What is Medical Tourism?
Medical tourism is the act of traveling outside of your home country in order to seek medical treatment. These travelers are referred to as medical tourists. These individuals may be wanting to travel out of the country for procedures for many different reasons, but the most common reasons are that the procedures can be performed for a lower cost and without typical delays or waiting lists. Patients may also decide to travel out of the country for procedures, as it may not be offered where they reside.
Medical tourism provides a viable solution for many different patients that may otherwise be facing difficult hurdles for completing a medical procedure, including the rise of healthcare costs or a lack of health insurance. On top of providing the opportunity to have access to high-quality specialists and facilities outside of the United States/Canada, medical tourism also offers the patient the opportunity to travel somewhere they may not have been before.
Medical Tourism Procedures
Every year, millions of patients from the United States/Canada travel to another country to receive medical care and procedures. These people most commonly travel to Mexico and Central America, as these two countries are the closest. Common procedures include dental care, cosmetic surgery, orthopedic procedures, dermatological treatments, and fertility treatments. However, there are many different types of procedures that can be offered. These may depend on the area that you are interested in traveling to. If you have a specific request, speaking with a certified medical tourism travel agent can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision regarding where to receive your care.
Are There Risks That Come with Medical Tourism?
As with any medical procedure, there will always be some amount of risk. However, doing your due diligence, as well as working with a professional medical tourism agent, can help to provide you with a streamlined experience. Failing to research, not speaking with healthcare professionals prior, and failure to follow guidelines can increase your own individual level of risk. Without prior consultation, you may be exposed to poorly trained surgeons, a low quality facility, or poorly trained staff. While doing your own independent research can be overwhelming, Healthcare Adventures has already done the legwork for you.
What is a Medical Tourism Agency?
Medical tourism agencies act as a guide for medical tourists, providing pertinent information, scheduling visits, and undertaking travel plans. Traveling for medical care, especially for first time medical travelers, can be overwhelming and complex. Due to all the complexities of this process, many individuals seek outside guidance for assistance coordinating their care outside of the United States/Canada.
How Do I Choose a Medical Tourism Agency?
While they can help many medical travelers find convenient medical care, not all medical tourism agencies ar
e created equal. You will want to meet and discuss with the medical tourism agency you are interested in to determine if they offer everything that you are seeking. They should offer you:
- General Information. Those working in medical tourism generally have many years of experience in the industry. Consultations can be scheduled where you can receive information to help address any concerns or questions you may have about the traveling process. Information may also include questions about your insurance, where you will stay, and if you will need to travel again for any secondary care. You will want to work with a medical tourism agency that presents this information to you easily, acts as a friendly guide, and is happy to answer any of your questions.
- Medical Center Information. Working with a medical tourism agency will ensure that you will not just be popping into a random medical center that you are unfamiliar with. You will want to work with a medical tourism agency that does their due diligence to become well-informed on the medical centers/providers that they work with, in order to provide you with a more comfortable experience with properly trained physicians and high-quality care. They should be equipped to answer any questions you may have about the center you would be visiting, as well as the doctors who would perform your procedure.
- Logistics Coordination. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when seeking out medical care in a different country is dealing with travel arrangements, documentation, and even required permits. This can be off-putting to medical travelers, but a proper medical tourism agency should help to alleviate this burden. They may help you with arrangements regarding your hotel, transportation, and guide you through any documents you need to fill out or bring.
Medical Tourism Benefits
Millions of individuals benefit from medical tourism every year. Speaking with your healthcare team, as well as a professional medical tourism agency, can provide you with the information you need to give you the results that you are looking for. Among the many reasons that a person may choose to have a medical procedure abroad, some common reasons include:
- Lower Costs. Medical tourists may find that they are able to save a massive amount in medical bills by choosing to have a procedure in another country. This is due to a few different reasons. One reason is that the United States has a higher cost of medication and diagnostic testing than other countries. Hospital stays are generally more affordable for people in other countries when compared to the United States. This includes hospital meals, testing, and rehabilitation services. The cost of the labor is lower in other countries, resulting in a lower overall cost for patients as compared to in the United States. Even if you do not have insurance, the lowered costs can still be quite large.
- Access to Quality Care. Medical tourism provides an affordable option for those that are seeking procedures in their time frame and still want to maintain a high level of care. A medical tourism agency can help to ensure that you have access to high-quality facilities and professionally trained staff that have been personally vetted by their team.
- Insurance Incentives. While many insurance companies and policy plans can vary on individual coverage, many insurance companies have started to promote safe medical tourism by offering insurance incentives. These incentives are often in the form of medical discounts, such as lowered medical bills. Calling your insurance provider can help to provide you with more information on your coverage, as some insurance companies only provide coverage for out of country emergencies.
- Private Luxury. In other countries, medical tourism is a booming industry as the money is typically reinvested back into the local economy. This means that these countries are able to create more spa-like experiences for you, giving you an opportunity to be pampered. Patients are often offered larger, more accessible rooms and advanced services to help make their stay more comfortable. This may include a private suite, one-on-one care, and advanced rehab services.
- Talented Surgeons. Many other countries are known for their different areas of expertise, as well as providing medical tourists with access to talented surgeons. This may come as a surprise to many medical tourists, as they may not be educated on the requirements to become a surgeon in other countries. However, many surgeons and physicians have been trained in the United States or went through an English-speaking residency program before returning back to their own country. Even if they did not travel to the United States for their education, these surgeons still need to go through a strict certification process.
- Vacation. We all deserve a vacation from time to time! So, why not have one alongside your procedure? You can take advantage of your stay in another country by scheduling vacation time before or after your procedure, allowing you to have time to sightsee, try the local cuisine, and learn about the culture. However, it is important to note that you may have instructions given to you by your healthcare team for before and after your procedure. Even though it may be tempting to stray from these guidelines, doing so could jeopardize your health. Always make sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations closely.
Is Medical Tourism Right for Me?
Medical tourism is a great way to experience a new country, as well as receive quality healthcare procedures from trained professionals without breaking the bank. However, medical tourism may not be right for everyone. It is important to speak with your healthcare team, as well as a professional medical tourism agency, to provide you with all of the information you need to reap the benefits of affordable care options abroad.
Healthcare Adventures is an experienced team of agents that is dedicated to providing you with quality affordable healthcare, as part of your medical vacation. Individualized care is at the forefront of every decision we make, ensuring that all of your questions and concerns are addressed during the process. The worry of finding accommodations, preparing documentation, obtaining permits, and scheduling flights is left up to our trained team. We understand the importance of finding talented surgeons and high-quality care facilities, utilizing our network of healthcare affiliations to make your overseas medical experience comfortable and worthwhile. Call our team today to set up an initial consultation!