Archive for February, 2014

Tooth Travel: Trends in Medical Tourism

When you mention medical tourism, most people think of cosmetic surgery. The classic nose job comes to mind, maybe, even a breast augmentation on the sly. But, did you know that 40% of all medical tourism is actually dental in nature?

dental_tourismAt first, it seems odd to fly around the world for a filling but tooth travel is so much more than just a quick trip to the corner dentist. In fact, many state-of-the-art dental procedures are not covered under insurance because it is not deemed necessary or it exceeds the maximum annual coverage for that policy. In fact, only 50% of North Americans even have a dental insurance policy. One of the overriding problems is that dental insurance is set up more to cover preventative issues, like cleanings and x-rays, not repair or cosmetic issues.

It is not just in Canada and the States. Europeans all have the same concerns about the health of their teeth and the cost of dental care. Unlike North Americans, who often just go without, the Europeans go to Hungary. That’s right. The former Soviet-bloc country has a reputation for being the place to go when you need dental work. They do some of the best work in the world and use the latest technology. In fact, there are many popular dental procedures to have done in Hungary and other overseas locations including:


  1. Teeth Whitening: Anyone can stick a tray full of goo in their mouths, but laser teeth whitening is a highly complex and permanent cosmetic dental procedure. A technician applies a gel to the teeth and then uses a laser to penetrate the tooth’s surface and break up both discoloration and stains.
  2. Veneers: This is another cosmetic dental procedure that is not covered by insurance. The dentist permanently affixes a thin veneer to each tooth in order to fix its coloration, appearance or shape. This is also a permanent process that results in expensive but gorgeous teeth.
  3. Implants: The newest solutions to dentures, implants are just what they sound like, an artificial tooth base is permanently inserted into the mouth and a new tooth is attached to it. Professional hockey players choose this option for their many lost teeth. It is not covered by insurance but is the wave of the future in cosmetic dentistry.
  4. Family dentals trips: Scheduling several different family members for dental cleanings, extractions and a filling or two can mean several days off work and hours on end in a dental chair or, worse, a chair in the waiting room. As bizarre as it may sound, many families are choosing vacations to exotic locales known for their dentists, like Costa Rica or Mexico. Each family member takes their turn in the dentist chair for cleanings, dental procedures or even cosmetic dentistry and then returns to the beach. No whining, crying or waiting and, for the same out-of-pocket cost, why not?

Most expenses related to dental maintenance and repair are eligible expenses through Canada Smart Plan.  If you are a Canadian business owner or self employed professional, registration for your Canada Smart Plan is free and can save you 30-40% on most health expenses without paying insurance premiums. 

Health expenses incurred abroad must be converted to Canadian Funds and the receipt translated to English for verification.

Treating Health Conditions Related to Environmental Mold

Judy2013-smI have long been an advocate of going to the source of a health problem rather than just treating the symptoms.  This means being an active participant in health care and engaging a wide range health professionals in the paramedical arena in addition to the
western medical options.

Often diminished health is caused by environmental toxins.  If this possibility is never considered or addressed, solving the mystery of the myriad of illnesses that are related to them, may never happen.



In an article by Dr. Mercola, he discusses the diagnosing and treatment of ailments related to environmental mold:  The Common Toxin that Can Be FAR More Damaging than Pesticides and Heavy Metals…



CBN News talks to a family stricken with mysterious illnesses caused by mold in their home…

Forget Antibiotics, Steroids, and Medications – Starve Mold Out of Your Body

Dr Mercola goes on to discuss How to Recover from Toxic Mold Exposure

Claiming Health Expenses Related to Treatment Of Toxic Mold Exposure

Many expenses for treatment by paramedical health practitioners are not covered by your Provincial health plan but are eligible under Canada Smart Plan.  Practitioners such as Naturopathic Doctor (ND) along with prescriptions by them, Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncturists are a few of many eligible expenses.

Canada Smart Plan is available to Canadian business owners and their employees as well as self employed professionals.

See the “Eligibility Requirements”.

Top 7 Countries For Medical Tourism

medical-tourism-destinationsWe Canadians somehow think that our medical services, hospitals and doctors are far superior to that of other countries, especially third world countries. That statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, many foreign countries are known for being tops in their particular specialty. The World Health Organization recently ranked the quality of health care in over 191 countries and the Canada ranked 30th. Shocked? Don’t be. Many Asian and South American countries began to specialize in certain fields to draw tourists and boost the local economy. Here’s a list of some of the top unexpected countries and what they specialize in.

  1. South Korea: Specializing in spinal surgeries and cancer research, South Korea has long been a leader in medical tourism to Asia.
  2. Singapore: This little Asian country is a power house in medical tourism. Ranking #1 in Asia and #6 overall on the WHO list, Singapore is the go to place for stem cell therapy. They have liberal laws on stem cell research and a new multi-billion dollar research facility, the likes of which is not even available in North America.
  3. Mexico: While not popular with actual surgeries, many people in the southwestern part of the United States travel across the border to Mexico for medical care. The uninsured and the under-insured in the United States find it much easier to pay the lower prices in Mexico for doctor’s visits and prescriptions than the inflated U.S. prices. It is all about value when traveling to Mexico and you definitely can get more for your dollar.  Mexico is also getting more popular for dental services.
  4. India: Movies like Slum Dog Millionaire do not paint India in the best light but the country has seen a 30% increase in patients in recent years. Specializing in expensive cardiac and orthopedic surgeries, the savings in India can be tremendous. In fact, a bypass in the States could run upwards of $80,000 but, in India, that same operation could cost just $8,000 – a savings of 90%.  As a Canadian, you may have to wait months for a much needed procedure through the medical system, and for many – it’s a small price to pay to get it done NOW!
  5. Turkey: The JCI (Joint Commission International) is the hospital accrediting body in the United States. Basically, they know which hospitals are the good ones. Turkey actually has the most JCI accredited facilities outside of the United States and specializes in eye surgeries.
  6. Hungary: Ironically, Hungary is known for dental work. Surely, there is a bad joke in there somewhere but the country has more dentists per capita than anywhere in the world. Dental procedures like implants, veneers and oral surgeries are popular and are offered at just 25% of the cost that a Canadian or American dentist would charge.
  7. Brazil: It only goes to reason that the country that gave us the Brazilian bikini and the corresponding Brazilian bikini wax, would be tops in cosmetic surgeries. In fact, Brazil has more plastic surgeons per capita than any country in the world.

When you need medical care it may pay to shop around (the world). Obviously you must proceed with great caution, do your research and always double-check before traveling for any serious procedure.

If you are planning a “Medical Vacation” that you will be claiming on your Canada Smart Plan account, please be sure to review the List Of Eligible Expenses

NOTE:  Cosmetic procedures are NOT eligible unless medically required.

When submitting an expense receipt from another country be sure to translate the receipt to English, including Date, Practitioner name and designation, procedure.  additionally convert the foreign currency to Canadian Dollar equivalent.

Canada Smart Plan is a smart choice for handling your health expenses.  We typically save our clients 30-40% on health expenses without paying an insurance premium.

Not a client yet?

Ask yourself these 4 questions:

  1. Do I own a Canadian Business? (Incorporated or Unincorporated/Self Employed)
  2. Do I pay Income Tax?
  3. Does my family have any Medical Expenses?
  4. Do I want to save $400-600 per $1000 in Medical Expenses?\

If you answered yes to the above register free today and start saving!

Top 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Surgery Abroad – Plus 1 more!

medical tourism questionsSurgery is a big step…

Getting on a plane and flying 16 hours to the other side of the planet for surgery is a really big step.

Are you ready?

Ask yourself:


  1. Can I afford this?  Chances are if you are having surgery overseas than you are getting it at a great discount.  While your Provincial health coverage will cover the cost of required procedures, the waits can be long and it’s possible that what you WANT done ISN’T covered.  The cost of extended health insurance is increasing while its overage, deductibles and co-pays are decreasing. Keep in mind that medical tourism involves paying cash out-of-pocket, usually a percentage up front, when an appointment is scheduled and the remainder shortly before surgery.
  2. Is this healthy? Medical procedures overseas often involve either procedures or medicines that have not yet been approved in Canada. Research well online and make educated decisions about your care. Just because something is not yet acceptable in Canada does not mean that it is in any way an inferior product. In fact, the Canadian drug approval process is notoriously slow to approve things.
  3. Am I having this surgery for me?  Cosmetic surgeries and dental procedures beg the question, “Are you having this procedure to make yourself happy?” You should never alter your physical appearance to please someone else. If you are self-conscious about your teeth or really want to get rid of some excess fat around your mid-section then, by all means, jump on the medical tourism bandwagon.
  4. Is this a safe procedure?  Online research is really an amazing tool when you need answers to your questions. Learn as much as you can about your procedure, the risks and the rewards. Investigate your hospital, doctor and post-operative care center. Ask your medical tourism travel agency if they have any additional materials to give you to increase your understanding. Chances are you are not the first person to ask these questions and they are prepared.
  5. Am I comfortable with the risks? There are inherent risks with any surgery. In fact, even Canadian hospitals make you sign a waiver that you know there are risks. Medical tourism has added factors involved. Make sure you know all the risks and are comfortable with them.
  6. Will I be happy with the results? You should know, in advance, that no plastic surgeon can make you look like J Lo or Britney Spears. No cosmetic dentistry specialist can give you Julia Roberts smile. Be honest with yourself and your doctor or dentist about the results you expect before m0oving forward. If you are still happy with your answer, then go buy your plane ticket.

One More Question: 

Can you save an additional 30-40% on Is the procedure you are having done outside Canada by claiming it through your Canada Smart Plan? 

If you are traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery here’s the deal.  A few years ago cosmetic surgery was EXCLUDED from the CRA’s approved list of expenses.  The only exception now, is if the procedure is medically required.

Many Canadians travel to other countries to have major dental work done.  Most of this can be claimed through Canada Smart Plan. 

Most other non-cosmetic surgeries and treatments can be claimed.  Check the list to be sure.  Though this list is comprehensive, it is not exhaustive.  If you don’t see your procedure on the list contact us and we’ll find out for you!

Canada Smart Plan is a smarter way of handling your health expenses without paying insurance premiums.  If you are self employed or own a business in Canada you are eligible.  Registration is free!  Get started today!