Thanks to everyone who participated in our thread, as well as to Tom and Georganna for sharing their experience. If you missed the chat, feel free to just read the thread below. And here’s the original article we wrote abot Tom and Georganna’s experience.
Read our original interview with them here.
Thanks to Brent and Michael for setting this up.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us directly or through our Two Travelers Facebook Group.
Thanks, all! And GET WELL SOON, Tom!
Thanks for coming everyone! And thanks Tom and Georganna for taking the time to share your story with us!
Stay safe everyone!
Thank you so much to all four of your for being here and answering these questions. I've got a lot to think about....as we head out tomorrow to do the Irish Camino....on a bottle of pain killers and a taped knee. Thank heavens it's flat with only a few stairs.
What would do for other health issues? If -- god forbid -- diagnosed with cancer, would you go back to the U.S.
I ask because this is DEFINITELY something I think about.
Are there ANY limitations on what you can do once you're fully healed? I know this surgery is incredibly successful but could you ski if you wanted?
How long is your total stay in Turkiye?
Here is the contact information for my surgrons;
Drs. Serhat Mutlu and Herun Mutly
Gülce Apt, Zuhuratbaba Mh
Inciril Cd Haksever Sk 8-8
I'm curious about your accommodations in Turkey, which you say cost $3000 a month. This seems fairly expensive for Turkey, but I know you wanted a comfortable place for the recovery. Do you think you could have found a decent place for less? Are you happy with what you got for $3000?
What's the one think you're hoping to do with your new knees what you hadn't been able to do with your old ones?
Someone else wanted to know what you would do if you developed any issues with the new knees. Would you go all the back to Istanbul for treatment? Would that be covered by the surgeons?
Someone also asked about why I decided to go to Turkey rather than wait for Medicare. Here is my ratioanle for that:
Medicare is an 80/20 plan and consists of 3 sections. A and B and D.
A is for hospitalization. Everything in the hospital is covered if you are admitted to the hospital. There is no premium but there is a small deductible.
B covers all out-patient care. Doctor visits, tests, equipment, etc. The premium starts at $170/month and can be adjusted upward if your combined household income exceeds $180,000 per year. The deductible is $341 per year.
The maximum Medicare will pay is 80% of your total medical costs minus deductible, premium and copays.
Part D is the prescription drug plan. There are several to choose from depending upon premium, copays, deductible and what medications are covered. You must coordinate your surgery with the covered prescription or you may be paying for prescribed medications out of pocket.
If you want to have the other 20% paid, you must purchase an independent Medicare supplement plan. There are many types of plans from least premium to the most comprehensive plan for a higher premium.
Plan G is the most comprehensive plan available currently. It pays everything Medicare does not pay, except the Medicare premiums and the Plan G premium. There may be copays as well that are not paid.
The alternative is to choose a Medicare Advantage plan, Part C. This is all the various plans (A, B, D and Supplemental plan) all rolled up into one HMO. But then you are held hostage by the healthcare care provider to approve and pay for the procedure.
If you are of Medicare age, you could have bi-lateral knee replacement surgery and end up paying substantially less than we did. As soon as Medicare approves the procedure for you.
I didn’t want to wait. And I don’t need to deal with all the moving parts of Medicare.
Tom and Georganna and I discussed in the interview the importance of having a medical advocate to help negotiate many of the appointments and so forth. There are different services out there that provide this but Tom had the good fortune to meet someone willing to help them as a friend. They estimate the cost if they had to pay that would've been about $1000.
Tom, I was amazed your surgeons made a house call. Was that part of the package?
For those who may be just joining us, here is the original interview.
Having had bilateral knee replacements 6 months ago in the USA, I am amazed at how quickly Tom has progressed! He's the Bilateral Knee Replacement Poster Child!!! While I feel my surgeon was skilled and did a great job...I think my follow up PT was lacking, compared to Tom's.
What type of painkillers do they prescribe, and are you still taking them? How much time has passed since you stopped taking them, if you have in fact, stopped?
How did you find the surgeons and feel comfortable with their care before going under the knife?
Tom, could you talk a bit more about the health insurance company refusing to authorise the surgery. Could you have fought them more on that? How could they just say no?
Georganna is offline. Her computer froze.
Georganna's screen just froze and she's rebooting. The interent in Istanbul can be a little wonky sometimes!
I think I read somewhere (maybe here???) that your insurance is with IMG Global. Ours is as well. Will you submit, or do you already know they won't cover? (pre-existing, I assume)
What would either of you do differently if you were to do it all over again?
Tom following up on the doing two knees at once, did you have any concerns about that since it wasn't normally done in the US? I confess that would give me pause
Reading with interest and envy of all the places everyone is at :)
Georganna, Steve (my husband) wants to understand your caretaking roles a bit more. He'll be taking care of me when I get my one knee done, and he wants to understand how it will impact him.
Tom, another subscriber is asking about your weight loss. Was that planned or is that just a by product of the surgery?
If you're just joining us go ahead and post your question in the comment box!
Thanks for doing this. Our conx is slow on the beach so we’ll (Cindy and I) catch up later. Is the names of the surgeons in the article? We have a friend that may be interested
Georganna, here's a subscriber question for you:
Georganna, would you have felt as comfortable as you seem to be in Turkey if you hadn't been nomading for ten months first?
Hello...Trying to sign in...states "Technical Problems"...
Tom's answer to the first question about why the doctor's didn't do the bilateral surgery is
I don't know specifically, but I imagine it is riskier for one surgeon and I doubt the insurance comnpanies would pay for two surgeons. My skepticism of the US healthcare system leads me to believe that only one knee is approved because it is cheaper than two. The longer the insurance company can delay the expense, the more profit they make. And it worked in my case. They delayed long enough that I went abroad to have the procedure and the insurance company spent zero money on me.
One of Georganna's friends said a doctor told her he was not "fast enough" to do both at the same time. These two surgeons working together finished in about 3 hours.
Well, shoot, I was hoping we'd all be face to face so we could see each other and chat! I'd love to see your happy faces...but I do have a question for Tom. How long do you think it will be before you're hiking and doing lots of stairsteps?
Hi, it's Amy and Tim in Edinburgh!
HI ya'll. Is there a link to the live event? Steve and I (Chris) from EatWalkLearn are here from Dublin!
Okay, let's get started First, we're going to begin with a question submitted ahead of time by a subscriber in Ohio, which is for Tom.
Tom, why don't US doctors want to do double bilateral surgery? Is it riskier?
Thanks for doing this, Tom! Glad you and Georgianna are here. Hope our paths cross again soon in person too. :-)
While we give folks a minute or two to get here, feel free to let us know where you're at today. Brent and I are currently in Sarajevo where the heat wave finally broke. YAY!
Tom and Georganna, what's it like in Istanbul?