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.
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.
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’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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