There are many costs associated with seeking healthcare services abroad. Marco Bitran of Boston, MA, understands that this includes airfare, hotel or rental cost; food; and the physician, surgeon, or other specialist fees themselves.
According to a study done by researchers at The University of Michigan, 50% of Americans who used international/medical tourism services to seek treatment for ailments like heart disease & cancer did so because they could not find a comparable level of care in their home regions. In addition, one-third said that they were attracted to affordability.
In another 17% cases, they stated that the ability to avoid long wait-lists all over again drove them towards seeking treatment overseas. Another 10% have stated that their motivation was the lack of available treatments in the U.S.
Marco Bitran feels that the costs associated with medical tourism are not only financial but emotional as well. Again, according to studies on this subject, 200% of Americans who have used medical tourism services had feelings of anxiety over not knowing whether or not they could trust the treatment they were receiving or if they would even come out of it alive.
On top of that, 55% said they did not communicate well enough with their health care providers while abroad.
What is Medical Tourism
Medical tourism is a growing industry dealing with patients’ travel from one country to another to seek healthcare. Marco Bitran believes that there are many reasons why an individual may choose to become a medical tourist, including:
The costs of traveling abroad for treatment can be up to 80% less than what you would pay at home. In addition, there are ways in which you can save even more money by choosing where and when you will have your procedure done.
Marco Bitran feels that one of the main reasons is that some countries charge different prices depending on how long they have been operating their practices or where you live in your own region/country. In other cases, some providers will offer discounts if you agree to have procedures done simultaneously. Lastly, some hospitals may offer discounts during certain seasons of the year
Less long waits
As previously mentioned, one of the most significant reasons for becoming a medical traveler is that you can get treated much faster than if you were getting care in your area. The time it takes to receive treatment depends on several factors, including the country you’re going to, how large their medical tourism industry is, and the availability of physicians, surgeons, or other specialists. In Australia, for example, where there are three times as many physicians per population as there are in America does not have nearly as much demand for international healthcare. Asia, Europe, and Latin America do not have this issue. This means that they cannot provide as great a service as those regions.
Further, it is estimated that over 50% of the patients who seek treatment abroad do so because they can be seen much faster than if they were in another country.
No long-term care costs
The cost of maintaining your health for years to come can take a huge toll on your wallet. For example, one study found that the average price of all healthcare-related costs for Americans was $27,844 per year or approximately $2300 per month. This means that an individual would have to make at least $246,000 a year to cover these expenses. However, most Americans only make around half of this amount, which means a great opportunity to save money on their annual healthcare expenses by seeking treatment abroad.
The final price tag associated with medical tourism is the cost of transportation and hotel accommodations. This can be a significant amount of money, but there are many ways to lower these costs. For example, you can often find deals on airline fares during off-peak seasons or stay at a location that charges by the day instead of per night. To save even more money, it may be advisable to split your expenses with someone else who is also going for treatment.
In addition, because there are price differences from region to region, it may be advantageous for patients from wealthier countries like America or Canada to go to a poorer country where procedures typically cost less than half as much as they would in the first world nation.
As mentioned previously, there are many reasons why an individual may seek treatment abroad. However, it is more common for individuals who reside in developing countries or are from wealthier nations to become medical tourists frequently.
The Costs of Medical Tourism
What are the costs associated with becoming a medical tourist? Although prices can vary greatly depending on where you travel and what procedures you have done, it is generally cheaper to be treated abroad than domestically. For example, in Singapore, someone who has heart valve replacement surgery spends about $25,000 while someone in Bangkok spends only $10,000, and a patient living in New York City would spend around $150,000, according to one source. Other common procedures that cost much less when treatment is sought internationally include cataracts — $2,500 vs. $10,000 — ; hip replacements — $11,200 vs. $30,000 — and bariatric surgery — $17,000 vs. $25,000.
Another example of the cost savings that can be had by traveling abroad for medical care is breast implants, estimated to cost about $4,795 in America but only 945 Euros in Poland, according to one source. This means that an individual interested in getting a boob job would save over half of their money if they went overseas instead of domestically.
Medical tourism, or traveling to get medical treatment, is becoming more and more common, with estimates indicating that there are currently over 600,000 people per year who travel internationally to seek healthcare. While this may seem like a big number, it only accounts for about 1 out of every 324 trips, which means most people don’t even consider seeking medical treatments abroad. However, with the rising costs associated with local healthcare services and the availability of quality care in other countries, it is just a matter of time until we see more and more people traveling abroad for their health care needs.