Medical Tourism: Finding the Best Hospitals

With the ever-rising cost of medical care in the United States, more people are choosing to seek medical care in other countries. There are many countries with comparable quality healthcare at a fraction of the cost, which is why many individuals are becoming medical tourists.

India, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Thailand are considered to have medical care on par with that of the United States, but at a cost of 60-90% lower. Many of these doctors are also better trained and more experienced than some of the doctors in the United States.

Consider these key points when searching for a hospital
1. Look for a hospital that’s accredited. There are international accreditation programs like Joint Commission International (JCI) and the Clinical Care Program Certification. A hospital having these stamps of approval will let you know that the facility is top-notch.

* JCI is a non-profit organization that researches and rates hospitals worldwide. Hospitals must pass a rigorous audit process in order to gain the accreditation.

2. Check out the medical subspecialties at the hospital. You might find that the best hospital for hip replacement surgery isn’t the best hospital for a cosmetic procedure. Check to see if the physicians are board certified. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for the resume of any doctor that will be part of your treatment.

3. Examine the hospital’s standards. Check the news for any stories surrounding your potential hospital. Has there been a recent outbreak of infection or disease? Have they received awards for the quality of care they provide? Do the reviews suggest the hospital is safe and comfortable?

* Ask for the common statistics used to determine the quality of a hospital, such as mortality rate, nurse-to-patient ratio, and frequency of Staph infection. Sometimes, hospitals will publish this information online. In other cases, you’ll have to request it.

4. Investigate the language situation. Does the staff in the hospital speak your native language? Do they provide interpreters or do you need to provide your own? Also consider your medical records. Will they need to be translated?

* Communication is a key part of any relationship, including the one with your medical team. Many international hospitals have an international patient department set up to handle these issues.

5. Estimate the expected costs. Are the projected costs in line with what you budgeted? When are you required to start making payments? How much will the payments be? Will your insurance cover any of the costs? Will your insurance cover your transportation back to the states if there are complications?

6. Discover partnerships with any U.S. hospitals. Many overseas hospitals have relationships with hospitals in the United States. This can be a good sign that the hospital has high standards.

7. Research the hospital’s reputation among the local residents. You can find this information with a little legwork. It’s difficult to fool the local population, as they know the staff and hear all the stories.

8. Find out the location of the hospital relative to where you’re staying. Many foreign locations lack good transportation, which might be an issue if you’ll be living on the other side of the city while receiving treatment.

* If you’re going to be physically uncomfortable, location and traveling issues are definitely worth considering.

* The cost of transportation might also be relevant.

Medical tourism is becoming more and more popular. This is likely to continue for as long as medical costs continue to rise in the United States. Investigate the many medical tourism companies that provide support for those traveling overseas for medical care.

If you’re looking for an international hospital, these tips will get you off to a great start.

8 Money Tips for Young Adults

Personal finance still isn’t required in high school or college. This results in many young adults not having a good foundational knowledge of how to manage their personal finances. Fortunately, this subject isn’t complicated. A willingness to learn and do a little reading is all that’s required.

With a small investment of time and energy, anyone can become fluent and knowledgeable on the topic of money. The payback on this small amount of time and energy is priceless. Money challenges are a major source of stress for most adults. You can avoid these challenges.

Add these 8 simple tips to your financial knowledge

1. Be responsible for your finances. While there are many great money experts that can help you with your finances, the personal finance field is also full of unscrupulous people.

* Take the time to read topics that pertain to your finances. Pay your own bills. Stay on top of your money. Avoid leaving the responsibility to someone else.

2. Be aware of how you’re spending your money. Setting up a simple budget is the first step. Then track how you’re spending every cent, at least for the first couple of months. Everyone is surprised by how their money is being spent when they take the time to really examine the issue.

3. Learn the differences between ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’ It’s not always easy to deprive ourselves of the things we desire. But if you can to say ‘no’ when it’s appropriate, you’ll eventually be able to purchase essentially anything you could ever want.

* Many financial challenges are created by poor impulse control. This includes purchasing things you can’t afford and things you don’t really need.

4. Keep track of your credit score. Credit scores become more important every year. It’s common for credit reports to have errors, so be sure to review your credit report every year. Take the time to learn about credit and how to build a strong credit profile.

5. Don’t wait to start funding your retirement. If you get started early, you can save a lot of money quite easily. A little bit grows into a lot over 40+ years. Compound interest works like magic.

* If your company offers a retirement plan, be sure to take full advantage. The tax savings and convenience are spectacular. Your company might even match your contributions.

6. Invest in your career. Spending money to further your earning power is money well spent. This can include job-related training, books, and formal education.

* Hiring someone to mow your lawn isn’t out of the question if it permits you to spend time on more important, career-related activities.

7. Protect your health. Health insurance is very expensive for most people, but hospital bills are even more. Do everything you can to be as healthy as possible. And find a way to afford health insurance.

8. Have reasonable expectations. It’s unlikely you’re going to be living like your parents when you first head out on your own. It will take time to accomplish what your parents have spent years building. Patience is critical.

Many older adults wish they could go back in time and handle their finances differently. You’re in an ideal position to get started down the road to a healthy financial future. Take advantage of your unique situation. You can have a life of financial security. It’s much easier to avoid mistakes than it is to fix them.

5 Costly Surprises of Retirement

Most of us think that retirement is likely to be relatively inexpensive. After all, the house and car will probably be paid-off and the kids should be gone.

However, there are several expenses that you might not consider before it’s too late.

Plan ahead and don’t be surprised by the following 5 expenses

1. Health care expenses: According to the data, the average 65 year old couple will require $400,000 out of pocket to deal with medical expenses from retirement to age 92. While parts of Medicare are free, other parts are not. Parts B and D, which cover outpatient services and prescriptions are not inexpensive. It can be $6,500 a year for a couple.

* If you have a higher income, expect these premiums to be even higher. The cost isn’t the same for everyone.

* Remember that long-term costs like nursing homes aren’t covered either, regardless of income.

* Be sure to look at all of your health care and insurance options before retiring.

2. Greater spending: You might have your house paid off, but what are you going to do with all of that free time?

* When you’re working, you don’t have time to spend a lot of money. When you’re retired, you might want to do things that you never had the time for. Going to the movies, playing golf, dining out, traveling, and other hobbies and entertainment aren’t free.

* It’s important to think about what your life will be like during retirement. From this ideal vision, you should be able to develop a reasonable budget. Are your financial assets going to be able to support this lifestyle? What can you do now to plan ahead?

* If you’re used to having a company car, cell phone, or other perks, you’re going to have to pay for these things yourself. The cost of former perks can be considerable.

3. Social security taxes: Nearly every working person understands that they’re paying into social security. What you might not know, though, is that you’re likely to be taxed again when you receive that money back in Social Security benefits. The income threshold before taxes kick-in is quite low – about $16,000 for an individual. Be prepared.

4. Tax-deferred accounts: You didn’t have to pay taxes on the income that you put into your 401(k) or traditional IRA. Unfortunately, you will have to pay taxes on your withdrawals. Adding to the misfortune, the withdrawals are taxed at your top ordinary income tax rate. This is probably more than the capital gains rate.

* So, if you want to buy a $25,000 boat, you might have to withdraw $30,000+ from your retirement accounts to cover both the boat and the taxes.

* This is one of the reasons that Roth IRAs are so attractive to those that qualify. With a Roth IRA, you contribute after-tax monies but your withdrawals are tax-free. That means all the growth inside the account is tax-fee also. Check with your tax professional to see if you qualify.

5. Loss of income for the surviving spouse: At some point, one spouse is usually forced to survive without the benefits and income that came from the other spouse. The social security survivor benefit will not completely replace the lost income. Be sure that your estate planning covers the situation of a surviving spouse.

Retirement has its own set of expenses that must be taken into consideration. It’s important to plan for these expenses while there’s still time to make the necessary adjustments to your retirement plan. Be prepared and enjoy your retirement fully.