View Full Version : Americans coming to NZ for surgery.....

08-30-2009, 08:05 PM
I was watching our local made TV series Sunday last night and there was an article regarding a 44 yr old american woman from Idaho, who had chosen to come to New Zealand for a total hip replacement.

Now for years we have known that India,Thailand etc have offered cheap surgery, mostly cosmetic,now it appears NZ is doing the same, however of course the care here is excellent.

It was going to cost her sixty thousand dollars in the US just for the surgery, here it cost her 23,000 that included private hospital care, two flights here for her and her mother, and hotel accommodation.

This was your average american, she was a single mother, and certainly not rich, money was raised for her and she footed the rest of the bill.

Now while i really empathise with this young woman and i am happy for her, unfortunately the down side is for us here, it is more than likely to push up the cost here for us,although hopefully some of the money will go back into the health system.

I would also imagine if this becomes big business and it is more than likely it will, then it will take longer for us to get seen to.

They are estimating millions of americans will be coming to do this in the future.

I am wondering would you consider surgery down under? Would you if you were a kiwi be comfortable with this happening in your country?

I see it like this, there is good and bad in it,i think it clearly has to be a win win situation for all concerned really, and i only hope that can be achieved.

Anyhow your thoughts?

08-30-2009, 09:20 PM
I'm hoping some solution is found for the healthcare system here, so that such things would no longer be necessary.

Yes, I am an optimist, despite my inherent distrust of politicians.

I am lucky, in that I live in the Boston area - people from all over the world fly HERE for state-of-the-art medical care. When, many years ago, I was getting ready to have brain surgery*, I was told my "local" hospital - Massachusetts General, and Massachusetts Eye and Ear - was one of only 8 places in the world that the surgery could even be done. And while in the waiting area, I overheard the receptionist guiding people from Germany and Brazil on where to stay, what flights to take, and such issues, so they could have my surgeon operate on them. T'was pretty amazing.

*removal of an acoustic neuroma, benign tumor on the hearing nerve. All follow-up MRIs were fine, by the way.

Miss Z
08-31-2009, 06:53 AM
This thread raises similar points to the ones I was trying to get at in the 'Government run healthcare' thread.

Carole, are all hospitals private in NZ, or do you have a nationalised system also?

I totally agree with you on the pros and cons of the situation. If I were a Kiwi, I certainly couldn't begrudge this woman getting the treatment she needed for a fraction of the cost. I would, however, share your concerns about the effects that may occur if treatment in NZ gained popularity overseas.

08-31-2009, 07:20 AM
I can see your concern. It could parallel the US citizens concern with non US citizens use of our healthcare system, where the poor or uninsured do have some access, can't pay and it increases cost for all. Of course, that can also be said for the poor or underinsured US Citizens' too.
I don't know the answer to it all, but believe it is in the form of a massive overhaul of the medical insurance industry. As for millions of Americans flying to NZ' I think that number is off by a few million or two.

08-31-2009, 09:32 PM
Miss Z i think our system probably is similar to your's not 100 per cent sure, private hospitals are only for those with medical insurance like myself,you can opt to take it out or not, we struggle to pay our premiums but we think it is well worth it, public is for everyone rich or poor, but you have long waiting lists,so if it is a serious medical condition it is far better to have private medical insurance.

Yes i think every country is dealing with these issues and the health system needs an overhaul worldwide.

09-01-2009, 01:02 PM
I think that NZ might see some increase of people from out of the country, but I don't think it's going to be anything drastic.

Most Americans would still opt for surgery in the U.S., since those that have at least some kind of insurance, however minimal it be, would find it less expensive than a trip out of the country. And what about follow-up after the surgery, physical therapy, etc. And what happens when she comes home if there are complications? Does she have to go back to NZ?? Most U.S. doctors won't get involved with another doctor's patient if there is a problem. Believe me - my brother is going thru this right now. Botched surgery and another doctor won't see him and get involved. Must be some unwritten code between doctors - protect each other and screw the patient! :(

And as for those who have no insurance - well they couldn't afford to go outside the U.S. anyway if they couldn't afford insurance in the first place.

09-01-2009, 06:25 PM
You raise some good points, the article never went into all those details, the woman was an average american, a single mother, who could not possibly afford the surgery in the US, i don't know about her insurance or anything like that as it was not mentioned, i guess it was a bit of a one-sided story now that i think about it, probably a bit of media hype, usually though Sunday produces some very interesting and factual stories, so i take them seriously.

I am sure it will not be millions either, but there will indeed be an increase, i guess only time will tell.