Have you ever received a bill from a healthcare provider that made your heart stop? Even patients that have good insurance plans are often met with high out of pocket costs due to high deductibles. Because of the high cost of American health care, some patients are seeking care in other countries. Medical tourism provides a unique way for patients to access high-quality, low-cost healthcare.
What is Medical Tourism?
Medical tourism is defined as the “travel abroad to receive elective, non-emergency medical care”. With traveling abroad more popular than ever, consumers have increasingly sought out access to other healthcare options. Medical tourism is not just Americans seeking alternate options, the United States and Europe attract consumers due to the high quality of their health care despite its high cost. On the other hand, India and Thailand are attracting customers due to the quality, low cost, and easy accessibility of care.
Technically, any medical procedure can be done internationally. There are, however, some procedures that are more sought out than others. Patients Beyond Borders, a source for consumer information about international medical and health travel, compiled a list of the top procedures to have done internationally. These include – cosmetic surgery, dentistry, cardiovascular surgery, orthopedics, cancer treatments, reproductive treatments, weight loss treatments, health screenings and second opinions. By traveling internationally, patients can save anywhere from 20-90%, making it an attractive option for many. Find below some price comparisons of different procedures in different countries courtesy of medicaltourism.com:
The Upsides and Downsides of Medical Tourism:
Medical tourism is revolutionizing healthcare in emerging economies. Some of the most important benefits of medical tourism are low-cost, high-quality health care that is accessible to a majority of the world’s population. Providers located at widespread hospital chains, such as the Apollo Hospital Group in India, with its many locations, make it easier for families across a broad region to receive health care. Also, highly developed medical campuses, like Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand, make it a one-stop destination for receiving all the high-quality, low-cost medical attention one could ever need. Medical tourism puts healthcare in the international arena by increasing competition among providers in this industry.
There are also downsides to medical tourism. Medical Travel Agencies and the Medical Tourism Association can provide information and alleviate some of the stress that comes with planning an international trip, but insurance companies are simply not yet willing to subsidize the costs of receiving healthcare in foreign nations. Also, just because medical tourism appears to be a good idea does not mean that it is. Patients should always make informed decisions when it comes to their health.
What It Means for MediCopy:
With the world becoming a seemingly “smaller” place, because of optimized travel methods, MediCopy is poised to adapt to those changes. Luckily for the patients we have the pleasure of serving, MediCopy can send records to any physician around the world! The only requirement would be that the patient authorize those records to be sent. If you are a patient that is looking to have a procedure done in another country, we have you covered! Safe travels!