Since the ridiculous cost of healthcare in the US and many other countries is hardly surprising, the recent surge in medical tourism is scarcely surprising. But the industry was decimated by the coronavirus restrictions, the economic crises, and the enormous pressure COVID-19 has placed on many countries’ flawed health care systems, forcing many patients to travel.
According to Patients Without Borders, 1.5 million Americans traveled abroad last year to save money on medical procedures. According to the Global Medical Tourism Guide: Patients without Borders, millions of Americans traveled to other countries to save on treatment by 40 to 80 percent on the same day of the pandemic.
The financial savings can be enormous when traveling for a medical procedure, especially when travel costs are taken into account. If the operation is covered by health insurance, the total cost of surgery in countries such as Turkey, Thailand, and India may be lower than what you would pay at home. Often, the cost of an operation abroad is about half that at home so that patients can save a large sum of money without the additional travel costs.
Patients with specific medical problems often decide to travel out of town for definitive medical treatment, including surgery. Surgeons who see patients traveling out of town for specialized procedures are aware of the additional issues that need to be considered. There may be good reasons for wanting or needing to travel for these patients, but there are also additional questions that need to be considered before traveling.
Factors contributing to the increasing popularity of medical travel include the high cost of healthcare, long waiting times for certain procedures, ease and affordability of international travel, and improvements in technology and standards of care in many countries. The term came about when many Americans were looking for expensive surgical, dental, and cosmetic procedures while on vacation abroad.
Every year, close to 14 million patients travel worldwide for the purpose of receiving medical care. IntClinics provides patients with access to the top clinics and doctors around the world. To discover where the best clinics are for you, search on IntClinics for treatments all around the world.
Thailand is one of the leading destinations in the world for medical tourism, with most procedures costing 50-70% less than in the western world. The country attracts patients seeking medical services, especially plastic surgery, and popular specialties such as dentistry, preventive care, orthopedics, and oncology. Another advantage of Thailand is its exotic nature and picturesque views so that tourists can receive advanced treatments and surgeries and combine medical procedures with a holiday.
Turkey has more American-accredited hospitals with affordable health care than any other country, and it is estimated that 32% of its patients are medical tourists. Turkey also has some of the most cost-effective American accredited hospitals outside the United States. Spain consistently tops the list of medical tourist destinations in Europe because it offers excellent healthcare services and a great travel experience to foreign patients.
India has emerged as the priority destination for health tourists looking for low-cost, high-quality surgery. The news shows that Western visitors to India for eye, spine, or heart surgery save up to 75% of the cost of major surgery compared to their home countries, and travel costs are not uncommon.
In India, healthcare is very accessible, and the government offers visa-free travel to tourists from English-speaking countries. Another reason for India’s boom in foreign patients is the Indian government’s intention to ease travel restrictions on foreign nationals like the US, allowing them to travel to India without a visa.