What you Need to Know About Emerging Trends in Medical Tourism
An industry as fast moving as medical tourism, keeping yourself informed on the emerging trends in this sector is very important when considering your options for medical treatment abroad.
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Medical tourism is commonly described as the practice of obtaining medical services in a foreign destination. Although this niche market is now being capitalized on and becoming better known, the practice of traveling abroad for services is not new.
Switzerland, in particular, has long since been attracting the rich and famous to its beautiful surroundings, for innovative procedures and a relaxing vacation. There are many sources that site Switzerland as the pioneer of medical tourism.
Medical tourism is not just for the rich and famous anymore, and Switzerland is not the only destination. About ten years ago, countries in Asia realized that the opportunity exists to fill the unmet needs of millions worldwide.
For nearly a decade, the concept of medical tourism has been misunderstood and received bad media coverage in developed countries. Today not only has that trend reversed, but medical tourism is being embraced as a viable option for people in need of affordable medical care. Well known newspapers and television networks are doing pieces medical tourism as a whole and are spotlighting individuals who have taken advantage of the cost saving option.
What is driving the expansion of the medical tourism industry? Countries such as India have been quick to recognize that the Western world is not providing timely medical care to its citizens. In both the United States and Canada, it is not uncommon to wait for more than 4 months to be seen after a referral is made. Then, there is more waiting time while tests are scheduled. Additional time passes waiting for the test results. If the result is that there is a need for a procedure, it could be several more weeks before surgery is scheduled. Non emergency medical attention may be extended for up to two years. There is basically no wait time in foreign countries such as India and Thailand.
Another driving force is the outrageous and ever rising costs of medical insurance. It is not uncommon for a family to be quoted $1,000 or more for monthly insurance premiums, which only covers a portion of the bill, AFTER the $5,000 annual deductible is met! That equates to $17,000 in out of pocket payments before the insurance coverage kicks in. The average worker cannot afford $17,000 and in many instances, that figure far supercedes the annual income! In the United States, there are 43.3 million uninsured people.
What happens then, to the average person who is uninsured and in need of a heart bypass? If not aware of the option of medical tourism, the uninsured worker will face the choice of going without the surgery, or of withdrawing his life savings, or taking out a loan in order to pay for the surgery.
The same worker can obtain the surgery in another country for $10,000 vs. $70,000 in the US. He can get a knee replacement for $6,000 vs. $50,000! Although still a large amount of money, it is much more attainable abroad than in the home country.
Those in the medical tourism industry recognize that time is a precious commodity. Another aspect to the trends of medical tourism is to market to those who have little vacation or sick leave available to them. Multitasking is not new in the business world, and countries desiring to attract the medical tourist are appealing to those who would like to have an exotic and affordable vacation, but may feel they need to forgo it, in light of the upcoming surgery in the spring. Many countries are marketing their accredited, resort type facilities, and the amenities of the surrounding countryside to those in need of medical services.
We are truly living in a global medical community that knows no borders. With the Internet readily at the fingertips of anyone desiring to use it, information about various facilities, services, and destinations can be searched out. An emerging trend is for the facility to offer "inclusive" packages. That is right! You and a companion can now surf the internet and find an exotic location to have your serious surgeries, or one of a more cosmetic nature. On site travel agents are standing by, offering a package that includes discounted airfare, ground transportation, all meals and accommodations in a resort type facility, with internationally trained doctors and medical staff who will be extremely attentive before, during and after your procedure. The price will undoubtedly be about 1/6 of the cost of just the medical procedure in a developed country.
The bottom line is that medical tourism is here to stay. India has a goal of becoming the number one destination in the world. Other countries are setting similar goals. As they begin to compete with each other, vying for our business, services and options are increasing while the costs remain low. Most countries are seeing a growth of 20-30% in medical tourism, as medical services in the Western countries are being outsourced.
Article Tags: Medical Tourism
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jay Siva is the author of the best seller book "The Complete Guide to Medical Tourism". He reveals vital information on how to successfully plan your medical trip abroad, find discount airfare, American-trained doctors, and internationally- accredited hospitals. You 'll find out such things as how to pick your treatment destination, what you can expect to pay for specific surgical procedures and so much more.