Top Medical Tourism Destinations in South and Central America

Brazil

As South America’s largest and wealthiest country, Brazil is an extremely popular medical tourist destination. Brazillian culture values aesthetics and personal appearance, and they have been at the forefront of cosmetic procedures for their own residents. It is the world’s second-highest plastic surgery market, second only to the U.S., with more than 4,000 licensed plastic surgeons. For comparison, the U.S. has about one thousand more. Popular aesthetic procedures here include breast augmentation and reduction, liposuction, dental implants, rhinoplasty, and buttock implants. 

Chile

Chile is the wealthiest country in South America per capita, although it is smaller in size and population than Brazil. It is politically stable and a founding member of the United Nations. There are two JCI-accredited hospitals in Chile’s capital city of Santiago, in addition to numerous private healthcare providers. Private practices are operated to the highest of standards, yet the care is still less expensive than when using insurance in the U.S. or Europe. Chile’s natural beauty and ecologically diverse landscape make it a stunning place to be as you recover from any procedure. Plastic and reconstructive surgeries are the most common medical tourism procedures including breast augmentation, face and body lift and tummy tuck. However, Chilean hospitals also offer medical tourists with top quality internal medicine, oncology, and neurology services among others.  

Panama

This small country links the Latin and South American regions and is another popular medical tourist destination. With the creation of the Panama Canal, this country became increasingly important as it linked eastern and western trade routes especially for the U.S. The U.S. still maintains strong diplomatic relations with Panama today. English is widely spoken, and the national currency is the U.S. dollar. Many doctors trained abroad in the U.S. or U.K., so you can expect high-quality standards of care at a price that is lower than in North America or Europe. Punta Pacifica Hospital is also the only South American medical facility to maintain a partnership with the prestigious John’s Hopkins University. The most popular procedures here are specialized surgeries, orthopedics, and in-vitro fertilization. Medical aesthetics and cosmetic surgeries are also popular. 

Costa Rica

Much like its neighbor Panama to the south, Costa Rica is a country brimming with opportunities for medical tourists. With cost savings between 40 to 60% for U.S. citizens and hundreds of miles of beautiful beachfront, it is easy to see why this land of sun and sand is so popular. Because Costa Rica also has a thriving leisure tourism market, you will find plenty of beautiful sights and entertainment as you recover. In fact, some hotels are set up as special outpatient recovery suites with around-the-clock access to medical professionals, should you need them during your recovery. Most medical tourism in Costa Rica is centered on cosmetic surgery, with dental implants, breast augmentation, and facelifts topping the list.

Medical Tourism Insurance 

If you are planning a medical tourism trip to South America or another region of the globe, medical tourism insurance can help reduce your risk. Reach out today to learn more.

Tropical Medical Tourism Destinations

Most medical tourists engage in the practice to save thousands of dollars on medical procedures, but the tourism aspect of medical tourism should not be overlooked! Medical tourists should think hard about what kind of atmosphere they’d like to rest and recover in. If that atmosphere involves tropical beaches and sunshine, here are three countries to check out for your medical tourism trip. 

Brazil 

With beautiful beaches and beautiful people, Brazil is a popular tourism destination on its own. It also has a strong medical tourism market, boasting 6,011 licensed cosmetic surgeons! This puts sunny Brazil second in the global cosmetic surgery market – narrowly topped by the US with 6,900 licensed plastic surgeons. Popular procedures for medical tourists are predominately cosmetic: breast augmentation, dental implants, facelifts, liposuction, and more – all at around half the cost the procedure would be in the US or UK. With 2,095 beaches along a 4,650-mile coastline, Brazil certainly has a lot to offer a medical tourist looking for a tropical recovery spot. 

Thailand 

As an incredibly popular medical tourism destination for decades, Thailand had to make this list! The “Land of Smiles” has the highest number of JCI accredited hospitals in Southeast Asia and is number four worldwide, after Saudi Arabia, China and the UAE. If that isn’t impressive enough, the country’s tropical beaches are also renowned worldwide for their beauty. If the beach is not your scene, Thailand’s ancient ruins and many beautiful temples are another beautiful sight to behold. However, you may not ever have to leave the hospital to experience a relaxing recovery in Thailand. The high standard of care in Thai hospitals and medical facilities means that many host recovery services onsite, such as relaxation therapies, recovery gardens, and massages. Popular procedures for medical tourists include cosmetic surgery, dental work, and dermatology. 

Costa Rica 

With a healthcare system that’s often ranked above the US and Canada in quality, Costa Rica is a medical tourism destination to watch. The majority of medical tourism procedures occur in San Jose, where all the best hospitals are, but the country has much more to offer in the way of tourism. The rainforested country is well known for its beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes, and native biodiversity. Medical tourists who like adventure would do well to choose Costa Rica for their procedures. Like the other destinations on this list, Costa Rica is best known for cosmetic and dental procedures, although it also welcomes patients for weight loss procedures, cancer treatments, and more.

Medical Tourism Insurance 

Whether you’re a medical tourist, a facilitator, employer, or hospital, we have insurance products that can help reduce your risk. Reach out today to learn more.

Medical Tourism in Latin America

Medical tourism is the practice of visiting a foreign country to receive healthcare, medical treatments, or surgery with the benefit of lower costs than can be found in the U.S. It is estimated that as many as 23 million Americans are expected to engage in medical tourism in the near future, and half of these people are likely to visit countries in Central and South America for their treatments.

Why Latin America?

The benefits of visiting Latin America for medical treatments are nearly unbelievable. The most obvious benefit is the low cost for services, but this is matched by the high quality of medical facilities, practitioners, and treatments. Many Latin American countries are ideal for American medical tourism because of their close proximity to the U.S. Because it is such a popular destination for medical tourism, Latin America’s medical facilities have to use cutting edge equipment and technology in order to meet the high standards of foreign medical tourists and keep their spot as a leading location for medical tourism.

Market Data Forecast reported in 2016 that the Latin American medical tourism market was worth USD 4.33 billion, and this is expected to grow at 18.9% CAGR to reach USD 10.30 billion by 2021.

Top services performed for medical tourists in Latin America include cancer treatments, chronic disease care, dental treatments, heart and bariatric surgeries, orthopedic treatments, cosmetic and plastic surgeries, rehabilitation programs, and eye care. These treatments and surgeries can see a 30% to 70% cut in medical expenses when compared to those in North America.

Some of the top countries for medical tourism in Latin America are Mexico, Costa Rica, and Brazil.

Mexico

It is estimated that medical tourists visiting Mexico can save 40% to 60% on their medical bills. Many doctors and dentists in Mexico received training in the U.S. and are bilingual, making communication with English speaking patients easy and stress-free. In addition, several private American hospital chains own and run hospitals in Mexico, and there are two facilities in the country that are gold members of the Medical Tourism Association. The rate of savings combined with Mexico’s very close proximity to the neighboring U.S. make it an excellent option for medical tourism.

Costa Rica

Over 50,000 foreign patients travel to Costa Rica each year for healthcare, and a majority of that number are Americans. These medical tourists save between 45% and 65% on their procedures. Costa Rica’s healthcare system was actually ranked slightly above that of the U.S. by the World Health Organization. Due to the high quality of services, around 15% of all international tourists to Costa Rica come specially to receive medical care.

Brazil

Brazil’s advanced healthcare system makes it a popular destination for medical tourism. With over 6,500 hospitals, Brazil has one of the largest healthcare systems in the world. It currently has over 60 facilities and programs accredited by the JCI (Joint Commission International), an organization that supports medical excellence in countries outside the U.S. Medical tourists can expect to save 30% to 70% on services performed at Brazilian institutions and will receive top quality care.

For someone visiting a foreign country specifically to benefit from less expensive medical treatment, it would be a disaster to be hit with unexpected charges related to the trip or procedure. Our medical tourism insurance provides coverage against any unforeseen circumstances that a patient traveling abroad may experience.

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Latin America Complications Insurance Program

When traveling to an LATAM country for a medical procedure whether its medical or dental procedure that is cosmetic or not our Medical Tourism Insurance program provides you the peace of mind you deserve by covering the extra medical, hospital, and lodging expenses resulting for a medical complication that occurs during a covered treatment in Latin America.

Benefits Includes:

  • Additional medical expenses due to a medical complication
  • Additional Costs of Travel, Meals and Accommodations
  • Death, Dismemberment and Permanent Disability
  • Family Coordination
  • Residence Modification
  • Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation
  • Coverage for up to 6 months after your procedure date
  • 24/7 Assistance Service
  • And More…