The rising cost of healthcare in the United States has forced many people to travel to other countries to get healthcare services that they would otherwise be unable to afford. The medical tourism to these countries is expected to have a positive impact on them, bringing in an estimated $100 billion by the end of 2012, according to an article posted on NuWire Investor. NuWire has listed the top five medical tourism destinations in the world, which will be discussed below.
With medical care costs that are well below that of the United States, Panama is very attractive to those who are in need of medical procedures. The average procedure in Panama is between 40 and 70 percent below the cost of the United States. This is reported by the National Center for Policy Analysis in November, 2007. While the lower cost may not be as low as that of other countries, the cheap airfare and beautiful scenery is very attractive to travelers.
In recent years, travel to countries in South and Central America has become more risky than in previous years. Panama is very popular because it has largely become Americanized, particularly in the larger cities. In addition, Panama has negotiated a free trade agreement with the United States in 2006, independent of the Central America Free Trade Agreement.
People who are looking for a tourism destination that specializes in plastic surgery and elective cosmetic procedures should look into the industry in Brazil. This country made its mark in the industry more than 40 years ago, when plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguy opened his clinic outside Rio. Since that time, Brazil has come to be recognized as second in plastic surgery, behind the United States. Many of the hospitals in Brazil are accredited by the Joint Commission, just as in the United States.
This country offers a wide variety of procedures, ranging from dental procedures to heart surgeries. This country has seen a great increase in the amount of medical tourism over the past decade, and is expected to continue to grow in coming years. With deeply discounted prices on cardiac surgeries, a bypass surgery is estimated to cost less than $7,000, and in the United States the same procedure can cost over $100,000.
4. Costa Rica
People who are in need of dental work and elective plastic surgery procedures may elect to visit Costa Rica for their procedures. This is because Costa Rica is relatively easy to get to from the United States, and doesn’t require travel across an ocean. This destination is very attractive to patients because the costs are generally less than half the price of the United States.
Listed as the destination with the lowest costs and highest quality, India is attractive to many. In addition, many of the hospitals in India are accredited by the Joint Commission International, and are outfitted with the latest in medical technology. With the highly-skilled physicians and leading medical facilities, many people are choosing India for their orthopedic and heart surgeries. The reason this country is not the world leader in medical tourism is because of the distance people from the United States must travel in order to get to this country. Costs for surgical procedures in India are generally one-tenth that of the United States.
This top five list was compiled based not only on the terrific medical prices and quality of services provided, but for the investment opportunities in each of these countries. With regard to the ease of medical care due to language barriers, all of these countries have English-speaking staff and the language barrier was not a consideration.
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Heather Barnes is a public health director and guest author at Top 10 Medical Schools, where you can read her latest article about getting an online masters in public health degree.