Medical Tourism : The Costs
The main reason why most folks are willing to travel abroad for a medical procedure, whether it is an elective procedure such as cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery, dental surgery, weight loss procedures, gender reassignment and infertility treatments, or for a major surgery such as hip or knee replacement, or heart surgery, is to save money on the cost of the treatment.
It may seem counter intuitive to think that by going to another country for a medical treatment one could actually save money even after figuring in the major costs of travel for oneself and a companion such as airfare, room and board, plus the other incidentals and time involved in any type of travel to a foreign country. And for those folks who are able to include a holiday with their medical treatment, you often can still find that you will save money. During your research on the OnlineMedicalTourism site you will find a number of leading medical tourism destinations offering world-class health care with highly skilled surgeons in state-of-the-art facilities. Their procedure costs are a fraction of what a similar procedure would cost in Europe, the US or Canada.
A recent study by Deloitte observes that costs of procedures remain a strong motivation for medical travel:
Hernia repair in US --- $5,400, abroad $1,800
Heart bypass in the US --- up to $200,000, at an accredited hospital in India $10,000
Hip replacement in the US - up to $75,000 ---- at a JCI accredited facility in Singapore $12,000.
Knee repair surgery in the US -- $12,000, abroad it is $1,400
Medical tourism is clearly driven by these large cost differentials.
If this is your first foray into looking at medical tourism as a possible option for your medical needs, you may wonder how these foreign facilities are able to offer such lower priced procedures. According to a recent World Health Organization report, more than 70 per cent of hospital costs are related to labor overhead, administrative expenses, and insurance. Countries whose labor costs are low and do not have to deal with government required malpractice insurance coverage have a cost advantage over countries such as the US.
Although cost may be the primary reason you are considering traveling abroad, you should not choose a surgeon and hospital solely based on price. Your search should be for the best value in medical care, not just the best price. Whether you travel a few hours or 20 hours to reach your destination, safety, quality, and service are equally important when considering where you have your procedure done. Do diligent research about the facility and doctor you are considering. Many of the large international facilities are seeking and gaining accreditation from well-recognized third party accreditation organizations. Read about these organizations at: Accreditation Organizations .
Planning an overseas trip takes time. Researching hospitals and their safety records, selecting a doctor after finding out about the doctor’s schooling and board certification records, the number of procedures he/she has performed in the last 5 years, the success rates etc., organizing and sending medical records, getting price estimates, booking travel accommodations, applying for visas/passports, figuring out the cost difference between the overseas facility versus a comparable local facility, recovery time, what happens if something goes wrong, checking with your insurance company to see if they will cover the procedure, what sort of follow up care after you arrive home….the list goes on. Some overseas facilities have a special department that assists the international patient. OnlineMedicalTourism has tried, wherever applicable, to list that information for you on the hospital’s info page. Click here to see all our facilities: Facilities.
If all the details involved in organizing and coordinating a medical tourism trip seem too overwhelming, you could consider using a full service medical travel facilitator. To see the OnlineMedicalTourism list of these full service providers/facilitators click here: Full Service Providers. At the top of this page "Sort by SERVICE" to see the complete listing of all full service providers/facilitators.
The best full service medical tourism providers will assist you from start to finish, making sure that before you travel, you receive a very detailed, personalized, firm price quotation that itemizes all related costs. They often will have someone who will even pick you up at the airport and take you to all your appointments, handling any of your needs to make your trip as easy as possible.
How do you decide if you should even consider an overseas facility? MedRetreat, a full service medical travel facilitator, recommends that “if your procedure in North America will cost $6,000 or less, it is generally not financially advantageous to travel abroad for treatment,” particularly once you factor in airfare, hotel accommodations, traveling companion expenses, and other travel essentials. This guideline may not apply to some elective dental and cosmetic procedures. It is up to you, as the consumer, to ask questions and make the final determination.
OnlineMedicalTourism.com is the premiere independent medical tourism portal with the most complete listings of all aspects of this industry to allow you, the medical traveler, to conduct comprehensive research into this important topic before making any decisions.