Americans have been extolling the virtues of medical and dental tourism in recent years as a way to combine a vacation and a necessary procedure. The beauty is that the total cost of this package is less than the medical procedure itself in the exorbitant American healthcare system. For example, a knee replacement in the United States of America costs $15,000 more than Singapore, which is arguably the most expensive city in the world!
When I was looking at receiving vaccination shots commonly received by travelers to exotic countries, I went to a health clinic near my former workplace. I was dismayed to discover that a simple yellow fever shot would cost $220! Tetanus, hepatitis, and rabies shots would add to the total expense. When I discovered the $220 price, I walked out of the office and decided that anywhere in the world would be cheaper than the U.S.
When I was in Istanbul in December, I went to two hospitals, trying to find a yellow fever vaccination. Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city, so I was surprised that the medical personnel spoke so little English. Through using Google Translate and some crude sign language, I was eventually directed to a clinic where I paid the equivalent of US$55 for a yellow fever shot, or 75% off of the U.S. price.
Similarly, dental procedures for crowns and root canal therapy are much cheaper outside the U.S. A simple cleaning can run $75-$200 in the United States. Yesterday in Kuala Lumpur, I paid $41 for an efficient cleaning in a clean, modern office with good equipment.