Should you move abroad for health care?

The notion that health care outside the U.S. could be good as well as cheap is a foreign one to many Americans.

Kathleen Peddicord frequently hears from such skeptics as founder of Live and Invest Overseas, a site for people curious about living abroad. Actual expats like her, however, tell of good-quality care at a fraction of the U.S. price. Treatment for a motorbike accident in Panama cost her $20. Emergency dental surgery that might cost $10,000 or more in the U.S. was $4,500 in Paris. In many countries, medications that would require a prescription in the States are available directly from licensed pharmacies at low prices, thanks to government subsidies or regulation.

“The health care in a lot of places around the world is very good, as good as in the United States,” says Peddicord, who currently divides her time between Paris and Panama. “Some places, it is better.”

In my latest for the Associated Press, why reduced medical costs could prompt Americans to relocate.

Go nuclear on your debt – move away

Ken Ilgunas paid off $32,000 in student loans two and a half years after graduation — starting with a $9-an-hour job.

With zero job offers in his chosen field of journalism, he instead moved from Wheatfield, New York, to Coldfoot, Alaska, a truck stop and tourist camp north of the Arctic Circle, so he could put every possible dollar toward his debt.

Every possible dollar meant virtually every dollar. His job as cook, maintenance worker and tour guide provided room and board. What Coldfoot (population 10) didn’t provide was places to spend what little he was making.

In my latest for the Associated Press, how literally moving outside of your comfort zone can help you pay off debt faster.