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.