In some industrialized nations that have free market health care, particularly in the United States, it can be extremely expensive to get specific treatments. In nations that regulate health care, some procedures simply cannot be done in a reasonable amount of time. Some of these procedures are cosmetic in nature, while others are very much required. That has given rise to the medical tourism industry.
Medical Tourism Industry Facts
Americans can save up to 90% on the cost of a medical treatment by going overseas.
Are medical treatments of the same quality overseas as they are in an industrialized country? Possibly, but possibly not. For people that need these procedures completed or can’t afford a cosmetic procedure in their home country, however, there are not many options available. This industry may be relatively new, but it is growing rapidly in some locations.
3 Essential Facts
1. Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand are seeing strong growth in this industry because of government support.
2. The industry has transitioned from competition in price to competition in quality.
3. The industry in Costa Rica has support from American hospitals and medical institutions.
Takeaway: It can be scary to go somewhere new and get a medical procedure done. Visions of dirty offices and unsanitized medical equipment float around and make people debate the merits of traveling overseas for a medical procedure. With American influence growing in key locations, such as Costa Rica, where a savings of up to 65% on a procedure can be had, it is becoming more common to take a medical vacation.
Additional Industry Statistics
1. The global value of medical tourism was listed at over $10 billion in 2012.
2. By 2017, over 15 million Americans are expected to travel overseas each year to have at least one medical procedure completed.
3. 88% of people have said they would travel outside of their community or country to receive medical care if outcomes were equal or better with even no change in price.
4. Hispanic men are the most willing demographic to consider an overseas medical procedure.
5. The average weighted procedure cost in the United States is over $10,000. In comparison, the same weighted procedure cost outside of the US is less than $1,500.
6. By 2017, U.S. spending on medical procedures overseas could reach as high as $80 billion.
Takeaway: With health care costs continuing to rise and wait times sometimes too long for a serious illness, overseas medical treatment is a forced option. Even with the Affordable Care Act providing more insurance options, costs continue to rise. When weighted costs are less than 20% of the American cost in medical tourism locations, it is easy to understand why more opportunities exist in this industry, especially in locations that receive government support for it.