Medical tourism is no news for quite some time now. The number of people traveling for benefitting treatment has been rising by billions every year.
Both professionals in the industry and patients benefit from medical tourism, but some categories are choosing medical tourism more often than others.
Here are the main categories of people who seek healthcare abroad:
1. Pensioners and retirees
It’s common for the healthcare covered by the government not to include pricey and special surgeries, according to hss.edu. The risk for the elderly to deal with chronic healthcare problems such as diabetes, heart diseases, or kidney conditions is higher. The life span increased over the last years, and people get to live longer. For instance, in 2012, almost 360,000 retired workers were benefiting medical care outside the US, which is a 20% increase compared to 2007.
Medical tourism is an affordable choice for patients who can still travel, as transportation services are widely available at airports.
2. Patients that need procedures that aren’t yet legal in their home country
Regulations on procedures, medications, and even innovative technologies differ from one country to another. For example, the FDA didn’t approve stem cell and hip resurfacing, but only for cancer, some vascular illnesses, and kidney diseases in the US. Specific stem cell treatments have obtained approval in many countries, but it’s not the same for the US.
Let’s take Spain and Mexico, where fertility treatments are banned. People turn to medical tourism for treatments of this kind.
Should you look for stem cell treatment, you need to travel to Austria, Germany, Portugal, and Ireland. In the case of fertility treatments in luxury facilities, Thailand and Mexico are popular destinations.
3. Patients interested in alternative therapies
People have been interested in alternative therapies for quite some time, but not all methods are widely available. Naturopathy, homeopathy, ayurvedic treatments, and many more are available in alternative healing centers in various parts of the world.
For instance, on the Pacific coast, you can find the Holistic Sanctuary, where you can benefit from meditation, yoga, or Ayahuasca. Should you need Ibogaine for healing your addiction, this center provides it too. The list of therapies is very long, and it includes HBOT therapy, cryotherapy, sensory deprivation tank, stem cell therapy, and Telomere repair. On top of everything else, patients get to switch to organic and non-GMO food, which is fundamental for healing any disease.
To clear things out, Ayahuasca is an ancient remedy used by older adults in the Amazonian rain forest. But you don’t just take it; you need to take it under professional supervision, throughout a ceremony conducted by an experienced shaman. It’s something almost impossible to get within the US, and several studies have already revealed the benefits of Ayahuasca.
4. Patients who want cosmetic& non-essential procedures
It’s common for people from western countries to travel to small countries for medical procedures such as cosmetic surgeries. It’s cheaper, and even people with low income can afford this sort of methods outside their home country.
Breast enhancement, facelift, and reconstructive surgery are only some to name. South Korea, Brazil, and Thailand ensure cosmetic treatment at up to 60% lower rates than the US. It seems that 33% of medical tourists travel outside their country to have cosmetic surgery.
5. Patients with inadequate insurance or no insurance at all
More often than not, the elective procedures aren’t covered by insurance policies. It’s because elective procedures are planned months and aren’t defined as medical emergencies.
Therefore, most of the patients without insurance will need to handle all the spending. It’s also the case of insured patients that need to cover the expenses for elective surgeries and “pre-existing” illnesses such as cancer.
In several countries, medical treatments such as breast augmentation, laser surgery, or liposuction aren’t covered under insurance. Therefore spending is very high. The uninsured or underinsured patients would rather have the operations/procedures in different countries, as medical tourism becomes the most affordable choice.
6. Patients who want to keep the procedure a secret
When someone wants a new nose, traveling abroad is the perfect solution for subtly solving the problem. India, Thailand, or Brazil are very open to medical tourism, attracting people from all over the world. The procedure for gender reassignment is a popular one, and many patients want to keep it a secret at first.
Distance is an impressive advantage of medical tourism as a foreign country will ensure complete privacy, allowing the patient to benefit treatment without anyone knowing it.
7. Patients looking for both treatment and fun
Patients traveling abroad may also be looking for a place to enjoy, not only for addressing various health conditions. The astonishing view on the Pacific coast, the sunsets, the beaches, and the mountains attract patients, providing the best and most peaceful environment for healing.
Brazil, Costa Rica, Cayman Islands, or Brazil are well known for the postoperative recovery possibilities. A country attracting tourists for both medical treatment and recreational activities is always a popular destination.
Anyone searching for an extended vacation and medical treatment can combine the two in just one holiday, reducing the travel costs and enjoying the culture and attractions of his/her destination, while undergoing treatment.
The direct and indirect advantages of medical tourism are numerous. Not only that, the patients benefit fantastic quality health care for excellent prices, but the hospitals and alternative healing facilities can also turn the medical tourism into their primary focus for the business.
8. Patients requiring personalized care
Long time treatments can be costly, but it’s not the case for the medically friendly countries. Patients interested in customized care who benefits therapy for a long time would instead seek treatment in developing countries. The locations provide postoperative care, numerous healing sessions, and healthy diets. They also enjoy professional supervision 24/7.
Medical tourists coming from another country are treated with impressive care and attention, benefitting customized plans. The facilities rely on their reputation, so there aren’t made any compromises when it comes to amenities, the number of staff members, and a variety of methods.