What are the factors that lead a Canadian to seek medical treatment in another country?

The wait time is one of the main reasons Canadians seek medical care outside of their country. Some conditions, classified as elective, cosmetic, bariatric, or non-emergent, can take months to treat.

COVID-19 is not the direct cause of these wait times, and according to the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Medicare has median wait times of up to 25.6 weeks, which is the longest ever recorded. The total wait time for patients referred to specialists can range between 46 and 49 weeks. The Neurosurgery and Orthopedics departments have the longest wait times. Medical Tourism Insurance provides an immediate solution for those facing an emergency or simply wishing to undergo any type of elective surgery, issues related to the pandemic, and/or necessary treatments when recovering from Covid 19.

These wait times can be extremely harmful to patients and their families because waiting for a necessary procedure can aggravate the injury, causing both physical and mental pain and suffering, as well as the patient’s inability to work. Furthermore, the harm that pain medication can cause to the patient’s body is exacerbated by the prolonged use.

A recent talk with a Canadian patient who required surgery to remove an edema on the adrenal gland demonstrated the physical toll that waiting may take. They will very certainly need an adrenalectomy if they wait for Canadian Medicare to perform the surgery. This is easily avoidable. The patient can have the edema removed in the United States while the adrenal gland continues to function normally. The adrenal gland regulates many bodily processes, including the production of cortisol and adrenaline, which regulate blood pressure, heart rate, metabolism, and so on. The removal of the adrenal gland would necessitate the use of hormone supplements for the rest of their lives.

Endometriosis is a painful condition in which tissue grows outside of the uterus and can include the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and intestines, resulting in debilitating chronic pain and infertility. Endometriosis affects one out of every ten women in Canada, and the wait time for an invasive procedure to remove tissue and help with pain management can range from two to four years. Some women have had to quit their jobs due to chronic pain and long wait times. They can have a procedure that will relieve their pain quickly while not affecting their annual income if they choose Medical Travel.

What precautions should a patient take when traveling abroad to receive medical treatment covered by a Medical Tourism Insurance policy?

When purchasing Medical Tourism Insurance and traveling abroad for a medical procedure, Canadians must take precautions.
They should discuss and read the policy to confirm the full scope of their coverage and the extent of their limits.

Another suggestion is to consult with the medical provider or Medical Travel Insurance agent about what documents, clothing, and so on may be required while abroad. Consider what you will require if you plan to travel for pleasure after your procedure is completed. Medical Travel Insurance allows you to include a travel companion who can assist you after surgery as part of your coverage. Adding a travel companion to your policy provides them with coverage in the event of a medical emergency, travel delay or cancellation, and baggage loss.

You might also be interested in: Traveling for Bariatric surgery

Why do Canadians seek medical treatment in another country?

Canadians, like people from other countries, are seeking medical assistance outside of their home country. Many people are looking for a less expensive option, while others are looking for a doctor who can provide the best results. Canadians have been looking for medical tourism options in Europe, the United States, Mexico, and other countries that can meet their standards.


While some people seek specialized treatment, others consider elective cosmetic or bariatric surgery. Others are looking for the best treatments to combat diseases such as cancer and infertility, or to have a procedure done sooner than the national healthcare system will allow.

Shortening appointment wait times and receiving alternative therapies are two of the most common reasons Canadians seek medical tourism. In Canada generally they have to wait longer to be seen by a doctor than in other countries.

What role does the Canadian Medicare program play in medical tourism?

Canadians look abroad for a solution for critical medical care, cosmetic surgery, specialty treatment, or to avoid long wait times. The publicly funded single payer health care system in Canada is known as Canadian Medicare. Despite being quite comprehensive, Canadian Medicare is cost conscious when it comes to providing treatments, and wait times can be very long. When covered by the Canadian Health Act’s universal healthcare, 65-75 percent of Canadians purchase supplemental health insurance.

One recent prostate cancer patient over the age of 70 was faced with the choice of having his castration performed in Canada or traveling outside of the country to receive a more desirable cancer treatment. We have seen Canadians pay up to $350,000 of their own money for quality care that would not be available in Canada or would require a risky wait. In addition, procedural costs can be reduced by paying in foreign currency, and traveling abroad allows patients to receive treatment sooner.

The 13 provinces and territories fund the Canadian healthcare financing system. Each has its own health insurance plan and is funded by the federal government. However, no nationally defined mandatory benefit package exists. That is why many Canadians, particularly those on a tight budget, look to other countries for monetary savings that can help them when receiving medical treatment that is not covered by Canadian Medicare.


Because dental and optical health are not covered by Canadian Medicare, Canadians seek this type of treatment abroad as well. Medical tourists from Canada seek a variety of procedures in this category, including orthodontic and reconstructive surgery.


Similarly, bariatric surgery for surgical weight loss assistance is an important procedure for which Canadians will travel. They can travel to Mexico or Venezuela, where the cost of this elective procedure is much lower. Finally, those who are in chronic pain due to the need for a hip replacement, knee replacement, other joint replacement, or other ailments will pay out of pocket to receive care sooner.

In Canada, between 400,000 and 500,000 people do not have health insurance. They could be landed immigrants, who must wait three months before receiving provincial benefits. They may also be temporary foreign workers, refugees, or asylum seekers. As a result, the uninsured may have a compelling financial reason to travel for medical care.

There are international insurance solutions available for Canadian residents looking for health tourism alternatives to the universal healthcare system, as well as travelers residing in Canada who do not have access to the universal healthcare system. Set medical procedure pricing in medical tourism does not typically include emergency complication medical bills. So, before you travel for medical care or to another country uninsured, please investigate your insurance options.
We are not Canadian healthcare experts, but we are merely citing trends we have observed, including feedback from Canadians medical tourism over the last 15 years.

When looking for specific Canadian universal care coverage questions, please consult a professional.

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Traveling for Bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery, often known as weight reduction surgery, is a medical speciality that focuses on the treatment of morbid obesity. This illness affects a large number of people and can result in both physical and emotional suffering.

Excess weight can have a negative impact on many organs, limiting or even preventing them from working properly. When it comes to fine and gross motor abilities, those who are overweight have limitations. Some people are unable to carry out daily tasks such as personal hygiene, traveling from one area to another, and even driving their own cars.

Obese persons typically experience heightened sadness, anxiety, and low self-esteem as a result of the emotional damage that morbid obesity may inflict.

The best way to treat people with obesity

Of course, the best strategy to treat morbidly obese individuals is to encourage them to consume a nutritious diet and maintain a steady weight reduction for as long as they need it. That might take years in most circumstances.

Surgery can be used to help individuals lose weight, but most people should be treated by medical professionals who give them a diet plan before undergoing any form of surgical procedure.

What is a bariatric surgeon?

When we talk about a bariatric surgeon, we’re talking about a doctor who specializes in obesity-related disorders. Nutritionists are closely tied to this speciality.

However, bariatric physicians must be surgeons, whereas nutritionists are confined to researching the many methods for assisting obese individuals in reducing weight through meals tailored to their specific needs and taking into consideration the patient’s medical condition.

Because, while it is a condition, it is also closely tied to plastic and aesthetic surgery, a medical consultation with a bariatric expert can be costly. As a result, in many circumstances, this leads to the expense of professional services rising.

What are the most frequent procedures used to treat morbid obesity?

Among the procedures used in bariatric surgery, we can mention:

  • Gastric sleeves.
  • Staples in the stomach to reduce its size.
  • The bypass.
  • The balloon.
  • The cutting of a considerable amount of intestine to lighten the digestion and with it the total absorption of food.

Where should one go to treat morbid obesity problems?

When we talk about a bariatric surgeon, we’re talking about a doctor who specializes in obesity-related disorders. Nutritionists are closely tied to this speciality.

However, bariatric physicians must be surgeons, whereas nutritionists are confined to researching the many methods for assisting obese individuals in reducing weight through meals tailored to their specific needs and taking into consideration the patient’s medical condition.

Because, while it is a condition, it is also closely tied to plastic and aesthetic surgery, a medical consultation with a bariatric expert can be costly. As a result, in many circumstances, this leads to the expense of professional services rising.

In Latin America, this problem of obesity is very frequent and many people seek the solution to their problem abroad. Typically because they need to find a center of excellence to perform the desired treatment or it is not available in smaller Latin American countries. 

There are lots of reasons many travel outside of one’s home country looking for the best bariatric surgeons across the world. In some cases, seeking support from insurance companies that can pay for at least part of these surgeries, if not all of it.

Obesity has a negative impact on a person’s entire health, affecting not only their physical look and the correct functioning of several organs, but also their emotional well-being. As a result, it should come as no surprise that certain insurance companies would pay for weight loss operations.

Obesity-related morbidity has been on the rise all across the world. In every country, there are more fat individuals than underweight persons suffering from famine-related starvation. Obesity is lowest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti.

Who can be considered obese?

Obese people are those who weigh more than ten kilograms (22 pounds) more than what is considered “normal weight” and may benefit from expert care from a bariatric physician.

Many people can regain their normal weight by eating a well-balanced diet and making other behavioral adjustments that encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle. However, for those who need to shed more than a hundred pounds or 45 kg, the alternatives to surgery might seem daunting and dismal.

Anyone with a body mass index more than 35 should see a doctor to get their weight and height ratio back to normal.

The genetic factor and a sedentary life, as well as the addiction to food types that cause a person to consume many calories, can lead a person gaining weight in an excessive way.

How to avoid morbid obesity?

  • Control excess weight with a balanced diet.
  • Sports and athletic activities.
  • Walk at least one hour daily.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Early consultation with health professionals specialized in this type of problems.

A healthy diet from an early age is very helpful in reducing obesity. Healthy eating should be practiced from pregnancy. Limiting the foods high in sugar and fat given to children, can help avoid food addictions later in life. 

Countries where people travel to receive bariatric surgery

Patients from all over the world are coming to the United Kingdom and the United States for bariatric surgery. Weight loss clinics are establishing in Thailand, Panama, and Canada for those who are morbidly obese.

Patients in Spain, notably in Seville, are having remarkable success with bariatric surgery. This sort of procedure can cost roughly $25,000 in Venezuela.

In Mexico, the most common trend we’ve seen is bariatric surgery. Many North Americans come to Mexico to have bariatric procedures at a reasonable cost that matches their needs. Furthermore, Mexico offers several clinics that specialize in this type of surgery, with skilled and competent bariatric surgeons treating patients from all over the world. A rising number of Europeans are traveling to Mexico or the United States for medical treatment.

Robot-assisted bariatric surgery, also known as revisional surgery, is an innovative and extremely difficult procedure. It has become a new cause for people to travel for bariatric therapy, with a decreased complication and death rate and great patient outcomes.

For more information you can use the information in the following address https://utswmed.org/medblog/robotic-bariatric-surgery-new-weapon 

Types of complications that can result from the application of bariatric surgery

Among the complications that may occur in patients who have undergone bariatric surgery, we some include: 

  • Acute and sustained intense pain
  • Infections, sometimes severe
  • Blood clots or Embolisms
  • Gastric leaks
  • Loss of dental hardware 

In other cases, insurance standards for fully insured persons are quite stringent, and they do not meet a level where a bariatric treatment would be covered. Some people choose to self-pay in order to bypass restrictions on receiving the desired bariatric surgery and travel to another nation for a lower cost and more flexible criteria.

The requirements to receive weight loss surgery can include:

  • General examinations that define the patient’s condition prior to treatment include  coronary studies, complete blood chemistry, chest x-ray, transaminase evaluations, coagulation and bleeding, and a psychological study of the patients.
  • Have a body mass index greater than 40.
  • Required to prove weight loss capabilities through diet and meet certain weight loss benchmarks prior to surgery. 
  • Not suffering from co-morbidity diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure or are at least able to control them before being taken to the operating room.

This material is intended to offer a quick overview of broad patterns and practices that we have seen. We are not, however, medically competent to offer advice. To determine the best course of action for you, you should talk with a skilled health care practitioner.

3 Reasons to be Thankful for Medical Tourism

Medical tourism, the act of traveling to a foreign country to receive medical care or procedures, often at a much lower cost than could be done at home. People from all countries engage in medical tourism, and they are all ages and income levels as well. Here are three reasons to be thankful for medical tourism! 

Medical Tourism Saves You Money 

Probably the number one reason to be grateful for medical tourism is that it saves you money! Even if you have health insurance, the cost of getting a surgery or other medical procedure performed in your home country could be astronomical. And for cosmetic procedures that are not covered by insurance, you must pay out of pocket for everything. This is where medical tourism comes in. While the convenience of having your medical work performed close to home is undeniable, for many people, the costs associated are simply too great. Traveling to a different country to receive the same procedure can save you anywhere from 20 to 90 percent – even with travel and accommodation costs included. 

Medical Tourism Has Excellent Standards of Care 

Those uninformed about medical tourism may assume that the operations are performed with outdated tools in unsafe environments. There is certainly a negative connotation that medical tourism has with those who are uneducated about it. However, that could not be further from the truth. Depending on the country where you have your medical work performed, you may encounter medical technology and techniques that rival those in your home country. Indeed, there are many countries that boast hospitals catering primarily to international patients, and the standards of care at these facilities are very high. If you want to ensure that you are receiving the best possible medical care when you embark on your medical tourism journey, you can always look to the Joint Commission International, which gives accreditation to hospitals serving medical tourists. JCI accreditation means that a facility has proven it meets the high standards of care set by the JCI, and this typically results in high patient satisfaction from visiting foreigners. 

Medical Tourism Makes Medical Procedures More Accessible 

It’s an all too common tale. Someone wishes to have a hip replacement or knee surgery but cannot afford the cost. Even though this procedure would greatly improve their quality of life, they must continue to put it off. Then, imagine that person discovers medical tourism. Suddenly, they are able to have their dreamed-of procedure performed without emptying their entire savings account. Medical tourism can truly make dreams come true. Alternatively, many people choose to engage in medical tourism for cosmetic procedures. For some, a cosmetic procedure would make all the difference for their self confidence, but since elective procedures are not covered under insurance, they are also often put off as a distant dream. Medical tourism makes cosmetic work accessible to those who desire it but cannot afford it in their home country. In many ways, medical tourism can improve the confidence and quality of life of patients. That’s certainly something to be thankful for! 

Why Choose Medical Tourism for Your Cosmetic Surgery?

As elective procedures, cosmetic surgeries are paid out of the patient’s pocket. While it may be more convenient to receive your cosmetic surgery close to home, it will certainly be costly. When the cost outweighs the convenience, choosing medical tourism is a smart move. Medical tourism is the practice of traveling abroad to a foreign country to receive surgery or medical care. So, why choose medical tourism for your cosmetic surgery?

Cost Savings

Patients who choose to travel abroad to receive cosmetic surgery and procedures can see anywhere from 40 to 80 percent savings, depending on the procedure and country you visit. Brazil is a very popular country for cosmetic medical tourism, and Mexico and Thailand are popular as well.

Surgical Excellence

Medical tourism, despite its ever-growing market and popularity, still has a bad reputation among some who are less educated about the practice and industry. While, like in any country, there can be medical practitioners who engage in unsafe practices or misrepresent their expertise, there are many resources you can utilize to find safe, respected doctors and medical facilities to work with abroad. Two great places to check out providers and facilities are Joint Commission International and the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Private Recovery

Although the stigma around cosmetic surgery is gradually being done away with, many people still may feel uncomfortable with, say, walking around in their local grocery store with bandages and bruises on their face or body. When you choose to get your cosmetic procedures done in a foreign country, you don’t run the risk of running into anyone you know, and you can recover in peace as your appearance returns to its normal though now altered state.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to change something about your appearance through the use of cosmetic surgery and procedures. Traveling abroad to get work done is a great way to ensure you receive quality care at a reasonable price. If you encounter complications after your cosmetic surgery, you can protect yourself against financial burdens by having medical tourism insurance. Get a quote.