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Considering move to Hungary

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HUretiree
8/6/2017 12:07 EST

Close to retirement, am of HU ancestry with some HU language knowledge. Have no known family or relatives in HU and am concerned about the prospects of aging in HU with any and all factors which may be involved. Please advise re financial and health concerns which seem to be a given with getting older. Any and all advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

borschelrh
1/9/2018 02:49 EST

Mirin123 - I agree with you completely. There is no comparison between US medicine and Hungary. I can say though that I served most of my career in the US Army providing medical services and we re-used disposable items as well. We also re-dated expired medications (it is permissible under US law) several years past their expirations. The reason is that military medicine is immune to malpractice lawsuits (Gonzales Act). I can also say that in my time I have seen horrors in the US which would shock most people. For example I was assigned an additional duty back when I was a Captain to investigate the medical qualifications of all doctors at our medical center. This included verification of graduation from an approved University and proof of a state license. The amount of fraud was incredible. I found more than 20 doctors who never went to medical school and several were renowned surgeons and several were Colonels. I found doctors who were convicted of felony murder in states (malpractice related such as one was a Psychiatrist convicted f raping his patients) but were serving in the military. Roughly half didn't have licenses in any state and a great deal were "graduates" of shady medical training facilities. I recall that the State of Kansas gave blanket licenses to all doctors not licensed for a fee so if you see a doctor in the military whose license is from Kansas in 1985 guess how that happened. It was an enormous embarrassment to the military which was more or less kept quiet. At least in Hungary they have real doctorates. Most Americans are unaware that foreign medical graduates only have a Bachelor's degree and are technically not doctors. This includes places like the UK, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, etc. Yet, in the US they are permitted to repeat (if they ever had one in the first place is questionable) a Residency program and then take the boards and foreign medical graduate examination and instantly become "doctors". It is a travesty.

I also found that every doctor here in Hungary is more concerned about patient welfare than in profit. I haven't met one yet who wasn't an excellent doctor. I also do not see the rush to get you out of the office so they can see the next patient. Yes, it slows things down but it isn't horrible. Really there is no comparison at all to the US.

If you noticed the recent Tri-Care changes it is now only covering 60% of costs with some interesting limitations. For example, Tricare will only pay $901 a day for the hospital. Our last stay in the local medical center here was roughly $7 a day. Yes, the meals suck but everyone knows that and there are cafeterias available. In Hungary it is expected that the family will take a major role in patient care and normally people bring their relatives meals. It is not a big deal. Our medical center in Veszprem has 4 places to buy food and a MacDonalds across the street.

Another thing you mentioned is the amazing costs in the US. I was working overseas and my wife had a cardiac problem back in Suburban DC in Virginia. She was taken by ambulance ($2,000) to the Emergency Room and kept for 3 days because the ambulance crew overdosed her with nitroglycerine. In the 3 days she received no meals at all and was charged by more than 10 separate doctors most of who she never saw. The 3 day bill was $48,000 and her problem was not cardia at all, was misdiagnosed and she was almost killed by the ambulance crew. Luckily, her insurance paid for everything. BUt that was 15 years ago, so one can only speculate how much it would be today. She broke her leg in a fall in Sarajevo and had to have serious surgery with plates and screws which included 2 weeks in the hospital. Total cost was less than $1,000. The surgery to remove the plates a year later in Veszprem was $400 which included a week in the hospital. I have had eye issues and twice have had a detached retina. I also had cataract surgery here as well. The surgical re-attachment was 40,000 HUF and the cataract surgery was $600 per eye including lens. As I mentioned we pay cash here. I no longer submit claims to Tricare as the error rate is over 400%, due to their incompetence. Now it is even harder as they only accept a cancelled check or credit card receipt as proof of payment and In Hungary no hospital takes anything other than cash. Receipts are no longer accepted without proof of payment by check or CC. I don't miss the long hassles and I filed several Congressional complaints over the poor service by Tri-Care. It is contracted out to the lowest bidder who hires HS graduates (maybe) to process claims. I think their business model is to screw it up so much you just give up trying.

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Mirin123
1/8/2018 11:31 EST

I've been living here for almost 4 years now, off and on over the past 24 years. My health is quite a concern for me. I have Tri-care but since I've worked for the Hungarian Government as a resident I was able to receive National Health Insurance. When I was living in Kaposvar I had to have a by-pass of my femoral artery. Quite extensive surgery and except for a little nerve related problem at the skin level I had not had any problems and recovered well. During that procedure I had: Ultrasound, Venagram, the surgery and several visits and follow ups with both my resident physician and the surgeon. I was and still am quite happy. I also have diabeties, arterio sclorosis and hypertension. I have an internal medicine physician who has been wonderful, helpful and very professional. That's here in Budapest. I also have a resident or family physician who is also fantastic. The facilities here are not US but the difference is it's social medicine. The physicians are much more conservative in my opinion and less puppy mill (next) or money diven. They seem to do it because they are physicans. Everything done here was for the minimal fee of about 40.00 usds per month. That's it. Now in the US I had to have 3 stints put into the other leg. That bill just for the proceedure was 52,000 usds. 1 day hospital stay. Not including the specialist fee and diagnostics. Thankfully, Tri-care paid for most of that but not all. I must say that the facilities here are not US facilities. You have to wait at times but I had to wait in the US longer than it took me to do the surgery here. I see my physicians as I need too and rarely wait more than 1 hour. Medicines are minimal much less that what you would pay in the US. Dental even if you pay outright is 1/3 the cost of US care. I would say they are very good at bridge work, crowns and general care but lacking a bit in the preventative areas. Over-all I have been pleased. I can't complain except for the food in the hosptal. It's terrible even for a Hungarian. Another area I'm very pleased with is security. I was a soldier and private soldier all my life until retirement. This place is safe. I've been all over the world and I haven't found a safer place to live. One of the main reasons I live here. Many here have spoken about the political situation. Involve yourself; make yourself a target and so you will suffer the consequences. As for the official administrative services I've had just as much difficutly with US and other countries services as I have with the Hungarian. Mostly I found them efficient as long as I filled out the right form and found the right person. I was married here went through that process. Obtained residence visa, non-family and family, obtained a drivers license, address card, and tax number, and bought a house, used several lawyers for different legal issues. Those are difficult even in the US. Sure I had help along the way but I got help. Most everywhere here in Budapest you can find and English speaking person in the agencies, business and even shopping. Litttle more difficult in the surrounding communites but still it's getting better all the time. Basically, I love it here made it my home and find the food, attractions and living just fine. I've had wonderful experiences. Suggestion for you is to learn the language if you can. They will be amazed with you.

smartcharlie
12/5/2017 14:01 EST

Are you thinking of purchasing property when you move? If so, then conside using a First Rate FX company when transferring money abroad. High Street banks will charge you lots of fees! Good luck.

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