Is Medical Tourism the Next Big Thing?
It is no secret that healthcare in the United States has room for improvement in a lot of ways. Currently spending in healthcare is at an all time high with mediocre quality results. This high cost and mediocre quality has people traveling for their healthcare, commonly referred to as medical tourism. Many are discovering that they can receive high quality care in foreign countries for fractions of the price in the United States.
Many consumers are going to other countries for things like elective surgeries, non emergent surgeries, and dental work. Many of these are not covered by health insurance and are expensive, but in other countries, these procedures can be as much as 10 times cheaper.
Medical tourism does come with risk and thorough investigation of the physician and surgical center/physician office is critical. There are still lots of horror stories of botched surgeries coming from abroad and patients need to make sure they do their due diligence.
Another big important distinction between US healthcare and that of other countries is price transparency. Other countries can provide an exact cost for a procedure or surgery, to include all professional and center fees. In the US, it is incredibly difficult to find one solid price - many times each physician charges separately and that does not include fees for surgical center and assisting staff. There are also many negotiated rates for insurances and no insurance pays the same as another.
Even this month, Senator Rand Paul said that he was going to Canada for hernia surgery, rather than getting the operation in the United States. His rationale was that he could find out the exact cost of his surgery in Canada and it was at a discount compared to the average price in the US. Medical tourism is going to be a continuing trend and something to keep an eye on in the future.