060 _ Medical Tourism _ Myles Wakeham.wordpress

060 | Medical Tourism | Myles Wakeham

Myles Wakeham shares the little-known advantages of medical tourism, how he covers his medical bills and his personal journey to FI.

On today’s Choose FI we cover:

  • How Myles stumbled on FI
  • His background building businesses
  • How he finds opportunities
  • His experience with Bitcoin
  • How Financial Independence is all about choice
  • What to do once you reach FI
  • How to find what you truly enjoy
  • Why medical tourism is important
  • The different types of healthcare
  • How Myles found the sweet spot between the medical and insurance community
  • His story finding good dental health care in Mexico
  • Why Mexican dental health care is better quality and cheaper
  • His wife’s experience getting treatment in Mexico
  • How people from all over the US and Canada take advantage of medical tourism
  • Who needs to consider using medical tourism
  • Why it’s hard to trust insurance companies
  • Making a plan in case of adverse events
  • How to research the right healthcare plan
  • Hotseat questions


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24 thoughts on “060 | Medical Tourism | Myles Wakeham”

  1. Outstanding episode!

    For the past year, Mr. Groovy has been watching the Santa Claus-like RVer whom Miles mentioned. His YouTube channel is Cheap RV Living. I believe the specific episode referenced is: Going to Algodones, Mexico for Dental, Glasses, and Medications. I plan to watch it this week. I’ve also heard that Algodones is nicknamed “Molar City.”

    Also, frugalvagabond.com has a series of 6 posts on his experience with dental tourism in Thailand. He had excellent care.

  2. Great show, as always! Thanks Myles for helping us all to think way, way outside the box! This podcast blows my mind every single time!

  3. One of my favorite episodes so far. By the way Bitcoin is just one cryptocurrency, it’s analogous to USD being just one currency. There’s a whole world of yens, pesos, and francs each with their own qualities, uses, and investment potential.

    I’d say it’s more akin to the stock market than anything else. A wild, cocaine fueled stock market.

  4. I was loving the episode until you spoke of dental procedures done in Mexico. I’m a hygienist in the US (Texas) and every day I see horrible dentistry done in Mexico. Seriously, every day. People go there to save money but don’t forget you are doing the work to ultimately save your teeth! I can’t tell you how many times a week we have to pull the tooth or even the ones around the one that got worked on. People end up loosing more than one tooth just because of one bad crown due to an infection or loss of bone around the whole area. This is more common than uncommon. We truly cringe when people say they are going to Mexico to get their work done. Don’t even get me started on how much old, hard, tartar I find on the teeth that is not getting removed. How would you ever know? I would love to see your x-rays if you would be willing. I can tell you if you have periodontal disease or not. If it’s active I cannot tell from an x-ray though. In all fairness, this can happen with a dentist in the US but you can at least file a complaint with the dental board and have an investigation and compensation for malpractice. Also, most of the poor quality I see comes from crowns and bridges. Fillings can be a little safer but not always. People don’t realize one tiny piece of an overhang and you start inflammation, gum infections, and finally tooth loss. Your gums and bone do not like anything that is rough or misshapen. I’m sure there are great dentists in Mexico (yours sounds great) but I would be careful about recommended people go to any dentist in Mexico.
    If people want an alternative, I would suggest trying to find a community health center. You pay on a sliding scale based on income. Many of our patients pay $40 for fillings, cleanings, extractions and $600 for crowns.

  5. We have had wonderful experiences with dentists in Mexico. Many, if not most, have been trained in the US (check their credentials hanging on the walls). We have been going to Mexican dentists for almost ten years now and wouldn’t consider going back to those over paid practitioners in the US.

  6. Awesome, awesome show. Definitely one of my favorites. Reading one of the comments here, it doesn’t surprise me to see someone with a vested interest in Dentistry in the USA dumping on Mexican dental work. I’ve been going to Mexico for dental work for about 5 years and its been the best experience ever. I can concur with Myles that its WAY BETTER than US dentistry. For anyone to come down on Mexican dentistry as a general statement its kinda racist to be honest. The way that the commenter stated “I’m sure there are great dentists in Mexico” reminds me of a certain Presidents “I’m sure some of them are good people” statement. This is just plain wrong. My experience has been incredible and I would also state that the commenter probably never sees the tens of thousands of happy customers because they never go BACK to a US dentist. She only sees the ones that didn’t have a good experience and I would suggest that this is about 1% of the general patients that go down there. If she ever decided to go down there and saw the tens of thousands of people that flock to Mexico (particularly Algodones) for dental work, she might be able to see that most are very happy. I’m sure there are just as many (if not more) dentists in Mexico that see patients from US dentists that have had poor service and need to clean it up. It was interesting to hear that Myles had that experience comparing a dentist in Arizona and their charges vs. the Mexican equivalent.

    Anyway great, great show. Please have Myles back on again.

  7. I am thrilled that many are having great experiences with medical tourism and agree it is a viable option for many, especially for those who are FI or retired and have the time to go. I also appreciate the information and resources given. I’m just playing devil’s advocate for those who work in the US. Regulatory compliance and cost are greater in the US, as is the cost of living, so it makes sense for the service to cost more in this country vs lower COL countries, though not to the current degree. Many service costs even differ within the US between the states dues to similar issues. I agree the medical cost/insurance structure in the US is very high and ripe for competition and reform. The governments in some countries do not put as much regulation, cost or compliance burden on their practitioners as is done in the US. In fact, some US medical tourists are probably benefiting from the government subsidies provided to healthcare in some of the other locales. There is also a much greater chance of a lawsuit in the US if something goes wrong than in other countries, another cost that a provider must take into account. I’m not sure Jonathan would say he was being grossly overpaid as a pharmacist even though I’m sure there are pharmacists in other countries that may be paid much less for the same work… especially when adding in his education costs (another industry ripe for reform). It’s relative in many ways. Just food for thought, but a great discussion to have. Looking at what pricing levels are attracting people and the myriad of health care successes around the world is great for leveraging the hive mind 🙂

  8. Great show.
    I did a search and there now appears to be over 900 dentists in 300 clinics in Algodones.
    Myles, would you be willing to share the name of the dentist and the clinic that you have used in the past?

    • Hi Tim,

      First I realized after the show aired that I didn’t leave any contact details other than for the other podcast I co-host. Anyone can reach me through my Twitter channel at @mylesw

      As for my dentists, this is their website: http://www.driniguez.com

      Their specialty is cosmetic dentistry (e.g. veneers, etc.) but my wife had crowns & implant work done, and my daughter had wisdom teeth extraction. All jobs were done perfectly, with no residual issues.

      Hope this helps.

  9. What’s the name of that dentist you went to? I’m planning to head down to Algodones, have been researching but would love your input. Is it Sani? Thanks. Great interview, by the way.

  10. Excellent Podcast. I’ve listened to you guys since inception and because of you and MMM, 2017 has been my year to clean up my lack of attention to my finances. Amazing how in less than one year I am well on the way to retiring within 10 years (hopefully less). As someone once said to me, “you’re not a survivor, you’re a thriver”.

    I’m a pharmacist as well, Jonathan, and have my own gripes about our healthcare system. I also need to get a crown replaced due to poor work years ago from a very expensive dentist in Chestnut Hill (an affluent community) in MA. I thought that by going to the most regarded dentist in the area it would somehow prevent this kind of issue, and now I’m seriously looking to check out the referred dentist, above. It’s funny that Myles mentioned the “consultation fee”, because I wanted a second opinion before I actually had this crown replaced and the second dentist wanted over $260 for the “consultation”. I’ve also run the numbers between owning dental insurance (not worth it for most scenarios (run the numbers)) verses paying out of pocket verses joining a dental “club” with a monthly membership fee that affords members discounted prices verses calling Tufts Dental School and Harvard Dental School. I was planning on doing the latter, but now actually am intrigued by this.
    I see an opportunity here for a revolution. It’ll be interesting to see what Warren Buffett, JP Morgan and Amazon pull together.
    Anyways, very informative and inspiring.

  11. I think this is the best episode I’ve heard here. I love the passion. Unlike a traditional approach to FI – frugality, savings and investment, Myles shows that the willingness to go to where an opportunity might be, ahead of it, pays off. I believe that we can all benefit from this and we have to continue to think out of the box. Also taking that approach into health care makes a lot of sense. I’ve questioned the wrong track that the USA is on when it comes to a lot of things but particularly healthcare. We pay 10x more than other countries it seems for a sub-standard of care and constantly convince ourselves that we are better than they are. When it costs $6K for an aspirin in a hospital you know that something is desperately wrong. I for one am completely willing to travel south of the border to get medical care. I don’t trust any US providers, particularly the insurance companies, with the care of my family’s health.


  12. I like the info about medical tourism but you guys should think twice about using this guy as your Bitcoin expert in a follow-on show. I say this because his stories about his introduction to bitcoin is not consistent. He says he first caught on to Bitcoin when he saw a Bitcoin atm in a Western Union (these first appeared in the U.S. around 2014/2015 when Bitcoin was prices ran anywhere from $200- $800) but then later says he first purchased Bitcoin for $7 (2011 was the last time BTC was this low). Also, no one in this space for any amount of time refers to the entire cryptoasset market as ‘the bitcoin.’ Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to introduce blockchain technology which has been further developed to spawn the creation of hundreds of cryptocurrencies/utility tokens. It would be a disservice to your listeners to have someone on to talk about the blockchain revolution and only speak is Bitcoin.

    • Michael, just to clarify I bought BTC on Mt. Gox way before I found it actively used via Bitcoin ATMs. My first purchases were not on ATMs. ATMs was when I first saw its application in “real life”. Not sure if I made that clear.

      • Thanks for clarifying as that was unclear in the interview. I hope you’ll convey to the audience in the coming interview about why they should be excited about blockchain technology and it’s ability to cut costs in areas like insurance (instant payments for claims such as delayed flights through smart contracts) and finance; expand banking and lending to the other half of the world that does not have access (identification and credit worthiness that crosses all applications, not one rating on Facebook, another on Uber,…); and the ability to earn more money through content creation as well as viewing ads through micropayments. Bitcoin is a very small application of blockchain technology that is becoming increasingly irrelevant as it fails to adapt and innovate.

        • I didn’t trust this guy, information was very inconsistent and his success seems exaggerated.

          He built everything up on the premise he was financially successful from business and investing but the whole premise of someone going to Mexico to save a few hundred or even thousands for medical work is at odds with someone who has supposedly made a lot of money.

          Further he said he wished he could of afforded to pay for his daughter to attend the same university as his Mexican dentist attended.

          And all of this in case he needs some medical treatment? Australia has arguably the best medical treatment in the world for free which he could have whenever he likes.

          Lots of grand statements but no facts or consistency.

          Is he as wealthy as he would want us to believe? I highly doubt it.

    • Blockchain Revolution? WTF is that? I want to hear about Bitcoin. Please whatever you guys do, make this something that is understandable for us non-nerds. I like how Myles told the story of medical tourism coz I could relate to it. Please have him do the same for Bitcoin.

      • Blockchain is the underlying technology behind Bitcoin that enables you to use Bitcoin without having to worry that someone is double spending the same Bitcoin (think counterfeit concert/sporting event tickets). I doubt any true FI enthusiast would be excited to buy their first $100 in Bitcoin only to find that it will cost them $5 – $60 for the privilege to spend or transfer the Bitcoin. This is why Bitcoin is fading in it’s usefulness as a currency and other cryptocurrencies and Blockchain 2.0 technologies are much more exciting and promising in their applications.

  13. I am a physician and have traveled to 2-3 dozen countries on medical mission work and to train local doctors in the field in which I work. There is absolutely an opportunity for arbitrage here but let’s remember a few things:

    Most patients have no real way of knowing what the competency of a doctor is. Going by yelp or office decor is of little value.

    Contrary to what Myles said those doctors that are here in the USA from places like India and Bangladesh DID train in the USA. They may have gone to medical school, did residency or even practiced in their home countries but they all must redo residency training in the USA. To say they practice here with that training alone is incorrect.

    The fact that a doctor in Mexico has many certificates from the USA is meaningless. Unless you examine them, they could be from weekend courses or short training sessions. There are many “certification” courses that have little merit in reality.

    In other countries, patients seek out doctors with training in the states which is why the types of certification courses mentioned above are so popular. Just because you see a piece of paper from Baylor does not mean that person actually went to medical school there.

    I have worked with many many doctors in developing countries. Many are excellent. Some of them absolutely train at institutions that rival the best that we have here in the USA. However, the vast majority do not and the average American has no way to judge the quality of their training. If you think a piece of paper on the wall does that, you are mistaken.

    Lastly, Myles totally lost me on the whole filling claim. Those “old mercury” fillings are still felt by most dentists to be best. The theory that they lead to autoimmune diseases has been debunked over and over again. no credible scientist believes this. If his other advice is based on the same thinking that led to that comment, be careful.

  14. I live in Latvia (Europe), tooth cleaning costs 20,00 euros and when i go to dentist for checkup every half year if she can’t find anything to fix then she doesn’t charge me at all. most i have paid was 150.00 euros, but it was for 2 really bad teeth that she saved(took 3 weeks and 4 visits). Also if your teeth really really hurt then can go to family doctor and he/she can send you to dentist for free, thought usually nobody does that…nobody wants to wait when it hurts and wants it fixed it asap. Many latvians have emigrated to different countries for better economic opportunities, but they still come back to Latvia once a year to check in with doctors.

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