Decades ago, people from developing countries used to travel to U.S.A and Europe looking for advanced healthcare that was not available in their home countries. The treatment that they received in U.S.A and Europe was every expensive and only the wealthy patients could afford to travel to these countries for medical care. However, things have changed drastically. Every year now, a few hundred thousand people from the Western countries, such as U.S.A and U.K, travel to developing nations such as India, Thailand and Costa Rica to avail world-class medical facilities at an affordable cost. Popularly known as Medical tourism, the practice of traveling abroad to avail healthcare has now grown into a safe, affordable and enjoyable practice.
The rising costs of healthcare in the developed nations impel a huge number of people, now popularly termed as Medical Tourists, to scout for locations in the less developed parts of the world for medical treatments such as dental implants, knee surgery and bariatric surgery. An article published on the financial page of The New Yorker on April 16th, 2012 states that the Bumrungrad hospital in Bangkok treats four hundred thousand foreign patients annually. Malaysia receives about six hundred thousand medical tourists last year, while South Korea plays host to more than a hundred thousand medical tourists, nearly a third of them American.
The attraction to look for affordable healthcare in developing nations such as India, Malaysia, Turkey, Thailand and Costa Rica is quite obvious. Not only are the costs of medical facilities only a fraction of the cost of similar medical facilities in the U.S.A, the quality of healthcare provided by these countries has improved tremendously in the last few years. The presence of internationally accredited hospitals in these countries that offer similar technical facilities as offered in American hospitals is an added attraction for medical tourists. Many companies who connect the patients in Western countries to hospitals and reliable doctors in other parts of the world make medical tourism easier and more dependable for people.
Finding affordable healthcare outside one's home country has become easy because of the abundance of information and resources now available on the medical tourism industry. It is also convenient to connect via forums on the internet with other people who have availed similar medical treatments in foreign locales. Many reliable agencies and companies offer services where they ascertain your needs and locate the country where you will receive high quality medical care at low-cost.
Over 50 countries around the world, especially the developing nations, count medical tourism as their national industry. However, the safety, quality and reliability of medical facilities offered vary from one country to another. Some of the most popular countries that offer low-cost, yet world-class medical facilities to the medical tourists are India, Costa Rica, Mexico, China, Thailand, Turkey, Hungary, Pakistan, Philippines and Taiwan. More and more Americans now prefer to travel a short distance to Mexico for medical treatments such as advanced dental treatments. For instance, getting dental implants in Los Algodones, Mexico is much cheaper than getting the same dental procedure done in the U.S. In the same way, India is a preferred destination for various kinds of surgeries such as knee surgery, cardiac surgery, bone marrow transplant and orthopedic surgery.
Since the healthcare costs in the U.S.A and the European Union are on the rise, the trend to travel internationally to look for affordable healthcare is likely to stay strong.