Long gone are the days when people scoffed at receiving dental or medical treatments in foreign destinations. Today, locations throughout Mexico, Latin America, Central Europe and Asia are drawing millions of international travelers for procedures, treatments, and surgeries that offer accredited and certified care while at the same time saving tens of thousands of dollars. Some of the most sought after and affordable medical destinations for individuals traveling for medical care choose facilities that are accredited and certified by international healthcare organizations such as the JCI (Joint Commissions International), WHO (World Health Organization), and other reputable hospital and medical service accreditation associations.
Medical care in foreign destinations often offers some of the most experienced, highly trained, and world-class facilities, equipment and technology, even more so than is found in the United States or Great Britain.
Rising healthcare costs, questions about long-term health insurance, long wait times and overall dissatisfaction with newly passed healthcare options in the United States prompts many individuals to travel across borders to international destinations for affordable and effective medical and dental care. Millions of people in the United States and around the world are uninsured, leaving them with fewer choices and options when it comes to medical care.
Who Are These Medical Travelers?
To date, the largest number of Americans traveling to foreign destinations for care are uninsured or underinsured, though many up and coming baby boomers will also be looking for affordable orthopedic care, chronic disease treatment care, and cancer care in foreign locations in the near future. Individuals unwilling to pay $100,000 in the United States for heart surgery when they can receive the same care in Thailand for $25,000 for the same surgery are voting with their feet and an airline ticket. As information and resources regarding medical care in foreign destinations reaches more individuals via such resources as PlacidWay, an international medical provider based in Denver, Colorado, the influx in international travel for medical and dental care is expected to grow.
In one year alone, over 400,000 international patients traveled to Bangkok, Thailand for medical care, while other destinations throughout the globe, including Croatia, the Ukraine, and South Africa, offer excellent and affordable destinations. Mexico, Latin America, India and other Asian medical providers are seeing a greater influx of travelers from not only the United States and Great Britain, but from Iraq, Nigeria, and other African and Middle Eastern countries.
In the United States, healthcare reform is underway, but many are wary and cautious. Americans are hoping for the best, but reduced services, budget cuts, and regulations will severely limit the ability of many individuals to receive the care they need without long wait times or jumping through multiple hoops, especially for the elderly. Because of such sweeping healthcare reform, international medical tourism markets are expecting an even greater flow of American travelers crossing borders for medical care in the next few years.
Some of the most popular procedures in medical and dental care across borders includes orthopedic and cosmetic surgical procedures, obesity and bariatric technologies, cosmetic and aesthetic dental treatments and procedures and a growing demand for alternative and complementary medical care options for treatment of chronic diseases, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
The Best in Medical Care Abroad
Locations in Mexico are becoming increasingly popular for Americans and Canadians traveling south of the border for excellent and experienced health and dental care. Inhabitants of cities in close proximity to Mexico such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Houston are among many that benefit from health insurance plans that allow and encourage cross border travel for medical care in Mexico. In recent years, more health insurance companies are offering clients cross border HMO policies, including Blue Shield and Health Net of California. Blue Shield of California's Access Baja policies have more than doubled in membership while Health Net of California is expanding its services.
In the meantime, dozens of foreign tourist destinations not only in Asia and Mexico, but in Hungary, Turkey, Croatia, South Africa, and Latin America continue to offer increased options and opportunities to global travelers seeking quality of care, the newest in technologies and procedures, and most importantly, affordable medical care to meet their specific needs.
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