A global economic recession is at hand, but it is no secret that the United States is one of the most affected countries all over. Many citizens are doing their best to make ends meet, even those with urgent health and medical concerns who are waiting in line for treatments. A recent but increasingly popular trend in the American health community is medical tourism. Also known as medical travel, health tourism, overseas healthcare, or healthcare travel, medical tourism is a broad term encompassing all sorts of overseas travel to receive medical, dental, or surgical treatments. Read more of this guide and get a better understanding.
Reasons for Receiving Treatment Abroad
Various reasons abound for the thousands of Americans who travel overseas to receive medical care abroad. The primary reason is the huge savings they get from having their treatments abroad instead of in the U.S. In India, Thailand, Bolivia, and Argentina, four of the hottest medical tourism spots, a person can receive surgical treatment that costs up to 90 percent less than here, without crimping on the quality of treatment received. Furthermore, many patients in the U.S. are relegated to a long waiting list where it takes up to a year before they can have treatments. Many medical tourism destinations, such as Singapore and Bangalore, allow you to have the operation right after the day you hop off the plane.
Medical Tourism Guide to Destinations
By far, the most popular destination is India, where many facilities are accredited by the U.S. Joint Commission International and the treatments are for complex abnormalities, such as cancer, eye disorders, diabetes, infertility, heart problems, and orthopaedics. Other treatments may also be for stress management, facial and body procedures, weight management, sex change, and hair replacement. Other countries that have established themselves in this burgeoning industry are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Israel, Malaysi, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore.
Considerations for Choosing a Destination
It is important that you plan your trip way ahead of the date of the medical procedure. Applying for a long leave at work is a must; so is incorporating a long leeway at the end of the procedure to allow you time to recuperate or visit your medical practitioner for post-operation treatments or checkups. Do your research on the destination you plan to visit and the medical procedure and have your current physician become actively involved. He will still be your doctor after the operation when you get back home. Also, think of possible language barriers. Some medical tourism hotspots where most people can understand and speak English fluently are Singapore, India, the Philippines, and South Africa.
Risks of Medical Tourism
Generally, the quality of healthcare you can get abroad is up to par with that you can receive for such an exorbitant price here. It is not medical standards that some people are wary of, but several environmental factors inherent to the destination. For instance, warm and tropical countries such as India and Thailand have higher rates of infectious diseases (i.e. dysentery, influenza, tuberculosis, etc.) which are not encountered as frequently in the north. But by choosing the right hospital the risks of medical tourism are quite small.