Would you go to India for surgery to save 80 grand?

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You are probably aware of the growing medical tourism business in joint replacement, cardiac bypass and gastric bypass surgery in India, Thailand and other far East countries. There, vast, brand-new hospitals staffed with American-trained surgeons and nurses offer such procedures at a dramatically lower cost than in the U.S.

While $50,000 for a knee replacement is not unusual in the U.S., clinics overseas perform the procedure for as little as 10-15% of this fee. Coronary bypass that might cost upwards of $100,000 here runs $9,500 in one Indian hospital, including an eight-day stay. Such stays are often bundled with recovery time in swank resorts, as well.

Certainly the idea of traveling to a foreign country to be cut on gives me pause, but if I were not covered by insurance, I'd have to think hard about spending most of my retirement savings on a heart bypass. To learn more, check out the magazines put out by the Medical Tourism Association.

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