While you wouldn’t normally think that a backpacker would be heading abroad for their medical or dental issues, there are some doctors and dentists starting to target budget travelers to pop in for a teeth cleaning or have their health issues attended to.
As an American, I can attest to the truth that health care is extremely expensive in the USA. If you don’t have insurance you’re pretty S*** out of luck, and if you have an emergency you can easily be sucked into debt in the blink of an eye. You’re looking at around $500 minimum just to be seen at the emergency room!
In many other countries, some basic healthcare is free for everyone, and Mexico even offers free health insurance for travelers! While you probably won’t land a freebie abroad, basic health services are pretty dirt cheap, and by having dental work done, or seeing a specialist might cost you thousands in the US, you can go on a vacation, get yourself tended to and still save money.
I had a friend when I was living in Buenos Aires who needed to get a tooth pulled and he ended up only spending 30 or 40 bucks to get it taken care of, and he got a teeth cleaning while he was at it. I saw a lot of similar deals when studying in Spain and doing a search for clean and dent Madrid.
While I luckily have health insurance, I still get basic things done when I travel, because even with insurance, it’s still cheaper to basic checkups abroad! I think Obama has taken the US in the right direction with the healthcare reforms, but hopefully everything will become more accessible in the next few years.