Medical tourism is the term coined for tourists who visit other countries to avail of medical services like dental, cosmetic surgery, neurosurgery, eye surgery, surgical care and other specialized treatments. Medical tourism is very cost effective and has rapidly risen in popularity over time.
Due to technological advancements and improvements, the level of care and medical treatments, as well as costs of traveling, has become the leading factors for medical tourism’s rise in popularity.
With the rising prices of health care, especially in the United States, people are looking for ways to reduce their expenses without sacrificing the quality of medical care they’re getting. This has prompted many people from developed countries to become medical tourists and seek treatment overseas.
Although the most advanced research and development are ongoing in developed countries, there are some procedures that are much cheaper in developing countries. There are medical research clinics in major U.S. cities like Miami, Boston and others. In most cases, the cost of the procedures, including the travel and living expenses while there, is still cheaper than having the procedure done locally.
Medical Tourism History
Although medical tourism might sound to be a brand new concept in the field of medicine, the history of medical tourism can be traced to ancient times. In the dawn of history, pilgrims from Greece would travel from all over the Mediterranean to a small place in the Saronic Gulf known popularly as “Epidauria.”
This is by far the earliest instance of medical tourism. It is safe to conclude that although the concept of medical tourism has gained popularity these days, its existence and practice can be traced to the dawn of history.
Medical Tourism Destinations
Why are so many people choosing to travel to distant parts of the world to get medical attention? The main reason is the high cost of health care and treatments in their home countries. That and the delays for the necessary procedures prompt people to find a cure elsewhere.
Advanced medical treatments and procedures are no longer limited to developed countries. Developing countries have the same medical facilities and equipment as those in the West’s major cities. Moreover, with the ease of travel along with the rise of budget international airlines alongside the availability of medical treatments in developing countries, all these have facilitated the growth of medical tourism to a great extent.
Medical tourists often come from countries with comparatively wealthy countries with expensive health care provisions, especially the USA. Meanwhile, countries such as Mexico, Panama, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, China, India and the Philippines have become the leading choices for medical tourism. Medical tourists also go to some European countries like Spain for their treatment or surgery.
The common procedures are cosmetic surgery like nose lifts, surgical implants, Botox and more. Other treatments include hip replacement, transplants and knee surgery.
Why Are There Medical Tourists?
Regardless of how popular medical tourism has become and how many people choose it, the whole process has its own pros and cons. The major drawback is that in case of complications, the patient may not be covered by insurance or is unable to seek compensation for malpractice.
But, in order to avoid these worst-case scenarios, medical tourists have obtained new insurance coverage specifically for this purpose. Some countries, mostly the most sought-after destinations for medical treatments, offer guarantees and remedies in case of an untoward incident.
Lastly, the cheap cost of treatment and the attention placed on urgent needs is sure to keep medical tourism as a good reason for an extended stay in another country.