Healthcare tourism is the practice of travelling to different countries to get quality plus affordable healthcare services. It is also referred to as global healthcare, health tourism, plus medical travel. The term ‘medical tourism’ was created by the media and traveling agencies to popularize this form of practice. Today, medical tourism is growing to become an official industry in more compared to 50 countries.
Why is Medical Tourism Popular?
So , what exactly are the benefits of healthcare tourism and why do individuals travel abroad for simple and complex medical procedures? The main factor that encourages medical travel is undoubtedly the high price of medical care in developed countries such as the United States. Most medical travel destinations offer surgeries at almost one-third the costs of developed countries. This particular translates into bigger savings for a person who has to undergo a complex surgical procedure like a liver transplant or even for a cosmetic surgery procedure.
Another reason is the higher costs of medical insurance in traditional western countries which have led to many people not really opting for any medical plans. The high unemployment rates in the U. S i9000 and other European countries are another major contributing factor. Today, due to the deteriorating unemployment levels millions of people can no longer afford health insurance. So , a person not covered by health insurance has very less choices other than seeking cheaper treatment elsewhere. As a result, medical travel has obtained rapid acceptance and popularity within a short period of time.
Medical Tourism Expenses Comparison
Here are some surprising cost evaluations which justify the existence of the healthcare tourism industry. A liver transplant in the U. S would cost close to a whopping $300, 000, whilst a person who opts to travel to Taiwan would end up paying just around $90, 000. This translates into cost savings of around 70 percent. Similarly, a heart valve replacement costs regarding $10, 000 in India, while it costs around $200, 500 in the United States. Women who plan to go through complex cosmetic surgery have to spend a lot of money in the U. S. In this case, a complete facelift in South Africa would price just around $1250 compared to regarding $20, 000 in the United States. These glaring price cost savings are the most important reason for the huge growth in the medical tourism industry
Pros and Cons of Medical Tourism
Medical travel abroad isn’t only popular because of the cost savings. There are many other benefits too. For example , the waiting around times for medical procedures in the Oughout. K are long and cumbersome. On the other hand, in medical tourism, the patient’s entire procedure is planned and scheduled well in advance. After the patient arrives in the host country, there is little to no waiting time. Here is another example to illustrate this point. In Canada, during the year 2005, more than 750, 000 Canadians had to wait for an average of 9. five weeks to get their medical procedures done. Canada also sets long waiting around benchmarks ranging from 16 to twenty six weeks for non-emergency medical procedures such as cataract and hip replacement surgical treatment.
While the medical travel industry has its benefits it also has the share of drawbacks and worries. For example , a medical tourist may be easily susceptible to many diseases in the host country, where high standards of hygiene may not be available. A person through the United States may have low to simply no natural immunity levels to these illnesses. These diseases could hamper or even complicate existing health conditions. Some of the diseases that could weaken or complicate the particular recovery of the person are amoebic dysentery, influenza, typhoid, and tuberculosis. Health complications could also arise during travel due to cramped seats in air carriers and long distance flights.
Even certified hospitals in countries like Indian lack adequate complaint registering plans. This leads to a lot of patients being totally dissatisfied with the services offered. There are also many legal and ethical issues involved during organ transplantation within India and China. This primarily is due to the large-scale illegal purchase of tissues and organs during these countries. Despite these shortcomings, medical travel seems to be the way forward except if countries like the United States can find a way to cut their medical costs significantly or start providing medical travel and leisure insurance.
Popular Medical Tourism Destinations
Many people are on the lookout intended for both simple and complex procedures like cardiac surgery, hip and leg replacement, dental surgery and cosmetic surgery. For these procedures the most popular medical travel destinations are India, Argentina, Cuba, Hungary, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, The Philippines, Ukraine, Lithuania, and South Korea. High quality plastic surgery at affordable prices is available in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Turkey, plus Colombia. Over the last few years, South American countries like Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Bolivia have become a very hot destination for world-class plastic surgeries. These countries boast of talented and experienced cosmetic surgeons of repute. Most healthcare tourists come from countries like the United States, Canada, the U. K, and Japan.
Implications for the Healthcare Market
Medical travel has created implications within countries from where they originate. In 2007, more than 750, 500 Americans sought healthcare services away from country and more than 1 . five million are expected to seek offshore health care in 2008. This has resulted in the us health care industry losing billions of bucks and is set to lose even more later on.
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According to a Deloitte Consulting survey of 2008, medical tourism in the United States could most likely increase by almost 10 times in the next decade. This trend is alarming and can barely be ignored by the healthcare industry. While this may spell trouble for that healthcare insurance industry, it could become a motivating factor for the healthcare industry to lower its premiums to remain competitive. This major shift towards medical tourism has opened the doors for medical tourism insurance. Presently, very few medical insurers cover healthcare tourism. However , there is a growing demand for medical tourism insurance and might soon see major healthcare insurance providers offering people the option going abroad. This would definitely be a significant step in making healthcare more affordable.