Medical Tourism: Healthcare and a Vacation In One

Planning your summer vacation is always exciting. You aim to get away from the stress of work and everyday life and explore a new place. When you want an elective surgery, though, you may feel torn between putting your vacation money towards the surgery or procedure instead. Since elective surgeries are most likely not covered under your insurance (if you have it), the cost can be significant. What if you could get the vacation of your dreams while also getting your elective surgery for a fraction of the cost? That’s what engaging in medical tourism gives you, since it combines the two things that make up its name: medical treatment and vacationing as a tourist. 

Medical Treatment Abroad 

Did you know that a medical procedure that may cost several thousand dollars at your local hospital could cost up to 90% less in a foreign country? You can get anything from plastic surgery to a bypass surgery performed for a fraction of the cost. You may think that the standard of care in a foreign country would be far less than your home country, but you’d be surprised. There are so many hospitals and medical facilities that serve international patients and have a quality of care to match or exceed what you’d find at home. The Joint Commission International (JCI) is the most well known organization that gives accreditation to facilities and clinics around the world. When you choose a foreign medical facility that is accredited, it increases your chances of having a safe medical tourism experience. 

Medical Tourism: the Tourism Side 

Many people live their entire lives without traveling to a different country than the one they were born in. For some, travel abroad is an indulgence they don’t feel they can afford. But what if it had a practical purpose as well? Medical tourism knocks out two birds with one stone by allowing the medical tourist to both get high quality healthcare and get a vacation at the same time. As you recover from your medical procedure, you and your travel companion can enjoy exploring an exciting foreign country. Whether you’re looking to relax on tropical beaches or explore a bustling foreign city, you can find a medical tourism destination to suit your wishes. 

Medical Tourism Insurance 

Just like any medical work, when you engage in medical tourism, there will always be a chance that something could go amiss. Protect yourself from risks like complications with medical tourism insurance. Get a quote today. 

Medical Tourism for Seniors: Advantages and Disadvantages

Seniors tend to have more medical needs than most other groups. With having more medical needs comes having more medical bills, and the bills can pile up quickly. For seniors with no health insurance, inadequate insurance, or even those with perfectly good insurance, sometimes the cost of receiving medical care locally is far too high. Although they may not be aware of it, medical tourism is the perfect opportunity for seniors needing low cost medical care and surgeries. 

What is Medical Tourism? 

Medical tourism, also called health tourism, is the practice of traveling to a foreign country with the primary purpose of receiving medical care at a foreign facility. While this may sound unsafe to those unfamiliar with the practice, there are a number of ways to ensure that everything is above board. These can include utilizing a medical travel agency, going to a JCI accredited facility or hospital, and securing medical tourism insurance before your trip. Along with top quality medical treatments, medical tourists also get to engage in the tourism aspect! While they recover from their treatments, they get to explore a foreign country. So, how can medical tourism be beneficial for seniors?

Top Advantages of Medical Tourism for Seniors 

Cost Savings 

The number one reason why seniors choose to travel abroad to receive medical care is because of the cost savings they can receive. Even including the cost of travel and accommodation, seniors from countries like the US, Canada, and the UK can expect to save up to 90% of what they would have paid for the medical care alone in their home country. The amount of cost savings all depends on where the medical traveler goes. For a patient from the US, traveling to Mexico is incredibly convenient. Mexico has some excellent healthcare centers and hospitals, and depending on the type of care received–this could be anything from a dental checkup to a hip surgery–the patient could save 35-70% on the cost of care. However, that same patient could see even greater savings if they traveled to somewhere like India, where up to 90% savings can potentially be seen.

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 Trends for 2021

After a year where traveling became less common, 2021 holds the promise of a surge in medical tourism. Global Market Insights reported that the medical tourism market was valued at USD 10.1 billion in 2020. The market is expected to grow at 12.1% CAGR from 2021-2027. Medical tourism trends for 2021 are as follows.

Higher Travel to Developing Countries 

Global Market Insights also predicted that more medical tourists would choose developing countries as the location to receive their medical care and procedures. With borders in many developed countries remaining closed, the developing countries are expected to rise in the medical tourism market. The boom from the tourism aspect of medical tourism is attractive to developing countries’ governments, and with hospitals seeking to attract foreign patients, quality of care and equipment will match that of past top medical tourism destinations.

Asian Countries Rising to the Top

The Medical Tourism Association predicts that Asian countries will see a rise in popularity for medical tourists. Their ever-updating technology paired with a high standard of care and hospitality is attractive to medical tourists from all over the world. The cost of medical care in Asian countries has long been some of the lowest as well. 

More Skilled and Specialized Practitioners 

Another trend predicted by the Medical Tourism Association is the rise of specially trained practitioners for medical tourism. There are a number of types of procedures that medical tourists commonly travel for, such as cosmetic surgeries like angioplasty, rhinoplasty, and breast augmentation. 2021 and the coming years should see more and more surgeons trained specifically to master these procedures that attract foreign patients. In fact, the MTA suggested that training centers and medical schools may begin programs training doctors and surgeons dedicated to working with medical tourists. 

Take a Medical Tourism Trip in 2021

The future of medical tourism is bright and only getting brighter. With all medical tourism comes risk, so it’s best to enter into it fully prepared. You can help protect yourself and your travel companion from unexpected expenses with medical tourism insurance. Please contact us to get a quote prior to your trip.

The Role of Medical Tourism Facilitators

Medical tourism is on the rise, and it’s not going anywhere! With the rise in medical tourism, there has also been a rise in the number of medical tourism healthcare facilitators and agencies. In fact, the Medical Tourism Association reported that 74% of patients would prefer to use a medical tourism facilitator to organize their trip. These facilitators simplify the process for both patients and hospitals. In addition, they can help provide patients with a sense of trust and calm when beginning their medical tourism journey. If a facility is approved and used by a reputable facilitator, the patient will be more likely to trust it. When a person is traveling to a foreign country to receive medical care, trust is of the utmost importance! Just what is the role of a medical tourism facilitator, and how important are they in the industry?

Why Facilitators Exist

Medical tourism facilitators serve as a gateway into medical tourism for patients who may be cautious of the industry. In some circles, medical tourism still has a reputation for being dangerous, something where operations are completed in questionable facilities by practitioners with little experience. This is as far from the truth as you can get! The medical tourism that so many people across the globe are doing looks almost exactly like visiting a hospital at home would – only in a foreign country! The benefit of going through a medical tourism facilitator is that they have already vetted each hospital, surgery center, and practitioner that they partner with. They are truly on your side, as advocates for your care. 

Facilitators and agencies provide a sense of professionalism in an industry that is often believed to need more regulations. These companies perform services such as helping patients choose a facility, connecting them with their doctor before their trip, and booking their travel and accommodation. These are certainly tasks that a patient could do on their own, but most prefer to leave it to the professionals! 

In addition to serving as the patients’ advocate, facilitators are also the hospital’s recruiter in a sense. By partnering with reputable medical practitioners and facilities, medical tourism agencies and facilitators increase their business by sending patient after patient the hospital’s way. With greater inflow of international patients, medical facilities and hospitals can only increase their standing in the medical tourism industry. It is in their best interest to get involved with these facilitator businesses! 

Resources 

It’s clear to see how important medical tourism facilitator businesses are within the industry! If you are a patient considering traveling abroad for medical care, consider checking a database such as the IMTJ’s (International Medical Travel Journal) list of facilitators and agencies all over the world.

Medical Tourism Facilitators Need Insurance Too 

We can help provide your medical tourism agency with group plans to benefit your customers. Please reach out to us today for more information!