Healthcare Costs for Americans Overseas: What You Can Expect to Spend
The cost of healthcare in the United States has been rising for years. As a result, healthcare providers have also seen their prices increase, making it more expensive to provide care and visit family members. For Americans living overseas, the costs of care can be even higher. Depending on where you are and how much you earn, healthcare costs for Americans abroad can range from a lot cheaper to astronomical. Here’s what you need to know about the cost of healthcare in America and what you can expect when looking after yourself or loved ones abroad.
As the cost of living abroad increases, so does the cost of choosing a career in the healthcare industry. But with so many opportunities available, it can take time to figure out where to begin. Fortunately, getting into the healthcare field doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. Healthcare jobs are constantly in demand and offer various salary ranges, depending on your experience and location. However, before applying for that first job, ensure you understand how much healthcare costs will add to your monthly budget. Once you figure out what careers appeal to you and your financial circumstances, keeping tabs on your spending will be easy.
Every traveler who intends to visit another country is urged to buy health insurance. But, in reality, many countries, including the Schengen Area, need travel health insurance to apply for a visa. This is because, without health insurance, the expense of a single medical visit—more so in some countries than others—could easily exceed the cost of your vacation.
Foreign visitors to the US have naturally started to worry about the typical cost of a medical visit or a trip to the ER in light of recent media coverage of healthcare cost woes in the US.
Having Travel Health insurance while visiting the USA is optional but highly recommended and necessary since health services are very costly, more than in any other country anywhere across the globe.
But just how much does a doctor's visit cost in the US? Will visitors have to leave half their life savings at the hospital because of a simple sprain? What if a more serious medical emergency pops up? What if you get into an accident?
When to Apply for Healthcare Jobs
When searching for healthcare jobs, it’s essential to remember that costs will rise as you move up the healthcare food chain. In the beginning, you’ll likely make less than a doctor or nurse practitioner, so you may consider applying for jobs in areas with lower healthcare costs. There are currently nine regions where healthcare costs are lower than the national average, according to data from the 2013 American Community Survey. These include the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you’re interested in a job where the pay is pretty good, but healthcare costs are relatively low, you may want to start looking in those areas. However, if you’re interested in jobs that tend to cost more but have a lower healthcare cost, you may want to start looking in areas with higher healthcare costs.
How Much is a Doctor’s Visit Without Insurance in the USA?
The average cost of a doctor’s visit in the US is not too high – provided it is just a consultation, and you do not need actual medical treatment. In these cases, the price can range from $200-$300.
On the other hand, if you are sick or have sustained an injury and need to visit the Emergency Room, then the prices can quickly add up.
According to a study by the National Institute for Health, the average cost of an ER visit in the US is $2168. The average prices for some of the most common reasons for ER visits are as follows:
- For sprains and strains: $1498
- For open wounds or extremities: $1650
- For a normal pregnancy or delivery: $2008
- For a headache: $1727
- For back problems: $1476
- For a kidney stone: $4247
- For a urinary tract infection (UTI): $2598
- For an upper respiratory infection: $1101
- For an intestinal infection: $2398
- For other injuries: $2103
However, the cost of an ER visit depends on several other factors, such as the coverage of your health insurance plan (or whether you have an insurance plan) and even which hospital you go to. Additionally, your treatment and even your doctor may affect the cost of your hospital visit.
And keep in mind that the earlier figures are an average, which means some people pay much more than that.
Medical Treatment Costs in the USA
The US has some of the highest prices in the world regarding medical treatment. If you don’t have health insurance, a sprained ankle or another unexpected injury during your trip could end up costing you thousands of dollars. One of the reasons why an ER visit in the US can reach such high prices is due to the cost of medical tests and procedures.
In the US, an ambulance ride is not paid from taxpayer money. Much like the rest of the healthcare services in the US, ambulances are also a private business and can reach hefty fees.
- An ambulance costs from $400 to over $1200, depending on the mileage.
- The cost for an air ambulance ranges from $2,000 to upwards of $200,000
Doctors in the US tend to order more medical tests as compared to other countries. This has been referred to as “defensive medicine” to protect themselves from a possible lawsuit. What’s more, these tests are also more expensive.
- Blood tests can range from $100 to upwards of $3,000 in price
- An X-Ray can range from $150 to over $3,000
- An MRI can cost from $1,000 to more than $5,000
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Another reason medical costs are so high in the US is that the government does not negotiate the prices of prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies before they release them. As such, these prices are often very high. Diabetes medication, for example, can cost upwards of $500.
On the other hand, you can find the over-the-counter medication (cold medicine, pain reliever, etc.) for very reasonable prices.
The cost of surgery in the US varies depending on your required operation. For instance, a tonsillectomy might cost between $4,000 and $8,000. At least $10,000 is required for gallbladder removal. However, hundreds of thousands may be required for heart and brain operations.
You can also be compelled to pay extra expenses for the hospital stay, the operating room's hourly rate, and the anesthetic.
The price of a hospital stay in the US can change from one hospital to the other, but on average, it is about $3,000 per day. This means that a ten-day recovery period may set you back $30,000.
If your condition requires you to recover in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), the price is even higher than that.
A trip to the dentist can also be pricey, although it will not put you at risk of bankruptcy. A dental examination costs about $50, whereas a tooth extraction costs about $280. Average prices for some other common dental problems are:
- Tooth filling: $115 – $190
- Root canal: $695
- Sedated tooth removal: $217
- Wisdom tooth removal: $175
How to Find Healthcare Jobs Openings
Healthcare jobs fluctuate significantly from area to area, so you must be open-minded about where you look. Here are a few ideas: Check online newspapers and magazines from your region. If you know anyone looking for a job, ask them if they’ve seen any ads for healthcare jobs. Research local hospitals and nursing homes. Look for open job postings near you and in nearby cities. Check with departments at local colleges and universities that teach healthcare-related classes. Many of them may have openings specifically for healthcare students. Finally, search online job boards with millions of jobs listed. Employers also use online job boards, like Careers.com, to advertise jobs. The panels are continually updated, so check back regularly to stay ahead of the game.
What to Do When You Reach the Salary Cap
Staying within your budget regarding healthcare is key to keeping your job. Several ways to do this include ensuring you have enough savings and a flexible spending account to cover costs when needed. Another way is to use a break-even rule to determine how much healthcare you have to save in a year. If you have to choose between paying for your healthcare now or saving for a future time when you need it, go for the latter. Another tip is to work towards becoming a critical care or emergency doctor. These jobs tend to pay well, and the extra money you save on healthcare could go towards hiring additional healthcare workers or towards providing better access to high-quality healthcare for your community.
How Much Health Care Costs in Your Area
According to a study by Express Scripts, the average monthly healthcare cost in the U.S. is $2,788. However, that number rises significantly depending on where you live. For example, the average cost of healthcare in the Northeast is $1,429; in the South is $1,351; and in the West, it is $1,116. Additionally, the cost of healthcare in the Midwest is $1,022, and in the Midwest and South, it’s $842. These costs are higher than average in the Northeast, the South, and the West, but they’re still manageable. If, like many people, you have a family member who’s mentally or physically disabled, and those costs will be even higher.
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The cost of living abroad can be a significant expense when you’re choosing a career in healthcare. However, there are many opportunities to work in this industry, and the pay is good. Additionally, healthcare jobs are constantly in demand and offer various salary ranges, depending on your experience and location. While the payment may not be as good as working in the United States, healthcare jobs are becoming more commonplace here, so it’s no longer a shock to find a job when you apply. To get started on your healthcare career path, the first thing to do is to find a job that interests you. After that, you’ll want to research your local hospitals and nursing homes to see open job postings. You can also check with local colleges and university departments that teach healthcare-related classes.
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