER in the US for one thing or another......the cheapest ER bill I ever received from the US hospital was $1200.....and I didn't even get a hug.


Marlene


Jan 5, 2005, 3:33 PM

Post #16 of 25 (2679 views)

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Re: [razorbackhack] U.S. Medical costs

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Sounds like you were having way too much fun on vacation in Nayarit. How lucky you woke up to tell the tale! I too tend to be a little clumsy, especially around kitchen instruments and one time I sliced my finger quite badly. The military hospital is very nearby so hubby took me there for repairs. The cost was 80 pesos for the nice doctor, a few stitches, as well as the follow up visit. We got instant attention, but I missed out on the hug, darn it!


Carol Schmidt


Jan 6, 2005, 6:13 PM

Post #17 of 25 (2596 views)

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Re: [Marlene] U.S. Medical costs

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Which military hospital are you talking about? I understand there is one in Guadalajara and another in Mexico City, and they are among the best hospitals in Mexico, caring for US military who need care while they are in Mexico. Can anyone go to them, for ER care and for anything else?

Used to be that members of the American Legion or its "Women's Auxiliary" living in Mexico could go to them through a special arrangement but that seems to be in question now--gringos were abusing the system or something, I don't know the real story.

So I'd like to know if anyone here has used one of the Mexico military hospitals recently, and for what, and what was the experience like?

Carol Schmidt


Don


Jan 6, 2005, 6:28 PM

Post #18 of 25 (2588 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] U.S. Medical costs

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I use to go to the Military Hospital in Guadalajara. I spent 11 days in the hospital for liver failure. I am not military. Anyone can go to the facility. Excellent doctors and I received excellent treatment. The reason I said I use to go, is because the General in charge of the hospital and all other military facilities in several western states was my personal doctor and he retired. He liked our town so much, he retired here and set up practice. He is swamped with patients from surrounding cities, including Guadalajara. I am sure if I need a specialist. he would send me to one at the Military Hospital in Guadalajara.


Esteban

Jan 6, 2005, 6:31 PM

Post #19 of 25 (2586 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] U.S. Medical costs

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The military hospital in Mazatlan is what Marlene is talking about. However, it is not set up for taking serious emergencies such as heart attacks and other situations that require more technical expertise and equipment.


Ed and Fran

Jan 6, 2005, 6:39 PM

Post #20 of 25 (2581 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] U.S. Medical costs

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I suspect you'll find military hospitals of varying sizes wherever you have a significant military base. Here in Tuxpan we have a small one. It is generally rumored to be the best care in town (not that we have a huge selection).

While I haven't used it myself, I have recently had to use it for both my Father-In-Law and Junior. I guess you'd say we used the ER or outpatient facilities. While they both are Mexican nationals, they have no tie to the military, we were just walk-ins off the street. No questions, paid cash. I didn't specifically ask but I expect that they'd treat me the same.

I thought the care was professional*, certainly better than what I've seen at the local civil hospital, and pretty personal. Price was reasonable*. I can say that when I need medical help, that's where I'll be headed.

In fact, Fran was so pleased with the doctor that treated her father, that when Junior got sick she specifically called him at the hospital to check whether he was on duty or whether we'd need to go to his private consultorio.


(* Just my personal opinion, without having had much experience with hospitals in the last 20 years to judge against.)

Regards

E&F


Marlene


Jan 6, 2005, 8:04 PM

Post #21 of 25 (2568 views)

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Re: [Esteban] U.S. Medical costs

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Chef Jefe,
The equipment is a little old and clunky in there...but the doctors seem to all have their own private practices and other hospitals they attend as a result of those private patients. Where does the Military Hosp in Mazatlan send people that drop by with chest pains or signs of heart problems? That would be good to know in advance..(Not that I am planning a heart attack or anything but in case I cause any...LOL)


Teo

Jan 7, 2005, 2:40 PM

Post #22 of 25 (2519 views)

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Re: [Marygwen] U.S. Medical costs

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This is a very interesting thread. I always read the posts on this board regarding medical care with great interest because, as a caregiver in the US Healthcare Sytem, the individual experiences and perspectives are fascinating.

Whoever said the US Healthcare System is the "best in the world" must have a degree in Advertising because, folks, it just ain't so. The US may have great technology but there's something missing when it comes to the caring part. You can't blame the physicians because they are really trying their best. All the ancillary staff (nurses, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, dietitians, etc.) are a very committed group and are doing their best each and every day.

The problem lies in the reimbursement scheme. Insurance companies not only pay the bill but dictate whether something can be done or not. Hospitals and doctors are the puppets and the insurance companies are pulling the strings in this show. In addition, there is no incentive to stop doing stupid unhealthy behaviors like smoking, drinking, over-eating and sitting on your duff all day long. It's like being a sinner all your life, then repenting at the last minute for forgiveness.

But forgive my tirade. After 30 plus years in the medical field, I would hope that the US system would learn a little bit about caring and fair treatment, not to mention fair pricing, as I've read about and seen in the Mexican system.

Gary, RN


Kip


Jan 7, 2005, 3:57 PM

Post #23 of 25 (2508 views)

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Re: [Teo] U.S. Medical costs

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Another problem in the US is that the nurses are simply overloaded. You can't give top of the line care if you have way too many patients to take care of and are required to work waaay too many hours. No one can do there best if they're being torn in umpteen directions after working for twelve hours..sometimes more.

Scary.

Kip
kip


Jerry@Ajijic

Jan 7, 2005, 8:15 PM

Post #24 of 25 (2479 views)

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Re: [Kip] U.S. Medical costs

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Kip, this shortage of help is why we love the Mexican nursing homes. The workers seem to care about old people, there are plenty of them always on duty and it only costs about 1,200 USD a month.


tpage15

Jan 7, 2005, 8:19 PM

Post #25 of 25 (2481 views)

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Re: [Kip] U.S. Medical costs

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 It is such fun reading all these posts, but I find your comments about US nurses and the medical field interesting. I teach anatomy and physiology to allied health students (nursing being one). Enrollment at my university and others is rising rapidly, due primarily to an influx of nursing "want-to-be's." You are absolutely on target with your observation about a shortage of nurses. Our nursing department here has a 1.5 M dollar grant to get more students to go into nursing.

Unfortunately, one of the reasons I want our of teaching, even though I love it, is the lazy, whining students we are seeing now. These kids are coming out of an educational system where self esteem is more important than hard work. They honestly EXPECT to receive a high salary in a job that requires little or no effort (work) but with lots of rewards. Wouldn't we all love to have that. Of course my opinion is based on the lack of effort they put into my courses in which they expect an "A." And, yes! There are hardworking students, but they are definitely the minority these days.

I suspect that you will see all those overworked and competent nurses leaving when this group of kids get into the system. I definitely would not want them taking care of me!! Another reason for filing for my social security in a few months and heading south.
Annie
 
 
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