Report Finds Medical Tourism Option Not Just for Wealthy Patients

Six Million People to Travel for Treatment by 2010

DALLAS (August 13, 2008) – Medical tourism is one of the fastest growing trends in Americans’ search for affordable, quality health care, according to an updated study  by National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Fellow Devon Herrick. The analysis [here] concludes that most major health insurers are now exploring the medical tourism market to determine whether, to cut costs, they should offer benefits for enrollees who travel.

Heart surgery, hip replacements and rhinoplasty are offered in countries such as India, Costa Rica, Turkey and Thailand for only a half to one-fifth of the cost in the U.S. In fact, cross-border travel for major medical procedures has evolved into a global phenomenon, according to Dr. Herrick. 

Even tests as simple as an MRI can involve long waits for patients relying on national health care in Europe or Canada where the cost is low but many patients face problems getting timely treatment.  So, in response to demand for high quality, accessibility and lower costs, nations once labeled “Third World” are meeting the growing demand by offering facilities and staff designed and trained to meet European and American standards, the study found.