Much attention has been fixed on the potential needs of the "baby boomer generation" which will be reaching its maturity in about the year 2013. Baby boomers are those described as having been born between 1946 and 1964, considered to be the largest generation in decades. Healthcare providers around the world concerned about the ability of current healthcare systems to take care of their medical needs.
Baby boomers are likely to face a multitude of health and medical issues, the most common including:
Orthopedic - hip and knee problems
Obesity - weight related conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke
Preventive care and maintenance - cancer screening, mammograms, diagnostic testing
Anti aging issues - cosmetic and plastic surgery, anti aging and aging maintenance
Mental health - stress management, depression
Health Care Providers Face Growing Demands
Baby boomers are naturally concerned about the availability of healthcare services in the future. Rising healthcare costs, longer wait times, higher deductibles, and an increasing number of physicians hesitant to add new patients to their already overburdened patient rosters leave many seniors facing a health care dilemma. Health care providers are already overwhelmed by the demands of today's consumers, and face shortages in nursing, general practice physicians and service providers not only in the United States, but around the world.
Large parts of elderly populations around the world don't seek medical care because they are either uncovered by medical insurance or there are not enough service providers to provide for their growing and sometimes complex needs. However, the health and wellness tourism industry is an option available to seniors today and well into the future.
Health and Wellness Tourism
Health and wellness tourism is a growing trend in the medical and health care industry, as it offers individuals choices and options regarding quality and affordable care in a variety of international destinations around the world.
International medical care has become nearly synonymous with vacation travel to many state-of- the-art, world-class, and famous tourist destinations around the world. Formerly limited traditional medical destinations such as India, Thailand and Singapore have blossomed with growth in the 21st century with newer, high-tech, and world-class facilities located in destinations from the Ukraine, Turkey, and Jordan, to South Africa, the Mediterranean, Switzerland, South America, and new Asian destinations such as South Korea, Japan, and Malaysia.
Baby boomers traveling to international destinations may save tens of thousands of dollars on the same treatments performed in the U.S., Canada and Britain, while it the same time receiving state of the art, high-tech and qualified care. For example, single heart bypass surgery, depending on severity, may cost an average of $25,000 to $40,000 in the United States, while an individual traveling to destinations such as India may receive such care for approximately $10,000. A knee replacement in the United States may cost 35,000 to $40,000 per knee, while knee replacement surgeries and procedures in destinations such as Costa Rica, charge 1/4 to 1/2 same price, all the while providing certified, accredited, state of the art equipment and experienced and highly trained surgeons, and high-tech facilities.
As baby boomers face retirement and increasing health costs, they're looking for affordable and timely healthcare options. Nearly 150,000 Americans traveled abroad in 2007 for international medical care, and numbers drastically increased throughout 2008 and 2009. According to the Medical Tourism Association, an estimated 23 million Americans alone will travel overseas for their medical care by the year 2017, with expenditures of nearly $80 billion dollars. The numbers of Britons, Canadians, and Middle Eastern citizens of countries such as Iran and Iraq, as well as Afrikaans, are seeking international medical destinations in Turkey, the Ukraine, India, and Thailand for affordable and quality medical care.
Anticipating a dilemma and growing dissatisfaction by consumers in the ability to provide adequate and quality health care to millions of aging Americans, a growing number of health insurance companies in the United States are offering Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHP) and benefits enabling policyholders to travel to foreign destinations for their medical care in the hopes of relieving the burden on domestic health care. Medical tourism is the wave of the future, and the health and wellness tourism industry is able to meet the challenges of growing numbers of seniors seeking medical care in a multitude of fields.
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