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Old 01-08-2008, 12:31 PM   #41
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As for "consumer value" I know some people will go a long way for a bargain.. but do consider the expenses of a flight, to say nothing of other logistical complications if you are traveling while sick. French lessons would also come in handy, with a special focus on medical jargon. (I'd hate to be sick and not know what people were doing to me or why, and not be able to discuss options coherently.) If you have a procedure that requires any followup, you will have to pay for interim meals and lodging. Combined with the weak dollar the whole affair would be unlikely to be any great "deal".
All very valid considerations.

It has intrigued me, however, reading about the "medical tourism" phenomena. First article I saw related about people going to Thailand for treatment and staying in "resort-like" facilities. And being very satisfied with the whole process, the care, the attention, not to mention saving a lot of dough.

Likely, this process would work best for someone who has an elective procedure to be performed. One where time is not the first consideration. Like maybe a hip-replacement.

The considerations you mention would indeed make me very wary. But it is interesting "medical tourism" does seem to be a growing business. I am wondering if "competition" in the practice of medicine is going to be driven increasingly by global outsourcing. Perhaps a topic for a whole separate thread.
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Old 01-09-2008, 01:12 PM   #42
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The medical system in France is great if you're French, but it's certainly not the first place I'd think of going for medical tourism. I would think it would be rather expensive for a non-citizen there. I'd imagine the bargains are in places like Thailand, China, India, etc.
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:13 AM   #43
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Well I just found this thread and since I came back from visiting the folks in Switzerland/France (where I grew up) for the holidays, I thought I would chime in.

I am fluent in French and I can tell you that the Parisians are not only rude to Americans, but they are rude to everyone (me included), so don't take it personally. But I must say I don't find them any ruder than say New Yorkers (I am fluent in English, so the language is not the problem there either). I often fly to Europe via NY and almost every time I am in NY for just a few hours I encounter a rude taxi driver, a rude airline employee, or a rude airport employee (No I don't exaggerate one bit). I got lost once at JFK and asked an airport employee for directions and he just looked at me said "get lost morron". As other pointed out before, get out of Paris, and you'll meet some really nice people.

On the other side I was once in Paris walking around and an American tourist came up to me for directions. He clearly thought I was Parisian, yet made no attempt to even speak French. He spoke directly in English, never said please or thank you, talked to me in a loud voice like I was stupid, never making eye contact with me... To tell you the truth, even though I was fluent in English, understood what he was asking and knew the answer to his question, during a few seconds I was tempted to pretend I just spoke French and couldn't help him. I felt like I was walking down the street and suddenly someone slapped me in the face. But, I ended up helping him anyways, though I was never thanked for it. I am not going to make a gross generalization about American tourists from that one experience, because I know many more Americans, including my wife, who are very well behaved tourists. But those are the people giving American tourists a bad reputation IMHO.
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:26 AM   #44
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I was at the service counter at a local shopping center the other day and a woman (not American, but not Estonian either) came right up, cut in line and demanded, in English, that they call her a taxi right away. She was claiming that the taxi's drivers sitting outside wouldn't take her to her destination (wherever that was.) I think her attitude was the problem.

Point is even non-native English speakers assume other people can/will speak English to them when in a foreign country.

Also, I've flown twice from JFK to Europe and found quite a few of the employees there to be quite nasty.
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:43 AM   #45
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Point is even non-native English speakers assume other people can/will speak English to them when in a foreign country.
And that maybe where the problem lies. If you are French (or German, or Italian...) for example, travelling to America, you are expected to speak English because otherwise nobody will understand you. But you are also expected to speak english even if you stay in your own country because anglophone tourists won't make the effort to learn your language. In both cases, much is demanded from the French, Germans, Italians to learn English and accomodate anglophone tourists wherever they are in the world. I think this is the kind of things that breeds resentment...
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:58 PM   #46
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As far as medical care in France, I think it is great and that it has improved dramatically in the past few years.
Given the fact that I have the French citizenship through my mom (mom's family is French, Dad's is Swiss), I have the opportunity to reenter the national health system free of charge until next year. I was covered under that system while going to college in France 10-15 years ago, but I exited the system when I moved to America and have been covered only by private insurance companies ever since. But I am getting a bit uneasy about the private health insurance system here, and I am particularly worried about the possibility of being denied healthcare coverage due to pre-existing conditions. So I will probably choose to reenter the French national health system at the end of this year. It isn't cheap (premiums would be about 170 euros per month), but I feel like if suddenly I became uninsurable in America, at least I would have a place to go to to get great healthcare at a great cost. Plus they would also cover me while I am in the US for medical, dental and vision though only up to what it would cost for similar procedures in France. Since for now I have private healthcare insurance and intend to keep it for as long as they will keep me, that means that the French national health system would pay me back for any unreimbursed expenses such as copays and deductibles.
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Old 01-10-2008, 01:20 PM   #47
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Outside of North America, people are extremely friendly and hospitable
Congratulations! You have just made the broadest statement ever in the history of the internet.

Sounds like you might need to travel a little more! In my travels I've only been robbed twice, and once was by one of those always friendly, happy go lucky Europeans.

Glad to know that we here in America invented violence

BTW: Anybody who thinks everybody in Europe is friendly hasn't visited Germany. That being said, the French have always been very nice in all the times and cities I have visited there.
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:41 PM   #48
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Went to France several years back with my wife to visit my daughter who was doing some work there. i second what's been said about Paris. it was fast-paced like New York, except in New york at least we speak the language. Even the waiters at the cafes in Paris were short with us. You're in a service business! But then all three of us went to the southwest by train and visited some coastal towns. The attitude was entirely different. Nothing but nice!
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:48 PM   #49
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On the other side I was once in Paris walking around and an American tourist came up to me for directions. He clearly thought I was Parisian, yet made no attempt to even speak French. He spoke directly in English, never said please or thank you, talked to me in a loud voice like I was stupid, never making eye contact with me... To tell you the truth, even though I was fluent in English, understood what he was asking and knew the answer to his question, during a few seconds I was tempted to pretend I just spoke French and couldn't help him.
You have excellent self control. I'd likely have sent him to the nearest slum.

Ha
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:18 PM   #50
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I have the French citizenship
FI-EHRRDreamEHRRR.. you have ze Frainch citizenSHIP and ze Frainch acczont in your blood, n'est çe pas?


Seriously, that sounds like a good reckoning and you are lucky to have the alternative!! €170 now = ~ $250; I've never heard of a monthly comprehensive plan so cheap for a "regular person" in the US. I'd heard (3-4 years ago) that the Italian non-citizen temp. resident fee was on the order of €400 p.a... but I imagine France is more organized and professional and thus more costly than here.

IF you are an EU citizen, you would be eligible for, and should look into getting should you come over here, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that would also give you access to (some?/all?/aspects of?) other EU countries' systems should you be traveling w/in the EU. [Do check on particulars of this, which appear to be in flux.. I know little of it, not being an EU citizen but only able to access Italian health care through my marriage to an Italian citizen --if I were to travel to other EU countries, I would probably take out travel health ins. for myself.]
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:50 PM   #51
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The medical system in France is great if you're French, but it's certainly not the first place I'd think of going for medical tourism. I would think it would be rather expensive for a non-citizen there. I'd imagine the bargains are in places like Thailand, China, India, etc.
I would be careful about medical tourism in China ... don't know about India and have heard good things about Thailand for plastic surgery.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:00 PM   #52
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. But I must say I don't find them any ruder than say New Yorkers (I am fluent in English, so the language is not the problem there either). I often fly to Europe via NY and almost every time I am in NY for just a few hours I encounter a rude taxi driver, a rude airline employee, or a rude airport employee (No I don't exaggerate one bit). I got lost once at JFK and asked an airport employee for directions and he just looked at me said "get lost morron".
I had a similar experience, and it wasn't even NY city... but one of the far out burbs ... Actually White Plains Airport. I was interviewing for a new job after not having to travel (especially to NY area) for a while. I landed at the airport, got my luggage and went to the rental car counter where I was ignored and then yelled at. As I shook my head in disbelief a fellow traveler in back of me commented 'welcome to NY'.
An observation: the PR about NYers being nice and polite is PR hype.
When I did finally get back to the city, I found no change... nor did I expect any. The nice thing about having low expectations is that no one disappoints you and you don't get as mad or frustrated at things.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:52 PM   #53
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FI-EHRRDreamEHRRR.. you have ze Frainch citizenSHIP and ze Frainch acczont in your blood, n'est çe pas?
oui, I'm busted...



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IF you are an EU citizen, you would be eligible for, and should look into getting should you come over here, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that would also give you access to (some?/all?/aspects of?) other EU countries' systems should you be traveling w/in the EU. [Do check on particulars of this, which appear to be in flux.. I know little of it, not being an EU citizen but only able to access Italian health care through my marriage to an Italian citizen --if I were to travel to other EU countries, I would probably take out travel health ins. for myself.]
I have never heard of that EHIC card but it sounds interesting. I'll have to look into it. Right now when I travel to Europe I rely solely on my US private health insurance with worldwide coverage... That being said I am not the one paying the $10,000 a year premiums on it...
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:13 AM   #54
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The EHIC is very cool. Basically, as an EU (or EEA) citizen, you're entitled to (and encouraged to get) an EHIC card that will cover the cost of your medical expenses while temporarily traveling or staying in other EEA (European Economic Area) countries. It's not just for emergency situations, but covers chronic illness and all pre-existing conditions while you're away from home.

It doesn't mean your treatment will be necessarily free, it means you will be treated the same as a citizen of the country your visiting. If their system has free care, your care will be free. If they require some small co-pay, then you'll have to pay that too. But I believe any out of pocket expense will be reimbursed to you by your own country when you return home.

Here is everything you need to know about the EHIC:

Employment, Social Affairs & Equal Opportunities - The European Health Insurance Card
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:09 AM   #55
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I wonder if this so-called "stereotypical" Amercian tourist is another urban myth? I don't know that Americans disproportionately more than any other nationality "talk loud, wear shorts inappropriately, etc".

I kind of think that is a bunch of bunk. Based on my own observations.
Funny, when we (we're Asian) are tourists as a LARGE family and stand out (like we're the only Asians around), we always have to remind the older in-laws not to talk so loud. I think the bottom line is that you don't want to be obnoxious in someone else's territory. One way that "obnoxiousness" is portrayed is by being a demanding unreasonable person with an entitlement attitude (wow, that's a description of many people!).

We have plans to visit France in 2010. I've taken two years in French in high school (about 25 years ago) and 1 semester in college, but I need to spend more time learning conversational French if I'm going. Easy to ask the question. Difficult to understand the answer!
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A few anecdotes signifying not much
Old 03-03-2008, 06:47 PM   #56
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A few anecdotes signifying not much

Enjoyed this thread -- here are some anecdotes from my travels:

1. In Cote d'Azur (Vence) about a dozen years ago my wife and I stayed at a lovely 17th C. inn, run by a woman and her daughter. The mother had a cheerful but formal manner -- and always greeted us with a singsong "Bonjour!" After a while we decided she secretly meant "F You!" and imagined that was what she was saying each time, albeit in a pleasant sing song way. In our fantasy we didn't begrudge her this little secret rudeness and liked her special form of empowerment in the sometimes thankless service business! The dinner in the inn's dining room was to die for...but that's another story.

2. Once in Italy on a local train after a long day we had forgotten to cancel our tickets before boarding. Wouldn't you know it, a conductor appeared and asked for tickets (a rarity in this particular region). I fumbled for our tickets as he sized up the situation (cheaters!) and developed a sour look on his face. I held up the uncancelled tickets and (looking sheepish) said in Italian, "I'm sorry, sir. I made a stupid mistake." The conductor hesitated a second and then laughed and tousled my hair -- I was in my 40's then -- as though I were a little boy. He said that it wasn't a problem and have a nice trip.

3. Recently in Quebec my wife and I were in a Quebecois crafts store and we bought a painted ceramic plate with Quebec icons on it, such as a sheep. The oldish woman proprietor smiled warmly when I used French with her (as unpolished as it was) and she pointed to each symbol in turn and taught me the french words (e.g., "mouton") and had me repeat them. My wife paid with a credit card and reached for the wrapped up plate to leave, but the lady was having none of that. She came out from the counter and across the store, where I was waiting by the door, putting on my gloves, and handed it to me with a big smile. She thanked me and wished me a very good trip back to the States. My wife and I loved it!

All of this signifies not much -- just three stories -- but suggests perhaps that language and human interaction is incredibly rich, mysterious, and wonderful!

- BB
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:29 PM   #57
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I had a similar experience, and it wasn't even NY city... but one of the far out burbs ... Actually White Plains Airport. I was interviewing for a new job after not having to travel (especially to NY area) for a while. I landed at the airport, got my luggage and went to the rental car counter where I was ignored and then yelled at. As I shook my head in disbelief a fellow traveler in back of me commented 'welcome to NY'.
An observation: the PR about NYers being nice and polite is PR hype.
When I did finally get back to the city, I found no change... nor did I expect any. The nice thing about having low expectations is that no one disappoints you and you don't get as mad or frustrated at things.
hey, i resemble that remark. LOL

i grew up just north of NYC and spent a lot of time there as a kid and teenager. and still visit about once every few years for the culchah. yes, Noo Yawkers are rude. but not all. i met a lot of really nice folks who helped me get from point A to point B. several fussed over me and made sure i had someone meeting me.

i think it had something to do with the smile on my face and the Please and Thank You coming out of my mouth. either that or i'm cuter than I thought.

people are people no matter what their zip code.
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:51 AM   #58
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I have spent a few weeks in Paris, and had both very negative and very great experiences with the Parisians, so just another major metro, I'm guessing.
The Parisians are alot more open with their affection than we will ever be. Everyone kisses in public there. So, I got into the mood (in my 20's, so forgive me) and kissed a guy who had a crush on me while riding the metro....ahhhh...I felt like a Parisian then.
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Old 03-08-2008, 02:04 PM   #59
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As far as medical care in France, I think it is great and that it has improved dramatically in the past few years.
Given the fact that I have the French citizenship through my mom (mom's family is French, Dad's is Swiss), I have the opportunity to reenter the national health system free of charge until next year. I was covered under that system while going to college in France 10-15 years ago, but I exited the system when I moved to America and have been covered only by private insurance companies ever since. But I am getting a bit uneasy about the private health insurance system here, and I am particularly worried about the possibility of being denied healthcare coverage due to pre-existing conditions. So I will probably choose to reenter the French national health system at the end of this year. It isn't cheap (premiums would be about 170 euros per month), but I feel like if suddenly I became uninsurable in America, at least I would have a place to go to to get great healthcare at a great cost. Plus they would also cover me while I am in the US for medical, dental and vision though only up to what it would cost for similar procedures in France. Since for now I have private healthcare insurance and intend to keep it for as long as they will keep me, that means that the French national health system would pay me back for any unreimbursed expenses such as copays and deductibles.
Comment vous êtes chanceux!

Many international reviews rate France's healthcare system as one of the best in the world. There seems to be little problem with timely access. For example, there is a high ratio of physicians per capita. A friend of mine (not a French citizen) was able to arrange elective surgery within three days. If you visit the doctor, you are much more likely to find him/her answering the door, pulling your chart, taking your blood pressure and doing many tasks that in north America would be delegated to a receptionist or nurse. There is a tendency to increased frequency of visits for preventive care, and French physicians love to prescribe, especially for "la digestion". Some years ago I accompanied a friend to an ER in Périgord after she had fallen off her bike. It was just a wrist sprain, but she came out with a prescription for nine items (including a laxative and "tonic for the liver")! There is some concern about the long term financial sustainability of the system, but if you have the option, I think it's a great investment.
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Old 03-08-2008, 04:19 PM   #60
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Comment vous êtes chanceux!

Many international reviews rate France's healthcare system as one of the best in the world. There seems to be little problem with timely access. For example, there is a high ratio of physicians per capita. A friend of mine (not a French citizen) was able to arrange elective surgery within three days. If you visit the doctor, you are much more likely to find him/her answering the door, pulling your chart, taking your blood pressure and doing many tasks that in north America would be delegated to a receptionist or nurse. There is a tendency to increased frequency of visits for preventive care, and French physicians love to prescribe, especially for "la digestion". Some years ago I accompanied a friend to an ER in Périgord after she had fallen off her bike. It was just a wrist sprain, but she came out with a prescription for nine items (including a laxative and "tonic for the liver")! There is some concern about the long term financial sustainability of the system, but if you have the option, I think it's a great investment.
I am filling out the forms as we speak. I too worry about the long term financial sustainability of the system, but I think that the French people are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to keep their (mostly) beloved health system. To me the main thing that differs between the US and French health systems is, as you pointed out, the doctor/patient relationship.
In the US, if I want to see my doctor I may have to wait 1 week before getting an appointment. In France, I could generally see my doctor the same day. If I didn't feel good in the middle of the night, I could call a doctor to come visit me at home instead of waiting for hours in the ER. But also, most doctors don't have nurses in their offices. So When it is your turn to see the doctor, you have his full attention. He weights you, take your temperature, measure your blood pressure (usually while asking you what's going on in your life and how the rest of the family's doing). The patient/doctor relationship is more personal, and IMHO, more compassionate. In the US, I feel like medecine has become more industrial and less human, like "doctor, patient #542896 is waiting for you in exam room #4". When I go to the doctor's here, I don't feel like the doctor really "cares" about me. I'm just a case. But, to be fair, the US health system has some advantages too: It is efficient and modern and on many levels very avant-garde. Medical facilities are also excellent in the US.
It is also true that prevention is an important aspect of French medecine, though they tend to overdo it sometimes in my opinion. But low cost to the patients, means that people will be more likely to go see the doctor at the onset of symptoms rather than wait until they feel so bad that they have to go to the ER.
Ah and finally, "la digestion" is so important for the French! How sad would life be if one couldn't eat and enjoy it anymore!
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