Private Surgery – Who Pays the Bill?

We oftentimes are asked if any of the private surgery costs can be reimbursed by the provincial healthcare plan. The answer to this question is – it depends on the type of surgery you are going to have. Canadian provincial health plans do not cover any healthcare costs for private surgery if that surgery or treatment is covered by a provincial healthcare plan. So, for example, a hip or knee replacement is not going to be covered.

If it is something that is not offered in Canada, you may be able to recover some costs. However, this path is long and arduous and requires advanced planning. Each province has different rules. Every province requires your Canadian doctor to provide certain documentation to state that this is the needed surgery or treatment and that it is not offered in Canada.

Fraser Institute recently calculated how much Canadians pay for public healthcare and here are the numbers. “The 10 percent of Canadian families with the lowest incomes will pay an average of about $690 for public health care insurance in 2022. The 10 percent of Canadian families who earn an average income of $76,704 will pay an aver­age of $7,374 for public health care insurance, and the families among the top 10 percent of income earners in Canada will pay $41,914.” These expenses are withheld through our Canadian taxes for our “free healthcare” that is experiencing lengthy delays accessing the medical services.

Considering private surgery and its costs are always a serious matter. In 99% of the cases, your private surgery costs will have to be covered by you. However, to some Canadians, it is a timely option they want to have. If you are considering private surgery, we can help. The medical facilities we work with are safe, and affordable, and provide great outcomes for our clients. Give us a call 877 344 3544 or email us info@healthvantis.com

Medical Travel: How It Works

Traveling for medical reasons can be complicated. All the details have to be worked out before you go. Keeping track of all the moving pieces can get stressful. Health Vantis medical travel process is broken down into easy 5 steps. We explain everything and help you along so that you can focus on your health.

Step 1.

We determine the complexity of your case. If you wish to proceed, different fee structures (reach out to us to inquire) apply at this point. Informed Consent and Release Form and Client Agreement are executed upon agreeing to have your diagnostic tests and medical records reviewed.

Step 2.

We will then take a detailed medical history, obtain your medical records, complete all necessary paperwork and send them off to our facility(s) for review.

Step 3.

We get feedback from the facilities and communicate with you. Oftentimes there is a consultation with the specialist that happens at this step. Sometimes the consults are at a fee, and sometimes they are complementary. Firm surgery pricing is presented at this point.

Step 4.

You make a decision whether or not to proceed with the surgery. If you are proceeding, we will make all the necessary arrangements for your medical appointments/surgery and travel based on your preference and availability. *Please note that accommodations, airfare and transportation are not included in the above pricing. A travel companion is required at all of our facilities.  All COVID rules must be observed in the state or province you travel to.

If you do not wish to proceed, there are no further fees or any obligations. You are in control of your health.

Step 5.

During the final stage, you will receive a detailed pdf file with all your medical travel details documented and a border patrol letter to serve as your medical itinerary and a point of reference. We will send reminders about your coming up appointments/surgery a few days in advance and make sure everything is on schedule with the facility.  Any changes to COVID rules will be communicated to you immediately.  You will have one point of contact the entire time.

If you would like to learn more about private surgery without delays, please email us at info@healthvantis.com or call us toll-free 877 344 344

How much does a private knee replacement cost?

When it comes to costs of the private knee or hip replacement surgery in the US, it can vary widely. For example, the price for a knee replacement can start at about USD $30,000 go up as high as USD$68,000. Why such a difference? US healthcare operates differently than Canadian. The cost for any surgery to a person is determined by their private health insurance and the prices the insurance company negotiated with suppliers of medical services.

In Canada, private knee replacements are done at very few facilities and their costs do not vary widely. There are just a couple of provinces that are able to offer private joint replacements in Canada. These surgeries are not available to those Canadians residing in the same province as a private medical facility, with one exception of Quebec. So, if you are an Ontario resident, a private knee replacement in Ontario is not an option for you.

Health Vantis works with medical facilities in the US and Canada that are safe and offer excellent outcomes for a private knee replacement. The prices for a private knee replacement start from $28,000 USD & $28,000 CAD and can go up, depending on the location.

If you require more information about your options for private knee replacement, please reach out to us toll-free at 877 344 3544 or by email at info@healthvantis.com

Private Hysterectomy in Canada and the US: Abdominal vs Laparoscopic

Medical wait times in Canada can be long. GYN elective surgery such as hysterectomy may sound like something one can wait for in peace, but in reality, many women suffer in pain while waiting. Hysterectomy is recommended after all non-surgical options were tried unsuccessfully. Waiting for it can be frustrating.

Health Vantis can help you find a reputable place in the US to get a private hysterectomy. Unfortunately, this surgery is not offered in Canada in a private manner.

Abdominal (Open) Hysterectomy

An abdominal hysterectomy is removal of the uterus through an incision in the lower abdomen. It is a more invasive approach because the incision can be 6 to 12 inches, horizontal or vertical.  It is usually recommended when the uterus is large and can not be removed safely through the vagina.

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

During a laparoscopic hysterectomy, several small incisions are made, instead of one large. A laparoscope is a thin lighted tube with a camera. It allows a surgeon to see and work inside the abdomen. A laparoscope is usually inserted through a small incision in the belly button. Other surgical instruments are inserted through other small incisions. The uterus is then cut into smaller pieces and is removed either through the incisions or through the vagina. This method is considered minimally invasive as it allows faster recovery due to smaller incisions.

Both types of hysterectomy are done under anesthesia and both require someone to pick you up after the procedure and take you home or to a hotel room for recovery. If you would like more information, please call us at toll-free 877 344 3544 or email info@healthvantis.com

Private Hip Replacement in Canada and the US: How It Works

Hip replacement surgery is often recommended to alleviate severe joint arthritis. In the past, this surgery required a stay in the hospital and months of recovery. With advancements in medicine, hip replacements are oftentimes day surgery. You would arrive at the surgical center in the am, and be discharged in the late afternoon.

It is unfortunate that medical wait times in Canada for joint replacement are months even years long. Depending on your pain level and how long you are able to wait, you may want to consider a private hip replacement. Paying out of pocket for medical care may be against our national pride in the Canadian “free” healthcare system. But as one of our clients put it “I could have gotten a new car or a new hip. My new hip is 100 times more precious to me than a new car. “

So how does a private hip replacement process work? We first have a conversation with you, and determine what your preferences are and where you are in your health journey. If you have a recent set of XRAYs and/or have seen an orthopedic surgeon here in Canada we can start right away.

We try to provide you with more than one option for your private hip replacement. Safe outcomes, affordability, and ease of travel are usually at the top of our clients’ concerns. We discuss these options in detail. Once you settle on a location, we collect your medical records and submit them for a specialist’s review. A consultation usually takes place shortly thereafter.

If you decide to proceed, we start working on all the details of your travels so that nothing is overlooked or missed. This step usually takes a few days to complete and at the end, you will have a detailed medical travel file that is sent to you with all the steps and information you need to follow. We are also available throughout your travel to find answers to your questions and make your travel for a private hip replacement a less stressful event.

There are private facilities in Canada and the US for private joint replacement and both are an option if you choose us to help you. For more information and detailed inquiries please reach out to us toll-free 877 344 3544 or by email at info@healthvantis.com

New Feature Available for Private Diagnostics!

New Feature Available for Private Diagnostics!

We get a lot of calls and emails for private diagnostic clinics.  In the past, we would assist in making the arrangements for someone to get a MRI, CT Scan, Colonoscopy, EMG and so on.  A non-refundable fee of $100 was required to make the arrangements for the person to pay for our time and expertise on knowing right where to send you.  Due to the influx of emails and calls we get for these, we had to think of a better way to field these inquiries to make the most of everyone’s time and money.

We now offer a list of all the private facilities, that we are aware of, available to you in Canada and a few cross border options for: MRI, CT Scan, Colonoscopy/Endoscopy, EMG, ECHO and Biopsy.  These are the most requested services we get inquiries for.  The list you receive will have the facility name, location, contact information, ie. phone number and email, and cost.

Most facilities require a referral.  Not all are willing to provide a cost to you unless you have a referral, therefore, we give a ‘starts at’ or ‘ranges from’ ballpark.  Once you submit your referral and they have reviewed it, an exact cost can be given to you.  In some instances, you might be requested to submit your doctor’s clinical notes.

EMG, echocardiogram (ECHO) and biopsy do not have many options within Canada, therefore, the list will be short.  Not all provinces have private facilities.   You are also not able to go to a private facility within your own province with the exception of Quebec and for MRI or CT Scan.  It is also important to note that while we will keep the most up to date pricing, it is subject to change at any time.  With COVID still an issue, some facilities have shut down temporarily.

Trying to locate a private facility within Canada is an easy google search, however, getting the accurate information and someone to call you back with pricing requires a lot of time and follow up.  The value of this is that you can have a complete list with private facilities’ phone numbers, email address and approximate cost on options available to you.  It will help you make an informed decision quickly as to whether or not you wish to wait for the system to get you in or to pay out of pocket.

To access a copy to the diagnostic test you need, click here!

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

info@healthvantis.com

877-344-3544

Complexities of the Spine

Complexities of the Spine

The spine is a very complex part of your body.  It has disks, nerves, a spinal cord, and 33 vertebrae divided into 5 sections: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and coccyx.  There are joints, ligaments, tendons and muscle surrounding it.  The spine supports your body to walk, twist and move and can hinder multiple areas to the rest of your body when something is amiss.  It is no wonder why one size does not fit all for someone who is experiencing spinal pain.  The complexity in treating it alone requires great skill, incredible knowledge of all these parts and how they affect one another.

We have seen dozens of cases for people needing a spinal surgery.  Not a single case was like the other.  They are almost all unique and never a cut and dry issue like someone needing a joint replacement.  A MRI only assists the surgeon in seeing what is creating pain, however, it is the knowledge of how and where the pain is produced in other areas of the body that they can form a true diagnosis and treatment plan.

A pain questionnaire is normally completed first.  It asks you to describe your pain and list where you are having it.  Is it sharp, intermittent, burning, dull, achy, pins & needles etc.  A whole other series of questions are also asked such as: how far can you walk without pain and for how long, can you go up stairs, does your pain go away while sitting or lying down, does your pain radiate or is it stationary, etc.  Neurosurgeons will do a physical exam checking for the strength you have in your arms and legs to pinpoint which area(s) are affected.  They take all of this detailed information to determine what is truly going on and what the best course of action is.  

Surgery is not always necessary and most definitely not the first treatment plan in the majority of cases, unless it was due to a traumatic injury and requires immediate attention.  There are many treatment plans to try prior to jumping into surgery.  Things like physiotherapy,  cortisone injections, facet joint blocks, rhizotomies, etc. are all non-invasive procedures for treatment to try first.  The goal is to attempt and repair the damage without surgery.  That is always a last resort.  Many times, the muscles surrounding the affected area need to be strengthened to allow the area to heal and that is all that’s needed.  Other times, something like cortisone might be appropriate.  

Regardless, spine ailments are tricky and can sometimes take awhile to determine what is going to work best for you.  It is also not something that can be healed over night.  Most treatment plans need to be tried for a minimum of 6-12 weeks before trying something else.

If you are a candidate for spine surgery and do not want to wait, contact us to have one of our facilities provide you with what might be the best course of action.  info@healthvantis.com or 877-344-3544.

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

info@healthvantis.com

877-344-3544

Updated Cross Border Travel Guidelines for Medical Purposes

Updated Cross Border Travel Guidelines for Medical Purposes

The rules regarding travel continue to change from what it seems like day to day or week to week.  In the past 2 years, getting across the border has been cumbersome to say the least.  We have tried to stay ahead of it so we know how to assist our clients so here are the latest rules per travel.cg.ca:

All travelers must be fully vaccinated to enter the US and return to Canada.  Fully vaccinated definition is someone who is 2 weeks out from their last vaccine dose.  Proof of a negative COVID-PCR test taken 24 hours prior to departure is required to enter the US.  Proof of a negative COVID-PRC test taken 72 hours before arrival back to Canada is required.  Antigen tests are not acceptable in either country.  A previous positive test is acceptable if it has been 14-180 days in both countries. The person must be symptom free when they arrive in either country.

Proof of vaccination needs to be uploaded to ArriveCAN before they board a flight or reach land in Canada.  A paper or digital copy of proof of vaccination also needs to be carried with you.  If you meet these guidelines, you will not be required to quarantine.

Leave for medical treatment and return to Canada exempt from standard rules:

Persons who must leave and return to Canada to receive essential medical treatment or services in another country are exempt from standard rules.  This does not include surgeries or diagnostic tests that are deemed elective or non-urgent.

For individuals who require medical treatment or services (for example, life-saving treatment) outside of Canada, they must have:

  • upon leaving Canada, written evidence from a licensed health care practitioner in Canada indicating treatment or services outside Canada are essential; and
  • upon return to Canada, written evidence from a licensed health care practitioner in the foreign country indicating treatment or services were provided in that country

And 

If you’re the person requiring medical treatment, you may have 1 person accompany you if:

  • you’re a minor or dependent child or
  • you require assistance in accessing the essential medical services or treatment

The accompanying person must meet entry requirements for their return to Canada. The accompanying person is exempt from quarantine and arrival testing, but will still be required to:

  • follow local public health guidance
  • wear a mask when in public, and
  • keep a list of close contacts for the 14-day period after arrival
  • if qualifies as fully vaccinated and they have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19, they would also be exempt from pre-entry test requirements.

If you are interested in private surgery and need help navigating the current rules, please contact Health Vantis to assist you in your journey so no detail is left out at 877-344-3544 or Info@healthvantis.com.

Travel Insurance vs Complications Coverage

Travel Insurance vs Complications Coverage

We get a lot of calls from people looking for complications coverage if they are traveling for medical treatment.  This can often times be confused for traditional travel insurance.  You will quickly find that they are not the same kind of coverage.  Below we will explain the difference:

Travel Insurance

Travel policies were created to cover the cost of damage to personal property, for instance, baggage, rented equipment such as rental cars, trip cancellation, acute medical expense coverage, accidental death and/or flight accident coverage.  Other things it might cover could be emergency assistance for lost passports, cash wires, and re-booking of canceled flights.  

There is also a different kind of travel insurance called interruption coverage.  This is to cover you should there be an illness, death in the immediate family, sudden business conflict or weather related issues.  This coverage will reimburse you for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.

Keep in mind that there are all kinds of clauses and exclusions to these polices.  One important one is the misunderstanding that ‘medical coverage’ is available for pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure   Nearly all of these policies exclude pre-existing conditions.  If you are traveling for a scheduled surgery, this kind of policy will not cover you.  If you have a heart disorder and have a heart attack while traveling, this policy will not cover you.  What it will cover are instances where accidents occur and need immediate attention such as  a fall that required stitches or a car accident that required medical care.

The best advice is to read your contract in full detail to know and understand what is and what is not included.

Complications Coverage

When you realize travel insurance will not cover a scheduled surgery, you will likely spend hours looking for options that will.  We can save you a lot of time.  There is only 1 company we know of that provides complication coverage to Canadians traveling for medical care due to the uniqueness of the travel.  That company is called Global Protective Solutions (GPS).  It is designed to cover you should there be complications as a result of a scheduled surgery.  

The policy will cover you for up to 180 days post initial surgery.  Additional medical or surgical treatment must be completed within a 270 day period.

Like most policies, there are limitations.  For example, if you do not follow all of the pre and post operative medical instructions, you will not be covered.  If you have an aesthetic procedure and you do not like the outcome, you will not be covered.  Just like a travel policy, read the details close to know what is an acceptable reason for reimbursement.

Also keep in mind that most coverages on either kind of policy have maximum benefits for each specific need.  Key take away, be sure to read the policy fully.  If you do not understand a certain clause, contact the company for clarification. 

Medical Facilitator for Private Surgery

When it comes to traveling for medical reasons, many people do not have much experience. We hope that we never will have to seek medical care outside our home area. However, long waitlists in Canada make us look for private options for surgery in Canada and the US.

It’s a good idea to see what pops up on Google search when you type in “private hip replacement in Canada”, but what about the process and preparation? What about safety and the reputation of the facility and doctor’s credentials as well as customer experience? And one of the most important questions – how much does it cost?

If you are a busy person, hiring a medical facilitator may be an option. A good medical facilitator is your health travel advocate and expert. They will make all the logistical arrangements for you, find out the answers to all your questions, and guide you through the process. You can rely on them to do all the legwork for you so that you can focus on your health. A good medical facilitator is able to make your medical travel a much less stressful process. They usually have relationships with safe and affordable medical facilities and visited them to view the area, meet with the doctors or administrators and walk the path a patient would when sent to that facility.

However, how do you know which company to hire, who is trustworthy and worth your money? Word of mouth is a great source. Ask around, reach out to your friends and relatives for a suggestion. Google the service and make an inquiry. Make a request to refer you to their past clients and take the time to talk to them. Pay attention to how they get paid. If they are transparent with their fees, it is an indication that they will not hide anything from you. Ask them where they are located. If they happen to be in your home town, meet with them face to face if possible.

In other words, take your time selecting your medical travel facilitator. You will be glad you did. Health Vantis helped many Canadians get successful private surgery. You can find out testimonials here or just reach out and we can connect you with some of our past clients who will be able to talk to you directly.

We are at toll-free 877 344 3544 or email info@healthvantis.com