Benefits of medical tourism – Why you should travel for healthcare
Medical tourism – the act of intentionally traveling abroad for healthcare – has become a common practice these days. People flock abroad for various reasons, including cost-saving, access to high-quality healthcare and special medical procedures that are not available in their own country, and so on. The undeniable benefits of medical tourism mean that the industry will just keep thriving with time.
The benefits of medical tourism
Traveling for healthcare may seem to be a waste of time and money to you at first glance. But don’t be fooled- there are reasons why the practice has been existent for such a long time.
Below are the most common reasons for people to cross the borders in pursuit of medical procedures.
1. A reduction in medical expenses
Cost reduction is one of the most prominent benefits of medical tourism. In developed countries such as the US, healthcare is extremely expensive – a single surgical procedure can cost thousands of dollars, which is unaffordable to many people. Insurance coverage plays a critically important part in this issue – those who wish to perform procedures that are not covered by insurance (e.g: stem cell therapy, cosmetic surgery) face a formidable cash barrier.
For people who live in these countries, the best option in terms of cost-saving is to travel. Due to lower labor costs and lower malpractice insurance, the average cost of healthcare in certain countries is significantly much more affordable – yet the quality is not to be taken lightly. Some of the top choices for medical tourists include India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc.
2. Favorable insurance policies
The benefits of medical tourism are not restricted to patients only. Heeding the current healthcare trend, various insurance companies have decided to promote medical traveling. For example, Blue Cross & Blue Shield has launched a program in which a case manager is responsible for arranging flight tickets, accommodations and post-treatment care for a patient and an accompanying relative/ friend. As the medical costs are lower, the insurance company does benefit from the transaction.
3. VIP treatment experience
Some hospitals that receive international patients frequently are known for their luxurious facilities and spa-like atmosphere, which proves to be appealing to many foreign patients. At these hospitals and clinics, patients may expect to observe hotel-like hospital rooms, delicate private nursing care services, as well as various other benefits.
EW Villa Medica – a premium regenerative center – is located right inside the VIP InterContinental Hotel, Bangkok
4. Vacation opportunity
Wonderful, isn’t it? For just a single trip, you may be able to serve two purposes at the same time. Not only does this save time and money, but many hospitals and medical tourism agencies offer traveling packages – in which patients are accompanied by an “assistant” who will help him/her navigate the destination country and get through any possible problems that may surface.
5. Access to certain medical procedures
Aside from cost-saving, this is probably one of the most important benefits of medical tourism. Sometimes, either the patient’s national healthcare system is not developed enough, or there are regulations that prohibit the execution of some special medical procedures. Let’s say, an American patient may not qualify for weight loss surgery in their own country, as his/her weight is lower than the regulated standard. In that case, he/she may choose to perform the treatment in another country – where the related regulations are different. One more example – stem cell therapy is not an officially recognized treatment in Australia, but it sees wide use in Thailand. Hence, an Australian who wishes to perform a stem cell transplant has no option other than traveling to Thailand.
One more benefit of medical tourism is the alleviation of long waiting lists, which are normally associated with many procedures. At internationally accredited hospitals, treatment is prioritized for those who are in urgent need of it. To schedule their treatment, patients do not need to go directly to the hospital first – all they need to do is contact the hospital via phone in advance, or use the services of a medical travel agency.
6. World-class surgeon skills
Some countries are known as the premium destination for certain treatment. For long, South Korea has been a beauty hub, where several high-end plastic and cosmetic services are provided at very affordable prices. On the other hand, Thailand has been a popular choice for those who want to perform high-quality, yet safe and effective sex reassignment surgery. Due to their long-term reputation, patients may be confident in the expertise of the surgeons in charge – and the benefits of medical tourism.
Most doctors and medical staff at top-class hospitals in these countries have received intensive training at academic institutions in developed countries such as the US. For this reason, their medical skills are not to be taken lightly. Not to mention, they can speak English very fluently, so foreign patients will not need to worry about communication issues.
What’s the other side of the coin?
It goes without saying that everything has its upsides and downsides – this rule applies to healthcare too. The benefits of medical tourism are very appealing, yet certain inherent risks need to be properly addressed in order to truly benefit from the practice.
- Low-quality treatment. It’s more difficult to verify the quality of a foreign hospital than to do the same thing for a local one. Not to mention, resolving legal disputes is much more tricky. Therefore, patients are advised to ONLY seek treatment provided by an internationally certified hospital. In addition, make sure to learn about the surgeons in charge – including their education, experience, certifications – before proceeding with your plan.
- The hassle of traveling. Getting healthcare abroad requires you to travel, which makes it a less appealing choice to those who are not on the run frequently. In addition, flying for a long time may contribute to the risk of blood clots. Hence, patients should not rush home immediately after their surgery to prevent such complications.
- Food poisoning. Those with a sensitive stomach may have trouble eating local foods while getting treatment abroad. In fact, problems such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting are not rare among medical travelers. To prevent this, it’s not a bad idea to stock up on over-the-counter medications. In fact, we highly recommend that you check out our medical travel checklist here, especially if you are about to travel for healthcare.
- Language barrier. Most medical staff at internationally reputed hospitals can communicate in English quite well, yet that does not necessarily apply to local residents. Hence, patients are advised to learn a few simple local words and phrases – just in case they get into trouble.
The benefits of medical tourism are truly enormous – anyone who is interested in high-quality, yet affordable healthcare should not be repelled by the concept of getting treatment abroad. With advances in modern healthcare and global transportation, more and more people have been actively crossing the border in pursuit of better well-being.
For those who intend to go on a medical trip, GO.CARE is the solution for you. As the leading medical tourism platform in Asia, we connect patients with hundreds of high-end hospitals and clinics across Asia. Our partners are carefully chosen based on a number of strict criteria – specifically, all of them are internationally accredited and have a long history of treating international patients.
Contact GO.CARE now to get a COMPLETELY FREE health consultation. We make sure that you will receive the best treatment plan at the most affordable price.
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GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment services.
Risks and Benefits of Medical Tourism. https://www.verywellhealth.com/understanding-medical-tourism-4069869. Accessed on December 9, 2019.
Medical Tourism Benefits and Advantages. https://www.health-tourism.com/medical-tourism/benefits/. Accessed on December 9, 2019.
Medical Tourism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3206745/. Accessed on December 9, 2019.
7 Reasons to Consider Traveling for Medical Care. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2008/10/01/7-reasons-to-consider-traveling-for-medical-care. Accessed on December 9, 2019.