Pros and Cons of Medical Tourism


Medical tourism is becoming more and more popular among US citizens, particularly seniors. The high cost of medication in the US is one of the major reasons. Medical tourism can be extremely beneficial in more ways than one. However, there are certain downsides of medical tourism that cannot be ignored. Find the pros and cons of medical tourism enlisted below.


What are the benefits of medical tourism?

For older Americans, the biggest advantage of health tourism is that you not only get to explore an exotic destination but are also able to reap big monetary savings. In some cases, medical tour operators may also offer you post-recovery stay packages at discounted rates! Some of the other benefits of health tourism include:

  • Significantly cheaper costs: Cost savings in medical consultancy or surgeries is one of the prime advantages of medical tourism. Even with state-of-the-art infrastructure, expert doctors and world-class services, the figures on the price tags of treatments in medical tourism destinations turn out to be a fraction of what it would be in the US. For example, costs of major treatments in the US can easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, while the same procedure in a country like Thailand or India could be settled in as little as a tenth of that. The difference in costs is not due to lack of quality, but because a significant amount of health care costs in the U.S. are occupied by the insurance and administrative costs.
  • On-Time treatments: another reason why medical tourism works is the possibility of getting immediate medical attention rather than spending days or weeks in long waits.
  • Quality Health Care: Almost all medical tourism destinations have well-trained doctors and paramedics who feature among the best in the world. Many of these professionals have been, in fact, trained in the US prior to working in these countries.
  • Personalized Care: More often than not, you’ll find better quality and personalized care abroad for critically ill or older Americans.
  • World-class equipments and facilities: Because medical tourism is such a big industry and has become a major source of revenue for many countries, health clinics and hospitals are making huge investments in infrastructure and technology to help them draw and retain more patients. Some hospitals have even gained popularity worldwide as world class medical research facilities. In fact, many hospitals in medical tourism destination countries have collaborated with famous hospitals and health centers in the US.
  • Easy availability of medicine & drugs: Certified drugs and medicines are easily available in these destinations, at comparatively lower prices.

Are there any downsides of medical tourism?

Although global healthcare procedures in most of the low-cost destinations may seem very appealing and budget-friendly to you, medical tourism doesn’t come without its fair share of downsides:

  • Once you’ve zeroed down upon the country where you’re going to get treated, you need to begin preparing for the trip. International travel laws vary from country to country so you need to do your homework regarding document requirement, visa application, flight and hotel booking and packing.
  • US Government and medical insurance plans in most cases do not provide coverage on medical procedures done abroad, which means you are going to pay out of your own pocket!
  • Some countries may not offer substantial post-treatment care. After treatment, you are likely to stay in the hospital for only a few days, and then you either go on the vacation (if this was part of your medical tourism package) or return home.
  • Once the procedures are done and you’re back in the US, any side-effects, complications or post-operative care are then the responsibility of the US medical care system.