Healthcare tourism is the practice of travelling to different countries to get quality and affordable healthcare services. It is also known as global healthcare, health tourism, and medical travel. The term ‘medical tourism’ was created by the media and vacation 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 people 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 like the United States. Most medical travel locations 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 medical procedure like a liver transplant or even for any cosmetic surgery procedure.
Another reason is the high costs of medical insurance in western countries which have led to many people not really opting for any medical plans. Benefit unemployment rates in the U. H and other European countries are another main contributing factor. Today, due to the going down hill 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 somewhere else. As a result, medical travel has obtained rapid acceptance and popularity inside a short period of time.
Medical Tourism Expenses Comparison
Here are some surprising cost evaluations which justify the existence of the medical 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 close to $90, 000. This translates into savings of around 70 percent. Likewise, a heart valve replacement costs about $10, 000 in India, while it costs around $200, 000 in the United States. Women who plan to go through 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 regarding $20, 000 in the United States. These glaring price cost savings are the most important reason for the huge growth in the healthcare tourism industry
Pros and Cons of Medical Tourism
Medical travel abroad isn’t just popular because of the cost savings. There are many additional benefits too. For example , the waiting times for medical procedures in the U. K are long and troublesome. On the other hand, in medical tourism, a patient’s entire procedure is prepared and scheduled well in advance. After the patient arrives in the host nation, there is little to no waiting around time. Here is another example in order 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 benchmarks ranging from 16 to twenty six weeks for non-emergency medical procedures such as cataract and hip replacement surgery.
While the medical travel industry provides its benefits it also has the share of drawbacks and issues. For example , a medical tourist may be easily susceptible to many diseases in the sponsor country, where high standards of hygiene may not be available. A person from your United States may have low to no natural immunity levels to these illnesses. These diseases could hamper or even complicate existing health conditions. Some of the illnesses that could weaken or complicate the recovery of the person are amoebic dysentery, influenza, typhoid, and tuberculosis. Health complications could also arise when traveling due to cramped seats in air carriers and long distance flights.
Even accredited hospitals in countries like Indian lack adequate complaint registering policies. This leads to a lot of patients being totally dissatisfied with the services offered. Additionally, there are many legal and ethical problems involved during organ transplantation in India and China. This mainly is due to the large-scale illegal purchase of tissues and organs in these countries. Despite these shortcomings, medical travel seems to be the way forward unless countries like the United States can have the ability to cut their medical costs drastically or start providing medical travel and leisure insurance.
Popular Medical Tourism Destinations
Many people are on the lookout for both simple and complex procedures like cardiac surgery, hip and leg replacement, dental surgery and plastic surgery. For these procedures the most popular medical journey destinations are India, Argentina, Cuba, Hungary, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, The Philippines, Ukraine, Lithuania, and South Korea. High quality cosmetic surgery at affordable prices is available in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Turkey, and Colombia. Over the last few years, South American countries like Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Bolivia have become a warm destination for world-class plastic surgeries. These types of countries boast of talented and experienced cosmetic surgeons of repute. Most medical tourists come from countries like the Usa, Canada, the U. K, plus Japan.
Implications for the Healthcare Industry
Medical travel has created implications in countries from where they originate. In 2007, more than 750, 1000 Americans sought healthcare services outside the country and more than 1 . 5 million are expected to seek offshore health care in 2008. This has resulted in america health care industry losing billions of dollars and is set to lose even more later on. According to a Deloitte Consulting report of 2008, medical tourism in the usa could most likely increase by almost 10 times in the next decade. This trend is alarming and can hardly be ignored by the healthcare business. While this may spell trouble for the healthcare insurance industry, it could also be a motivating factor for the healthcare industry to lower its premiums to remain competitive. This major shift toward medical tourism has opened the doors for medical tourism insurance. Presently, very few medical insurers cover healthcare tourism. However , there is a growing need for medical tourism insurance and we might soon see major health care insurance providers offering people the option going abroad.
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This would definitely be a significant step in making healthcare more affordable.