What Is Medical Tourism? - GO.CARE Blog
What Is Medical Tourism?
Author: Nhi Lê
Review Date: August 5, 2018 | Last Modified: January 17, 2019
What Is Medical Tourism?

In recent years, medical tourism has appeared as a novel term in the tourism industry, which attracts more and more interest from visitors. Let’s find out what is medical tourism and the advantages of this kind of tourism.

Flying all the way to Thailand for a nose job or packing yourself for a trip to India for a heart transplant, which might be seen as crazy ideas decades ago. However, they have become rampant these days with the growing trend of the so-called medical tourism. Medical tourism is growing in popularity all over the world, so what exactly is medical tourism?

The story of Bob

To answer the question above in a way that demonstrates how medical tourism actually work and benefit people in real life, let us get to know about Bob.

Problem appears

Bob is a 58 years old man with overall decent health who has his job as a factory worker in Minneapolis, the largest city in the state of Minnesota in the United States. Clearly enough, Bob’s job does not offer him a fortune to live a fancy luxury life. But Bob loves what he does and as long as the salary is able to cover the bills, Bob feels ok with it.

Everything was perfectly fine until a day when he found himself in the emergency room due to some chest pains. Doctor later announced that he has atherosclerosis and will need a coronary bypass operation as soon as possible. However, Bob is just a contract worker, which means he has no health insurance. And that fact leaves him with the only two options at the time. He can choose to deplete all his life saving and take a loan out for 150,000USD to take the surgery, or he can choose to do nothing, maybe take some drugs, but basically just hope for the best.

A new way abroad

Apparently, none of the choices sounds very appealing but that was all he has. So Bob was taking his time weighing the two until the other day when he went online and chanced on an address where he can possibly get a third option, a website called Planet Hospital. Planet Hospital is a website that connects people to private sector medical care facilities in the developing world. After wandering around the website for a while, Bob is now looking at going to India after seeing the 10,000 USD price tag. He ended up getting the Sun, Sand, and Surgery package. With this package, he received the airfare, as well as a week, staying at a resort overlooking the beach – all that for 10,000 USD. By taking the package, Bob has become the popularly termed medical tourist who crosses borders to obtain health in an environment outside their own.

Medical tourism – a new term in the healthcare industry

An economical solution

Getting back to Bob, Bob is just one case of the 56 million Americans under age 65 who have trouble paying medical bills according to data analyzed by Nerd Wallet Health with sources from the U.S. Census, Centers for Disease Control, the federal court system, and the Commonwealth Fund.

Ever since the mid 20th century, healthcare cost has exploded in many developed countries. A procedure like a heart bypass, for example, can cost more than 100,000USD in the US. Statistics from MTA Patient Surveys also indicate that 64% of patients that traveled abroad for care did not have health insurance, which can further indicate that the major reason for people going on a medical trip is to seek high quality and affordable health care in lieu of rising medical care costs, because that same procedure mentioned above that cost 100,000USD in the US can run less than $4,000 USD in Mexico.

Faster access to healthcare service

There are, however, other reasons for medical tourism to become the burgeoning industry that it is today. For example, people live in nations with nationalized health care plans still face a rather long wait time to obtain medical services. Certain medical procedures such as different types of surgeries may have a waitlist that is very long. In some cases, the patient simply just cannot afford to wait that long to get treated. These situations can motivate people to choose medical tourism in order to get the treatment on time. Sometimes, the force behind medical tourism can be as simple as to obtain a treatment which is impossible to get in one’s country.

Wide choices for medical treatment

People go abroad for procedures that they could not normally get in their home country due to legal issues such as in the case of unlicensed and unproven stem cell injections. Procedures not covered by most mainstream medical insurance providers such as cosmetic surgeries also play a role in impulsing the development of medical tourism. That can be seen in the result of The Medical Tourism Association (MTA) Patient Survey where 33% of patients traveled abroad reported the purpose of their trip is for cosmetic surgery.

Wide choices for destination

Countries in Africa, Asia, and America have all branded themselves as leading medical tourism destinations. Costa Rica, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United States are all top destinations. Millions of medical tourists every year are favorable for these destinations due to their availability of internationally-trained, experienced medical staff, best practices, and state-of-the-art medical technology in combination with excellent tourism infrastructure. You can now cross borders to receive dental work or plastic surgery with an appealing price. Moreover, you can even sign up for a surrogacy program that allows you to pay somebody to have a child for you.

The term medical tourism itself might sound a little bit strange and exotic to some people. However, it is in fact just a rapidly growing phenomenon. It has become widespread by an increasingly empowered patient base searching for quality, affordability, availability, and accessibility in healthcare. That’s why Medical Travel Asia – a leading medical tourism company with a new project GO.CARE – is established to connect patients with the best healthcare providers at the most affordable price.

GO.CARE – Healthcare made simple. Healthcare for everyone.

Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.

1. Medical tourism, your health can now be outsourced: Krystal Rampalli at TEDxUMN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GUBUbDYiV0 Accessed July 29, 2018

2. Facts & Statistics

https://medicaltourism.com/Forms/facts-statistics.aspx Accessed July 29, 2018

3. Medical Tourism Statistics & Facts

https://patientsbeyondborders.com/medical-tourism-statistics-facts Accessed July 29, 2018

4. What is medical tourism?

https://medicaltourism.com/(X(1)S(lppk1injbsbf1wtdc25pvi2d))/Forms/Miami/whatismedicaltourism.aspx.  Accessed July 29, 2018