Ask This About Medical Tourism

With the rising cost of healthcare in the United States, more and more people are considering medical tourism as a viable option to receiving the healthcare they need at a much lower cost. From cosmetic surgery to oncology, neurology and even dental care, the cost for receiving treatment in other countries can be considerably less than many would pay here in the U.S. - up to 90 percent in some cases - even after insurance pays part of the costs. If you're considering medical tourism as part of your medical care, be sure to ask the following questions, so you can ensure you find the best care possible for the best price. 

Where are the top three destinations for medical tourism?

The top three destinations for medical tourism are Cabo San Lucas, Malaysia and India, though many countries offer excellent healthcare at much lower costs than you'd pay in the United States.

Why is healthcare in other countries so much cheaper than healthcare in the United States?

It's not so much a question of why healthcare in other countries is so cheap, but rather why healthcare costs in the United States are so inflated. High fees charged by surgeons and physicians, especially in the areas of cosmetic surgery, can skyrocket prices. In addition, high facilities costs, costly research, unpaid medical bills totally billions of dollars and excessive malpractice suits, combined with the high cost of education in medical fields all combine to equal prohibitively high costs for medical care in the United States. Most of these issues are not seen in other countries. 

How much can I save by opting for healthcare overseas?

In same cases, medical care overseas can cost as much as 90 percent less than you would pay in the United States, depending on the type of healthcare you seek. Even after travel expenses, out-of-pocket costs for healthcare in a different country can save you thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars less than you'd pay in the U.S.

Which medical treatments are available in other countries?

Pretty much any type of treatment you would receive in the United States is available abroad. However, the most common procedures done overseas are orthopedic surgeries (hip replacement, knee replacement, etc.), cardiovascular surgery, cancer treatment, cosmetic surgery and dental surgery.

Will my insurance help cover the cost of treatment in another country?

Your insurance is not likely to cover any treatment you receive overseas, as most plans and insurance providers do not yet cover out-of-country medical care. However, in some cases, you may be able to get part of your treatment covered. Talk to your insurance provider to find out what, if anything, can be covered under your plan.

Can I sue if something goes wrong during my procedure?

While in the United States it is relatively easy to sue for medical malpractice, doing so for a procedure in another country is not so simple. Differing laws and red tape make suing a provider in another country impractical in all but extreme cases of neglect or wrongdoing. This is why it's extremely important to fully research any facility where you plan to receive healthcare, to make sure you will receive the best care possible. 

Who is most likely to travel for medical tourism?

While anyone can travel to another country for healthcare, the most likely to travel abroad for medical purposes are older women and people who do not have insurance or whose benefits do not provide enough coverage for the healthcare needed.

Is receiving healthcare in another country safe?

The idea that receiving healthcare in another country is unsafe generally stems from a lack of knowledge or understanding of different cultures. While no medical procedure anywhere is 100 percent safe, medical advancements are not exclusive to the United States. In fact, bigger hospitals in Asia and Southeast Asia actually have lower morbidity rates than seen in the United States, especially when it comes to cardiac and orthopedic surgery.

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