as a long term cruiser operating on a small budget
, i have always carried health insurance
through "normal" carriers, i.e. health insurance
companies. 5 years ago, the premiums became out of reach (and the enormous deductibles) and i was forced to drop coverage and go uninsured. this past january, i was diagnosed with tonsill/tongue cancer and had surgery in the u.s. at an exorbidant price
and with extremely unsatisfactory results. because the doctor knew i had no insurance
, he neglected to offer any after-surgery care (chemo/radiation therapy) and, 2 months later, the cancer came roaring back involving my neck and lymph glands.
when in the rio dulce, guatemala
, i remembered folks talking about an outfit called guatemalamedicaltravel.com and the excellent care/prices they received while there so i emailed them and, happily, am able to share this story. after corresponding with lori, the director of this service
, i flew to guatemala
and was picked up at
and whisked off to the beautiful colonial city of antigua
and my home for the next 2 1/2 months. within 24 hrs. i had CT scans, bloodwork, ekg, meetings with them ENT team and the radiology specialist and 2 days later had surgery on my neck and lymph glands. then came 6 weeks of radiation therapy. the hospital was 1st class, the doctors (all fluent in english) graduates of schools such as johns-hopkins, sloane- kettering, etc., and the radiology facility/equipment was brand new and state of the art.
the cost of surgery/treatment was 1/6 of that of the u.s. but, most importantly, the level of care was incredible; the doctors/nurses treated me as a person not a number and i can honestly say that these people are now among my friends---something i cannot say of their u.s. counterparts who seemed more interested in the depth
(or lack of) my bank account.
i AM NOT an employee or any way remunerated by/of guatemalamedicaltravel.com and only wanted to share my story with the cruising community as a way of offering an alternative to the traditional way of covering one's health
costs there are many groups providing "medical tourism" from india/thailand/costa rica/mexico/etc. however i can only relate my totally satisfactory experience in guatemala. you can reach this group directly through their website or see them on youtube.com. worth a look!!