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Medical Tourism in the Philippines

People from the United States, United Kingdom, and other developed countries traveling to developing nations in the search for less expensive health care has become an emerging trend these days. With medical costs only expected to rise in the developed world, medical tourism in Asia, South America, Africa, and even some Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria is all set to become a flourishing industry.

According to the medical tourism statistics of 2011, around 2.65 million patients from the United Kingdom have either traveled or are planning to travel abroad for emergency surgical interventions. This would mean that around 1 out of 20 Britons would have a medical surgery outside their country this year. This is not surprising if one sees some of the cost comparisons. A knee surgery (arthroscopy) which costs around £2200 in the UK costs around £583 in Poland (amount saved 74%) , tooth whitening which costs around £315 in the UK costs around £97 in India (amount saved 69%), hip replacement which costs around £9500 in the UK costs around £2900 in Tunisia (amount saved 69%).
Laser eye surgery (Lasik) which costs around £1100 in the UK costs around £458 in Hungary (amount saved 58%), dentures (full set, acrylic) which costs around £565 in the UK costs around £156 in Latvia (amount saved 72%), varicose vein surgery which costs around £1985 in the UK costs around £461 in Poland (amount saved 77%), cataract removal which costs around £2175 in the UK costs around £490 in Bulgaria (amount saved 77%), and heart surgery (coronary bypass) which costs around £13,650 cost around £4721 in India (amount saved 71%).

The cost of health care in the United States in general is exorbitant compared to the rest of the world. A routine visit to the hospital in the United States costs around $3180 compared to the $1050 in the rest of the world and having a baby delivered costs around $7400 compared to the around $3400 in the rest of the world. Around 16% (around 45 million) of the American population is uninsured. Although the cost of surgeries in the United States is less expensive compared to the United Kingdom, Americans from a lower economic background cannot afford expensive surgeries.

A bone marrow transplant which costs around $2,50,000 in the USA costs around $69,200 in India, a liver transplant which costs around $3,00,000 in the USA costs around $69,000 in India, heart surgery which costs around $30,000 in the USA costs around $8,700 in India, root canal treatment which costs around $1000 in the USA costs around $110 in India, cataract surgery which costs around $2000 in the USA costs around $1350 in India, orthopedic surgery which costs around $20,000 in the USA costs around $6300 in India, and primary rhinoplasty which costs around $7300 in the USA costs around $2900 in India. Non-surgical procedures like laser hair removal, laser acne treatment, and laser scar treatment cost somewhere between $500 and $550, whereas in India it costs somewhere between $200 and $225.

A lot of patients from the USA come to India not only because the costs are very low, but also because there is no language barrier, as most people in the country speak English quite well. There are also exclusive packages offered by medical tourism companies, which helps medical tourists save money on travel.

Medical Tourism India Facts

Medical Tourism has been one of the fastest growing sectors in India. By 2015, it is expected to become an approximately 9500-crore industry in the country. Every year, around 150,000 patients from the developed world come to India for affordable healthcare. According to the current estimates, the cost of treatment is just around 10% of the cost compared to the United States and the United Kingdom. Some of the least expensive treatments foreigners flock to India are for hip replacement, alternative medicine, eye surgery, cardiac bypass, and bone marrow transplant.

Other than the low costs and quality healthcare, medical tourists from the English-speaking countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom prefer travelling to India, as they wouldn’t have to face the language barriers like they would face in countries like China and South American countries, where English isn’t spoken much. The Indian government has also shown a lot of interest in formulating policies to encourage medical tourism in the country.

Today, there is a lot of competition between the private and the public sector to make India one of the future hubs of medical tourism.  A lot of private hospitals, over the years, have invested in the latest, world-class medical technology to woo medical tourists from all over the world.

To convince the medical community and patients from the United States, who have always been a bit skeptical about the healthcare standard in India, most top hospitals have acquired the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation or are in the process of applying. Some of the Indian hospitals with JCI accreditation are the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Calcutta; the Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai; and the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi.

Ancient India had already been the hub of alternative medicine in yoga and meditation centers across the country. However, due to constant foreign invasion, British colonialism, and the advancement of Western clinical medicine, alternative Indian medicine lost its popularity. However, things have now changed with the advent of medical tourism, and people visit India for both Western medicine and alternative Indian medicine.

Medical Tourism in India Costs
According to a recent survey, around 10,000 medical tourists from the United Kingdom have been visiting India over the last few years for cosmetic surgeries like facelifts and tummy tucks. A tummy tuck, which costs around £6500 in the United Kingdom, costs just around £1500 pounds (inclusive of a vacation package) in India. While a surgery for mitral valve prolapse costs around $200,000 in the United Kingdom and around $40,000 in the United States, in India it costs around $7,000.

The rise of medical tourism in India has also created a lot of job opportunities in the country, as the industry requires a lot of planning and processes to be implemented. With a lot of high-tech Indian hospitals entering the fray, fresh Indian graduates can earn up to Rs. 15,000 per month. Medical tourism is also seen as a future growth opportunity for insurance companies, which would create even more jobs. Judging by the zeal shown by both hospitals and the government, the future of medical tourism looks a lot brighter than it was a few years back.

Medical Tourism Association

form of the Global Health Congress and World Medical Tourism. These conferences are attended by government representatives, healthcare providers, and insurance providers.
Similar organizations like the European Medical Tourism Alliance (EUMTA), International Medical Travel Association (IMTA),

and Council on the Global Integration of Healthcare (CGIH) were formed. These organizations also have similar goals of promoting medical tourism on a global basis and promoting the interests of healthcare and insurance providers.

Medical Tourism Definition

In what is seen as surprising, many people, now travel even short distances like from the U.S.A to Canada for medical procedures. Ofcourse, the cost savings are main consideration here. Medical procedures like surgery are less expensive in Canada than in most parts of the U.S. However, the most attractive destinations for medical tourism are Thailand, the Philippines and India. India in particular is gaining rapid prominence as a haven for medical tourists because of its highly skilled physicians/surgeons at extremely affordable costs.

For example, a complicated heart valve replacement surgery would cost anywhere in the region of $200-250K in the United States. A similar procedure could cost just between $10-25,000 in India or Thailand. Not only would this price cover the surgery and hospitalization charges, it would also cover the return airfare and leave enough cash to even enjoy a relaxing post surgery vacation in these countries. Similarly, many dental procedures like a non metal dental bridge which averages around $6000 in the U.S, can cost around $500-600 in India. Plus, the quality and expertise of the medical professionals in many cases is on par or even higher than those found in the U.S or other western countries.

Some other destinations for medical tourism are South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, Hong Kong, Costa Rica, Jordan, Lithuania, Singapore and Hungary. Argentina and Brazil are especially growing in prominence for their cosmetic/plastic surgery skills.

Medical Tourism Insurance

With the surge in medical tourism, there has also been rising demand to insure for medical tourism. Medical tourism insurance offers competitive insurance for medical patients traveling abroad and covers them against unforeseen costs. Medical tourism insurance covers a varied aspects of your medical trip such as trip cancellation protection, travel accommodation reimbursals, unforeseen medical expenses not covered by the scheduled medical treatment etc.

Medical tourism insurance in most cases also covers unexpected expenses such as lost baggage while in transit. Additionally, medical tourism insurance gives you a solid blanket of protection in the event of an accidental death during your medical trip.

Needless to say, medical tourism insurance is a must for patients traveling abroad to get complicated and extensive medical treatment. Making sure that your trip is covered against any unforeseen circumstances is crucial during the planning of your medical trip overseas.

Medical Tourism Costs Comparison

People from the United States, United Kingdom, and other developed countries traveling to developing nations in the search for less expensive health care has become an emerging trend these days. With medical costs only expected to rise in the developed world, medical tourism in Asia, South America, Africa, and even some Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria is all set to become a flourishing industry.

According to the medical tourism statistics of 2011, around 2.65 million patients from the United Kingdom have either traveled or are planning to travel abroad for emergency surgical interventions. This would mean that around 1 out of 20 Britons would have a medical surgery outside their country this year. This is not surprising if one sees some of the cost comparisons. A knee surgery (arthroscopy) which costs around £2200 in the UK costs around £583 in Poland (amount saved 74%) , tooth whitening which costs around £315 in the UK costs around £97 in India (amount saved 69%), hip replacement which costs around £9500 in the UK costs around £2900 in Tunisia (amount saved 69%).
Laser eye surgery (Lasik) which costs around £1100 in the UK costs around £458 in Hungary (amount saved 58%), dentures (full set, acrylic) which costs around £565 in the UK costs around £156 in Latvia (amount saved 72%), varicose vein surgery which costs around £1985 in the UK costs around £461 in Poland (amount saved 77%), cataract removal which costs around £2175 in the UK costs around £490 in Bulgaria (amount saved 77%), and heart surgery (coronary bypass) which costs around £13,650 cost around £4721 in India (amount saved 71%).

The cost of health care in the United States in general is exorbitant compared to the rest of the world. A routine visit to the hospital in the United States costs around $3180 compared to the $1050 in the rest of the world and having a baby delivered costs around $7400 compared to the around $3400 in the rest of the world. Around 16% (around 45 million) of the American population is uninsured. Although the cost of surgeries in the United States is less expensive compared to the United Kingdom, Americans from a lower economic background cannot afford expensive surgeries.

A bone marrow transplant which costs around $2,50,000 in the USA costs around $69,200 in India, a liver transplant which costs around $3,00,000 in the USA costs around $69,000 in India, heart surgery which costs around $30,000 in the USA costs around $8,700 in India, root canal treatment which costs around $1000 in the USA costs around $110 in India, cataract surgery which costs around $2000 in the USA costs around $1350 in India, orthopedic surgery which costs around $20,000 in the USA costs around $6300 in India, and primary rhinoplasty which costs around $7300 in the USA costs around $2900 in India. Non-surgical procedures like laser hair removal, laser acne treatment, and laser scar treatment cost somewhere between $500 and $550, whereas in India it costs somewhere between $200 and $225.

A lot of patients from the USA come to India not only because the costs are very low, but also because there is no language barrier, as most people in the country speak English quite well. There are also exclusive packages offered by medical tourism companies, which helps medical tourists save money on travel.

Medical Tourism Statistics

In the last 8 years, a lot of countries from Asia, South America, and Eastern European countries have become popular destinations for medical tourism, which is expected to grow from a current $20 billion industry into a $60 billion global industry in a year or two.

ccording to the survey data gathered from medical tourism services in the United Kingdom, in 2009, around 60,000 patients from the country traveled outside their country for treatment. Out of this, 43% were for dental care (around 25,800 patients), 29% were for cosmetic surgery (around 17,400 patients), and 28% were for other treatments and surgeries like infertility treatment and orthopedic surgery.

Britons save around 50% of money by traveling abroad, even taking into account the expenses incurred for accommodation and travel. They save up to 60% on dental implants, around 44% on complete acrylic dentures, and around 52% on extraction of wisdom tooth. By traveling to India, Britons save up to 56% on knee replacement, even with accommodation and travel (In France, they can save up to 36%).

In 2007, 500,000 to 750,000 American patients traveled abroad seeking comparatively less expensive health care and surgical interventions. This has increased to around an average of half a million Americans traveling abroad in the last 3 years. American medical tourists prefer various destinations depending on the type of treatment and proximity.

For dental services, most Americans prefer Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico, as it takes less time to travel. In general, South American countries are preferred for cosmetic and plastic surgery, as they offer some of the world’s top plastic and cosmetic surgeons. Mexico is preferred by senior Americans, as it is the closest to the USA. Every year, around 80,000 senior Americans travel to Mexico to spend their retirement.

The surgeries for which Americans travel abroad the most are for cosmetic surgery, weight loss surgery, infertility treatment, cardiac procedures, and orthopedic procedures. Medical tourists for cosmetic surgeries, infertility, and weight loss surgeries are high on the list, as these are not covered by most medical insurance companies in the USA. According to American medical tourism companies, India, Thailand, and Costa Rica are the most visited countries by American patients.

India and Southeast Asia are preferred for cardiovascular and orthopedic problems mainly because of world-class cardiovascular and orthopedic surgeons as well as the fact that there are lots of hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI). Among Asian countries, Singapore is the one of the most preferred by American patients, as there are 13 JCI accredited hospitals, and the country offers a very clean environment. The number of medical tourists in the country increased from around 270,000 to around 400,000 in 2009. It is expected to reach close to a million by 2012.

Other than Singapore, India and Thailand have emerged as two hot destinations over the past 2 to 3 years. Medical tourists from the USA save between 20% and 30% of their health care costs traveling to these two countries. A large chunk of medical tourists visited India (1.2 million patients) and Thailand (1.1 million patients) in 2004 for health care and surgery.

Medical tourism is expected to grow into a $4.4 billion industry in Asia by 2012, with India expected to benefit half from it.

It should be noted that most statistics for medical tourism is based on surveys done on just around 20% of medical tourists worldwide, and most of the data are very rough estimates. However, there is no doubt that in the coming years, medical tourism is going to flourish in most of the developing world.