3 Ways To Avoid Overpaying For Hidden Medical Costs

Would you ever buy a house without windows and doors?

How about a car that didn’t include the price of tires, mirrors, and headlights? Probably not. It actually sounds ridiculous. And like the responsible consumer that you are, you’d probably do your research first in order to find the best deal. Right? Sadly, when it comes to undergoing a medical or cosmetic procedure, patients are more likely to neglect the fine print. Whereas an average person takes 6-12 months before making a major purchase, when it comes to our health, we’re quicker to pull the trigger without fully understanding the cost breakdown.

Are You Paying More Than You Should?

As international travel becomes more affordable, medical travel, or medical tourism, is becoming a safe and economical option for those looking to save money without sacrificing quality. Driven by rising insurance prices, under coverage, and long wait times (see: Why Are Millions of People Choosing Medical Travel?), medical travel is sparking competition between European clinics looking to attract more international clients. In many ways, healthy competition is good. But like all good things, it leaves room for those looking to lure in patients with empty promises.

Take dental crowns and veneers, for instance. Cosmetic dentistry is a booming industry in Central Europe. Hundreds of online medical platforms are available to provide free quotes and facilitate your travel. However, some quotes- though extremely cheap- do not include all of the necessary treatment costs.

Recently, a dental clinic in Hungary was quoting patients 4,500 EUR for 12 full ceramic crowns. Several patients reported arranging their surgeries, as well as flights and accommodation, only to find that the original price did NOT include the price of Kofferfam (dental dam), anesthesia or the temporary crowns.

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Similarly, breast augmentation is notorious for hidden costs and caveats. A common trap is when clinics advertise low prices, but only if a specific, often lower-quality, implant is used. The leading problem with cheap implants is that patients are more likely to experience corrective surgery down the road- often costing more than the original surgery.

Plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Law comments, “Some physicians promote low-priced breast augmentation, only for a patient to discover that the price is only for one type of implant, with one type of incision…then, the “bait and switch” ensues.” He continues to explain, “A different implant will cost more…an anesthesiologist will cost more…[and] then, just like buying a used car, the price will shift from the total price to monthly payments with a financing plan that could be very regrettable. This is a huge red flag.”

“Some physicians promote low priced breast augmentation, only for a patient to discover that the price is for only one type of implant, with one type of incision…then, the “bait and switch” ensues.”

Unfortunately, read the fine print quotes are popping up all over the globe. The good news is, you can protect yourself with these three, simple tips:

1. Request A FULL Cost Breakdown

The is especially important for patients traveling abroad and negotiating quotes online. Whether you are working directly with the clinic or using an online medical travel platform, you have the right to know exactly what you are paying for. Below is a patient quote for 12 full ceramic crowns from two separate dental clinics in Prague, the Czech Republic. In this case, transparency is key. Otherwise, you could end up paying a la carte for things such as anesthesia, bandages, drains, medication and overnight recovery time.

Price Offer Summary

Medistetik, Prague, the Czech Republic

Schill Dental, Prague, the Czech Republic

  2. Only Work With Accredited Clinics & Surgeons

This may seem obvious, but thanks to technology, any clinic or surgeon with a sexy new website may seem legitimate. Memberships and certifications to look for include:

  • The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS)
  • European Association of Plastic Surgeons (EURAPS)
  • British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) 
  • General Medical Council (GMC)
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)

A trusted clinic will typically display their accreditation and provide explicit pricing. A board certified surgeon will likely do the same. If you are using a medical platform, make sure they only partner with accredited clinics. Also, ensure that they are providing quotes directly from the clinic.

3. Cheaper Isn’t Always Cheaper

Undergoing a medical or cosmetic procedure is not like negotiating a new data plan. While it’s important to find an affordable treatment, it is certainly not everything. And often you end up paying more than the slightly more expensive treatment.The patients who went to the Hungarian dental clinic ended up paying a total of 64006900 EUR. This is approximately 2,000 EUR more than the original quote.

To avoid a similar fate, treat your procedure like buying a new car. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. New York plastic surgeon, Dr. Matthew Schulman adds,”While [there] are legitimate ways to keep costs down…some doctors cut costs other ways. Some may choose to lower costs by using poorly qualified staff and non-board-certified anesthesiologists. Others may obtain medications, supplies, and even breast implants from overseas distributors where prices are lower but standards are more lax. These are all things that can place your results – and personal safety – at risk.”

Basically, it is important to take your time. Weigh your options, do your research, and remember that it is your health (and wallet) that will ultimately pay the price.

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I’m Worried I’ll Have Trouble Getting Pregnant, But I’ve Never Tried Before

What If I Can’t Get Pregnant?

Have you ever asked yourself this question before? Many women have, but don’t like to talk about it. In our baby-bump obsessed culture, conceiving seems as about as easy as binge-watching your favorite Netflix series. We obsess over the pregnant celebrities, ohhh and aahh over gifts at our friends baby-showers. Push presents are even a thing now. Rarely do we talk about the fears and anxieties surrounding conception. And while we’re aware that infertility exists, many women worry silently if they will become another statistic.

blake-lively

So why are women, specifically young women, worrying that they’ll have trouble getting pregnant?

Well, as it turns out, women are only born with a finite amount of eggs- one to two million to be exact. Naturally, as women age, eggs are released, and over time, the numbers begin to drop. After age 30, the chances of having a baby begin to decrease by 3-5% each year. After 40, fertility reduces by an even greater extent.

Over the past 25 years, many women are steadily starting families later in life. In the United States, the average age of first time mothers is at an all-time high of 26 years. In the UK, it is even higher, at 28.5 years. As a result, women are more open about infertility and IVF treatments. It’s a major step forward in its own rights, but is also perpetuating some unnecessary fear in young women who have not even tried getting pregnant yet.

Is There Anything To Worry About? 

Yes and No. In an interview with Bustle.com, Julianne Zweifel, a clinical psychologist and Obstetrics and Gynecology professor said, “‘[If you’re young], the odds [of getting pregnant] are still dramatically in your favor…But if you’re the person on the negative end of that percentage, it’s bad. When you are 30 years old and you have fertility problems, you are even angrier than when you’re 36.”

She adds, “You have a backdrop in society of women having kids later and later…You think, ‘Maybe this is more possible’ and you’re lulled into a false sense of security. [But] we weren’t just created in 2014 with bodies that were created in 2014. It really might work out, but the older you get, the less likely that is.”

While this may ease the minds of some young women, for others the fear of infertility is very real.

Emily, a 27 year old, Australian school teacher had this to say,couple

“I just got married this summer. Since then, my husband and I can’t talk about anything else besides babies. It’s our dream to start a family, but privately I worry, ‘what if I can’t get pregnant?’. At the moment we are not trying, and I have never tried before, but I always have this reoccurring feeling that for whatever reasons, my body just won’t be able to conceive.”

Fortunately, Emily is not alone. In a recent survey of 50 hopeful, future-mothers (ages 21-30), 36 reported having similar fears, despite never having tried to conceive before.

“Of course I think about. I think most women do, but we don’t like to talk about it. Not even to or girlfriends. Instead of, ‘When I get pregnant…’, more and more young women are wondering, ‘If I can get pregnant…’. (Joanne, 24, Grad Student, U.K.)


Instead of, “When I get pregnant…”, more and more young women are wondering, “If I can get pregnant…”


“It’s so weird, and my husband and I never talk about it. When I was a teenager I know I had unsafe sex a lot, and nothing ever happened, so I just feel like their must be something biologically wrong with me. Like either I was very lucky, or I have to be infertile.” (Sara, 28, Realtor, U.S.) 

How Easy Is It To Get Pregnant, Really?

Well, statistics actually show that 85% of all couples trying to conceive will get pregnant within 12 months. Those numbers are pretty high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 94% of American women are fertile and 89% will not have any trouble getting pregnant. Similarly in Great Britain, where according to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, 90 percent of women age 19–39pregnant will conceive after two years of actively trying to have a baby.

According to recent statistics from Baby Centre UK, out of 100 couples trying to naturally conceive naturally:

  • 20 will conceive within one month
  • 70 will conceive within six months
  • 85 will conceive within one year
  • 90 will conceive within 18 months
  • 95 will conceive within two years

While taking up to two years to get pregnant is normal for some couples, it may feel like a long time. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a fertility problem. If you are already trying, remember to keep trying. Half of the couples under 35 who don’t get pregnant within a year, will likely conceive the following year.

Brits, Stop Gambling With Your Health!

Hope abroad for those seeking IVF and optical surgeries

A failing system

When did healthcare become a trip to the casino? A game of Roulette after a few watered down vodka drinks. Put all your money on red, cross your fingers and hope that the odds are in your favour. However, even the most experienced gambler knows, once the chips leave your hand, all bets are off, and the dealer is always counting his money. This analogy, although a stretch, is probably closer to the truth than we’re willing to admit. Currently the UK is providing free healthcare to nearly 64.6 million people; 54.3 million in England alone. As of 2016, this means nearly 1 million patients every 36 hours.

According to the King’s Fund review, the NHS is at its most critical crossroad in decades. Growing deficits, burnt-out underpaid staff, and ever-increasingly long wait times for A&E, cancer care and even routine operations have left the once globally renowned healthcare system in a crippling state. The popular think tank said drops in performance are at the lowest they have seen since the early 1990’s, and the UK’s gaping wound is only getting larger.

“The next government will inherit a health service that has run out of money and is operating at the very edge of its limit,” commented public health policy expert, and professor, John Appleby. There is now a real risk that patient care will deteriorate as service and financial pressures become overwhelming.”

Roll of the dice

Of all the challenges facing universal healthcare, the most troubling for citizens may be the constant gamble as to whether a treatment will be approved or not. While the NHS covers everything from routine screenings, to treatment for long-term conditions and end-of-life care, the stakes become increasingly high in regards to prescription costs, optical and dental services, and fertility treatments such as IVF. Read more