Medical tourism: 5 surgeries worth a trip
Angioplasties and mitral valve replacements
Destinations: Singapore, Thailand, Korea
Estimated savings: $6,000 to $25,000
The riskier the procedure, the more research is necessary, Lloyd says. The American Heart Association in Dallas reports that patients pay $10,000 to $15,000 for an angioplasty in the U.S., and those requiring mitral valve replacements usually fork over $50,000. Angioplasty is a procedure to open a blocked coronary blood vessel. In a mitral valve replacement, the heart is given a new valve.
Asian institutions offer the same surgeries for about half the cost, according to the Medical Tourism Association. But Lloyd says that patients undergoing such invasive surgeries should also purchase complications insurance through a medical tourism agency.
"Complications insurance basically says that if something happens, they will pay for a U.S. doctor to fix it," says Lloyd. "In cases like heart surgery, it's also crucial to research what kind of after-care the institution offers."