I have been meaning to do a post for some time now on what the costs of certain treatments for different ailments have been in our experience here in Rio. I find it to be unpredictable and often shocking. It's a good idea to keep cash in the country in case you need, well, as you'll see below - some bloodwork done! (A "good to know" - most places do NOT take Visa. Sao Vicente Hospital in Gavea does however and they have a lab there as well.)
- For example, when I was taken to Emergency in Copa D'Or for an anaphylactic reaction and I feel my life was saved by the treatment I received, it cost a mere R$180.
- The above struck me as particularly odd being that treatment for a routine urinary tract infection cost R$650 (Doctor's appointment, tests and prescription).
- An overnight ER visit by Mr. DRL for severe vomiting and convulsions a few months ago cost R$2,700 (but included the visit, some antibiotics, tests including an ultrasound and a CT scan).
- Prenatal visits are $R300 a pop, and ultrasounds vary between R$180 and R$350, depending on which tests are ordered.
- Blood tests are very expensive. I have paid up to R$2,000 for a set of bloodwork (and I have had to do about 5 or 6 sets of it over the course of my pregnancy). Luckily my insurance now pays for this directly!
- Physiotherapy/massage appointments have ranged between R$100 and R$130 and generally last at least an hour.
- The projected cost for the birth of my baby is R$13,000 which includes 2 obstetricians in the room at all times, a personal anaesthesiologist, and pediatrician. The cost would not change if it were to be C-section.
- Here's another funny one - over the counter pregnancy tests vary in price but I generally paid about R$30 for them. A pregnancy test - blood test - at the Sergio Franco clinic costs R$20. Also note that some of my at-home pregnancy tests were WRONG thus the number of TESTS plural that I had to take.
I would like to note that our medical insurance does cover these costs but in a lot of cases we have had to pay up front and be reimbursed later. We started off down here insured with an international healthcare plan for expats but found the paperwork quite overwhelming - ALSO there was some fine print in our policy, specifically we were not covered for a pregnancy unless the baby was conceived at least one year after the insurance policy had been in place. Oops.
Now we are insured with Bradesco here in Brazil, and so in many cases we do not have to pay up front if the place handles it directly, however others do not and in these cases we have to pay up front and submit later. For example the lab takes our insurance but my doctor, ultrasound technician, hospital, massage/physio, etc. do not.
Another note: there may be more cost-effective healthcare available, admittedly we tend to go to places that are highly rated - in search of "pristine" healthcare as one of my commenters put it.
Just something for expats to think about...