3:29 PM Eastern - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Health Care: Cheaper in India

DSC_0013.jpg When Karlyn Zimbelman, a farmer's wife from the tiny Montana town of Conrad, found out she needed hip-replacement surgery, she looked into the cost of the operation -- about $40,000.

For years, Karlyn and her husband have saved money but cutting out health insurance. The cost would sink their small farm. So, Karlyn did some research. She read in AARP's magazine about a medical tourist who got major surgery in India. The news story described great care at a reasonable price. That's how Karlyn, who had never traveled internationally beyond Mexico and Canada, found herself in a banker's office, taking a second mortgage on the farm to pay about $12,500 for surgery and 13 days of medical care in New Dehli.

With travel and other costs added, the total price tag came to about $16,500. She left mid-June this year, and her hip feels great.

Watch Karlyn tell her story here:

Still, she can't help wondering what's wrong with America's health care system that it's cheaper to fly around the globe instead of receiving care at the hospital close to her home.

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