Medical tourists are people who travel to a foreign country to receive medical procedures – usually for a far lesser cost than they would incur back home. There is a number of reasons why someone would travel all the way to another country to receive medical care. But what kind of patients most often benefit from medical tourism?
The Uninsured or Underinsured
Almost 1 in 5 Americans is uninsured. Many more are underinsured. These individuals will be expected to pay out of pocket for any medical care, and with the high cost of medical care and procedures in their home countries, uninsured or underinsured individuals may find themselves facing a tough choice: receive the care they need and incur great out of pocket costs or risk continuing as is but avoid falling into medical debt. By traveling to another country with a favorable exchange rate, even after travel costs, medical tourists can receive the surgeries and treatments they need at drastically reduced out of pocket costs.
Patients Looking for Elective Procedures
Elective procedures are simply ones that do not involve a medical emergency. Some of these procedures, such as a hip replacement, will likely be covered by health insurance if they are deemed medically necessary. Other types of elective procedures, such as cosmetic treatments, are generally not considered medically necessary and therefore most likely not covered under health insurance. Many people engage in medical tourism to undergo cosmetic procedures like plastic surgery or cosmetic dental work at reduced costs. In fact, 33% of medical tourists choose to travel for cosmetic work.
Retirees Looking to Improve Their Health and Enjoy a Vacation
In some cases, government healthcare programs may not cover expensive or experimental procedures. Retirees who find themselves in need of surgeries or treatment for health conditions would do well to consider medical tourism. In addition to receiving care at a more manageable cost, retired people can enjoy an exciting vacation. Many medical tourism destinations are also popular as traditional vacation sites. In addition, hospitals that cater to medical tourists often provide a top-notch luxury experience.
Patients Seeking Procedures Not Approved in Their Home Country
There are a number of treatments and procedures that have been shown to be safe and have excellent health benefits, yet they are not approved in a patient’s home country. However, these operations and treatments are quite common in some other countries. If a patient is interested in the benefits of alternate or experimental treatments, medical tourism is a great option. The quality of the treatments is fully matched by the quality of care, and patients can rest easy knowing they are in good hands with experienced doctors, even if they are thousands of miles away.
Although a patient can plan out their medical tourism trip down to the last detail, complications may arise and unforeseen costs may be charged. Medical tourism insurance is designed to protect patients undergoing a medical journey from the burden of these potential costs.