The University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMC) $600+ base cost for a routine dermatology appointment last year—it took six months to get that appointment—seemed way beyond reason after a routine one in Montreal in 2008 cost $75 Cdn in cash. So called the same Montreal physician's office two weeks ago and got my choice of morning or afternoon just six days later when planning a getaway visit to the True North. Made sure I brought some Canada cash and after the appointment the very pleasant receptionist gave me the bad news—the cost of the appointment over the last decade had gone up--$5--to $80 Cdn! That's medical inflation fo you! That is $60 US even after paying the ATM $3 fee. Quality of care? Well, noticed this doctor, a McGill University Associate Professor of Medicine and researcher, displayed a plaque commemorating his presidency of the Canadian Dermatologists Association. Fortunately my State of Vermont supplemental insurance coverage allows 80% of the $60 US so I will get a check for $48.
Seems like everyone gets a benefit from this simple example of medical tourism. No claim at all against Medicare, very likely a smaller claim against the State insurance. Even my lower copay will cover a couple of trips to one of my favorite coffee shops—where I am writing this story. Of course if a Canadian the government health care pays all--no copay, no-deductable (and no blizzard of mail from Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the physician, etc., etc.)!
And UVMC? Well, wonder why except for the big stuff, a trip to them makes little sense if it can be avoided. Besides, it is fun to travel!