Medical tourism is the practice of travelling to different countries to get quality and affordable healthcare services. It is also referred to as global healthcare, health tourism, and medical travel. The term ‘medical tourism’ was created by the media and travel agencies to popularize this form of practice. Today, medical tourism has grown to become an official industry in more than 50 countries.
Why is Medical Tourism Popular?
So, what exactly are the benefits of medical tourism and why do people travel abroad for simple and complex medical procedures? The main factor that encourages medical travel is undoubtedly the high cost of medical care in developed countries like the United States. Most medical travel destinations offer surgeries at almost one-third the costs of developed countries. This translates into bigger savings for a person who has to undergo a complex medical procedure like a liver transplant or even for a cosmetic surgery procedure.
Another reason is the high costs of medical insurance in western countries which have led to many people not opting for any medical plans. The high unemployment rates in the U.S 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 options other than seeking cheaper treatment elsewhere. As a result, medical travel has gained rapid acceptance and popularity in a short period of time.
Medical Tourism Costs Comparison
Here are some surprising cost comparisons which justify the existence of the medical tourism industry. A liver transplant in the U.S would cost close to a whopping $300,000, while a person who opts to travel to Taiwan would end up paying just around $90,000. This translates into savings of around 70 percent. Similarly, a heart valve replacement costs about $10,000 in India, whereas it costs around $200,000 in the United States. Women who plan to undergo complex cosmetic surgery have to spend a fortune in the U.S. In this case, a full facelift in South Africa would cost just around $1250 compared to about $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