Medical Tourism

Medical Tourism

I published a blog couple of days ago regarding how medical tourism is benefiting many individuals which I believe seems to be a growing sector as it connects two domains - Travel and Medical field. These two fields have actually made it pretty easy for the patients to get their treatment done that too at a lower cost. With airfares not that too high these as it used to be, its easier for patients to travel for cross border treatment.

Today I came across a blog post from Kevin Mercadante on medical tourism and it gives an excellent overview of this industry. Needless to say, for patients who do not have insurance and who have to pay the medical bills on their own the option of medical tourism is not just lifesaving but also easy on pocket.

I would want all of you to read the complete blog that's mentioned here . Its actually the excerpts from Kevin's Blog :-

Rising healthcare costs are forcing modern consumers to search for different ways to reduce expenses and still get the medical service they need. In recent years another solution has appeared. Medical tourism has people living in one country and traveling to another to seek medical, dental and surgical care…

There’s actually nothing new about medical tourism. The direction of the flow is what is new. Historically, people from poor countries traveled to wealthy ones in search of advanced medical attention. The flow is reversing today, as people from wealthy countries now hunt healthcare in less developed areas where it’s less expensive…

Patients travel overseas seeking a high quality of healthcare, affordability, and access of care, but the most basic reason to go to a third-world country is the cost. In many developing countries, one can have major surgery for a small percentage of the cost in the U.S., Canada, Japan, or Western Europe…

Most elective surgery – such as cosmetic surgery, certain dental surgeries, and even hip replacements – are not covered by insurance in the U.S. But if the cost is much lower overseas, you might elect to make the trip for surgery.

There may also be procedures, such as fertility, cancer treatments or other therapies not approved in the U.S. or in other rich countries. A couple desperate to have a baby, or a terminal patient looking to participate in experimental cures, might find attractive options in a poorer nation.

Even in countries with single-payer national health insurance, medical tourism is growing. In such systems, surgeries involving non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries can land you on a waiting list lasting for months or years. Many people then seek relief through medical tourism…

A major medical procedure performed in a foreign country may cost less than the out-of-pocket costs for the same procedure in the U.S. – to say nothing of the possibility of a claim disallowed after the fact for some unimagined reason. For example, a heart bypass surgery might cost over $150,000 in the U.S., but can cost less than $10,000 in India.The list of what we might call “hot” medical tourism destinations varies from year to year, and is also largely determined by the type of treatment or surgery. There is no one country as a haven for medical tourism, however, Mexico, Costa Rica, India, the Czech Republic, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea keep coming up on various lists.

Consider two factors influencing the country you choose to seek for medical care.

The first is the quality of care related to specific illnesses, ailments, or injuries. This can vary staggeringly from country to country. Narrow your choices down to the one, two or three countries offering the best care for your need.

The second consideration is cost. Even in poor and developing countries, the cost of certain medical care can change substantially from one country to another. This isn’t to say you want to look for the lowest cost destination you want to balance out cost with the quality of care.

…There are agencies, commonly called medical tourism providers, who coordinate your surgery and travel. They handle every detail of your trip, often including potential follow-up sources once you are back home. One site, advertising on Google searches, is MedToGo.com, which seems to specialize in Mexico as a destination.

Payment will typically be in cash since there is no insurance company paying or acting as an intermediary. However in the past few years, some health insurance providers have dipped a toe into the medical tourism phenomenon. Companies such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield of California, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina, and Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Wisconsin have at least experimented with limited participation in medical tourism…

Medical tourism seems destined to follow other major industries into greater public acceptance.