You won’t believe the prices!!!…

I dumped four medications for six months in this pile on the bed to illustrate how inexpensive drugs are in South Africa.

Yesterday, we headed to Dr. Singh. The high-tech dentist is Malalane, who patients visit when they need more than fillings, cleanings, and basic dental care, which Dr. Luzann provides in Komatipoort. There are other dentists in the area, but we’ve been delighted with the combined care of these two dentists.

Since an old crown was replaced by Dr. Singh many months ago, the discomfort I’ve felt was entirely self-imposed. He explained I have been brushing too hard and applying too much vigor when flossing in an overly enthusiastic attempt to keep my teeth healthy. Yep. I can be that way.

Dr. Singh didn’t charge for the appointment, and I learned my lesson: moderation and gentle treatment are more appropriate for teeth. I don’t generally do much of anything in moderation. I either go “all the way” or not at all. This doesn’t always serve me well, and in this case, it became apparent. I will temper my teeth cleaning vigor.

With our eye doctor appointments out of the way a few weeks ago, resulting in new prescriptions for both of us and our teeth cleaning done, all I had left to tackle was an appointment with Dr. Theo in Komatipoort to refill enough of my basic three prescriptions and as a safety measure, an asthma inhaler to use needed. My appointment with him was this morning at 11:00 am.

The total bill for the doctor visit was (without insurance) ZAR 675, US $44.77.

No more than about five minutes into my appointment with Dr. Theo, load shedding started, and their generator kicked in with ample service for lights but insufficient for air-con. The building heated up in only a few minutes, but Dr. Theo and I were so busy chatting neither of us minded.

He’s not only an excellent primary care physician, but over the years I’ve been seeing him, he’s become a good friend. He promised he and his wife would attend my 75th birthday party at Jabula next February. I mentioned how fun it would be to have him there. Most of our close friends are his patients. Through our friends, we chose him as our “family physician.”

In 2019, Theo discovered I had heart disease, and his first diagnosis ultimately saved my life. He arrived at his office on a Saturday, wearing shorts and flip-flops to give me an exercise stress test. From there, you all know what transpired, emergency open-heart surgery due to three 100% blocked major arteries. Yes, Dr. Theo saved my life.

He wrote prescriptions for six months. In addition to what I have remaining on hand, I have an ample supply to last until we return in December. If I run short of anything, I can always order online from ProgressiveRX. It will all work out. As an alternative, I could have gone to a doctor in the US and paid out of pocket for the appointment and the pills. I can only imagine how costly that would have been.

The receipt from the pharmacy for all of the drugs plus a few toiletries that were only 10% of the total. The total bill was ZAR 4015.64, US $266.27

As shown above, in the photo, the doctor visit was (without insurance) ZAR 675, US $44.77. The six-month supply of meds was well under ZAR 4015.64, US $266.27, when 10% of the total pharmacy bill included a few toiletry items. For example, from a US site:

“The cost for Premarin oral tablet 0.3 mg is around $676 for a supply of 100 tablets, depending on the pharmacy you visit.”

As you can see, it paid for me to obtain my medications in South Africa rather than from the US. In the UK, there may be no charge for tablets due to their universal healthcare system, but its nearly impossible to get an appointment unless its a dire emergency,

We could submit the doctor bill to our global health insurance company., SafeTrip, with United Healthcare. But for two reasons, we do not; one, we haven’t met the US $250, ZAR 3750 deductible, and two; we’d prefer not to enter any claims for small amounts.

Before we leave, the only other appointment I need is a pedicure at the local spa, which Dawn and I plan to do together next week.

That’s our news for today, folks. We’re off to Jabula on our own tonight for the first time in a long time. Have a pleasant Friday evening and weekend.

Photo from one year ago today, March 11, 2021:

No photos were posted on this date, one year ago. The text-only post may be found here.

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