In February, Jonathan Reeder had never heard of medical tourism. But today, he sings praises to one such medical tourism company WorldMedAssist.com for finding him an affordable option for the prostate surgery he needed.
Reeder knew when he left his dental practice in Houston to do dental contract work, hed either need to self-insure or find an affordable private pay policy. While researching his options, he got alarming news from his doctor: his PSA test results had soared from an alert-level 5 to alarm-level 8. This put him into the dreaded category of “pre-existing condition,” and therefore uninsurable.
When his biopsy came back positive for prostate cancer in February, he had three alternatives: watch and wait, radiation, or surgery. Wanting to get this behind him as quickly as possible, he chose surgery. Then came more bad news: The surgeons fee alone would cost $36,000. “Who knows what the total would have been by the time you add in hospital fees, anesthesiologist, tests, but probably around $50,000.” Reeder said.
His wife remembered an article theyd both read in AARP Magazine about medical tourism a few years earlier. Searching online under medical tourism, he found several companies offering to coordinate all details of his radical prostatectomy.
“Some websites were clumsy, some people I contacted were too aggressive, some had such broken English I couldnt understand them,” Reeder recalled. “I finally landed on www.WorldMedAssist.com. I got in touch with Wouter Hoeberechts, the CEO, who did a lot of research on my options, hoping we could find a place that would do laparoscopic surgery using a robotic arm. Turns out, this was not an option for me.”
WorldMed Assist hunted for the best doctor and the best hospital for Reeders open surgery. Ultimately, WorldMed Assist was able to offer the best cost with the best doctor at the best hospital in Hyderabad, India. When WorldMed Assist told Reeder his trip to India would cost $7,500, including all his medical expenses, travel and hotel, the deal was sealed in Reeders mind. But Hoeberechts urged him first to have his own physicians weigh in on the choice.
“Both my family physician and urologist checked out WorldMed Assists recommendation, and both agreed this was a good choice,” Reeder said. “The doctor is UK board certified, had a stellar reputation. I have a lot of friends and relatives whose U.S. physicians are from India, so I wasnt at all nervous about my decision I knew India had a reputation for high quality medicine, and I learned that Apollo Hospital was affiliated with Johns Hopkins.”
The surgery was scheduled for May 9. “All I had to do was make the payment, book my travel and get on the plane. WorldMed Assists travel agency partner, Carson Wagonlit, got me a great fare, with good connections,” Reeder said. “WorldMed Assist set up phone consultations with my doctor in India and transferred my medical records. All I had to do was show up.”
When he arrived at Indias Hyderabad airport, he was met by an executive team, who shuttled him directly to Apollo, showed him to his room, and told him to rest up for a two-day battery of pre-op tests that would begin the next morning. “I didnt have any medical procedures that first night, and they didnt even charge me for the room!” he said.
The thoroughness of the pre-op work amazed Reeder. “Besides the typical tests, they did an MRI and a bone scan, plus put me on the treadmill to make sure my heart would take the surgery. This was all included in my $7500 bill. Imagine how many lines of additional charges would have been on my bill if I were doing this in the U.S.”
His surgery lasted two hours and forty minutes, then off to spend the night in the trauma intensive care unit. “Since my wife wasnt able to go to India with me, Wouter called her at least four times during the 24 hours following my surgery,” he said. “He stayed on top of all the details, and relayed progress reports so shed know whether I was coming home or if she could collect on my life insurance,” he said with a grin.
Reeder was discharged after three days. “Looking into the big brown eyes of nurses with such beautiful skin must be why I recovered so fast,” he smirked.
After his discharge, Reeder had a week to tour Hyderabad before returning to Apollo to have his staples removed. The one thing he wanted most to see was a sacred cow. He didnt have to look far. “Cows walked down the middle of the road, creating chaotic traffic. No one wanted to hit a cow, so traffic would come to a complete stop, waiting for the cows to determine their course.”
Reeders experience in India turned him into a devoted fan of medical tourism. “As a dentist, I have more familiarity with the medical system than the average American. Given my situation of no insurance, I made the right choice going to India. WorldMed Assist made it all so easy. Everything was turnkey and flawless, and the medical care was excellent.” he said.