Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Cost of a Medical

Commercial Pilots in Canada have to undergo a medical examination once a year (twice if they're over 40) as well as a number of other tests including an ECG and hearing tests at different intervals.

The Class 1 medical is required to fly commercially in Canada. However, it reverts back to a Class 3 medical if you don't renew it within the 12 months. A person holding a Class 3 medical can exercise the privileges of a Private Pilot, but cannot fly commercially. Because I've been in school I haven't kept up my Class 1 medical, however, I recently decided to renew it.

This is a post I posted on AvCanada recently:
Living in a new city without flight benefits, I went searching for a new Medical Examiner so I could renew my medical.

I lucked out and found one at the medical building that's just a couple blocks away. Sweet! I'll be able to walk there. I booked an appointment and after getting everything sorted out the receptionist reminded me that if I missed the appointment I'd get charged $50 the next time for a missed appointment (Seinfeld anyone?) I quickly asked at the end of the phone conversation how much the medical would cost. "$150" was the reply and then she politely, but quickly, hung up on me as she switched to answer another call on her busy swtich board.

$150! It had been a few years since I had my last medical. Wow, I thought. Prices must have gone up quite a bit. But something wasn't sitting right. The most I had ever paid was $120 or so and that was in Expensive Toronto and with a doctor whom I had been going to for all my medicals. I also searched AvCanada and found inferences of people paying far less.

Back to the CAME database on TC's website. I found another doctor relatively nearby and gave them a call.

"How much for an aviation medical?" I asked.
"$75" was the reply.

I was surprised at the difference.

Having a doctor that you trust and can help keep you flying is an asset. However, having one doctor charge twice as much for a medical than another is pretty crazy if you ask me. While cheaper isn't necessarily better, that's a pretty big difference in price.

So, how much did you pay for your last medical?

The post was accompanied with a poll on what other pilots had paid for their medical. The results as of this blog post were:

The price can vary quite drastically. While I don't suggest that someone should go to a doctor simply because they are the cheapest around, it pays to look around a little bit. Also be sure to ask other pilots about which doctors they've been to and what their experience has been.

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