According to a recent survey conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, based in Neenah, Wis., the practice of "medical tourism," traveling internationally for medical care – will explode over the next few years. The survey forecasts that the number of people turning to medical tourism will increase from 750,000 to 6 million by 2010.
The concept of medical tourism has been around for a number of years, however, escalating health-care costs in the United States have caused it to become more accepted and even favored by some employers and insurers, according to Patricia Look, a human resources benefits subject matter expert with J.J. Keller and Associates. J.J. Keller is a company that deals in risk and regulatory management.
Look says one of the biggest reasons medical tourism is seen as an attractive option is cost. Rising health-care costs can inhibit accessibility for the insured, but for the uninsured, medical tourism may offer the chance at a spectrum of procedures, from the medically necessary to the elective, she added.