There are lots of different reasons to travel. Some people will travel to enjoy a world-class destination with their time off; others travel to reunite with family or friends; and some people even travel to help others. It’s also becoming increasingly popular for people to travel abroad for medical care. This trend, known as medical tourism in the travel community, is becoming more and more popular as people in some very wealthy countries are beginning to look beyond their own borders for medical care. If you or someone you know is considering travelling abroad for healthcare reasons, here are some things that you need to know.
Why You Should Travel Abroad for Medical Care
Medical Tourism Can Be Cheaper
There are some excellent doctors and medical facilities in many of the world’s wealthy countries. The trouble is, healthcare costs a lot in these countries. This is especially true in the United States, where high healthcare costs have been attributed to things like high administrative salaries and poor waste management.
Not so for some countries in Asia or Central America, where many people are turning to for less expensive medical care. Since the cost of living in these countries is much lower than places like the United States or Canada, where many medical tourists hail from, doctors and healthcare facilities are able to charge much lower prices for their services. While the prices are high for locals, they can be relatively cheap for foreigners compared to the cost of healthcare in their home countries. This is especially true for people seeking forms of medical care that aren’t always covered well by health insurance, such as gender transition.
The Quality of Care Is Still High
Many people shy away from medical tourism because they are afraid of receiving subpar treatment for their health problems. However, the fact of the matter is that there are many highly qualified doctors overseas who can offer excellent care at a much lower price.
Many countries that are popular destinations for medical tourism have an unfair reputation for shady clinics operated by back alley surgeons who work in unsanitary conditions. The reason for this stereotype is that many of these countries don’t have the same rigorous requirements for practicing medicine that wealthier countries have. However, this only means that the floor for medical care quality is lower. There is nothing that prevents good doctors from practicing at the very height of their craft.
When searching for a doctor abroad, it’s more important than ever that you do your research; and seek out the opinions of their past patients. Once you confirm that they hold their medical practice to a high standard; you can feel certain that you will receive high-quality care.
If you’re getting surgery that has any kind of recovery, then you’re probably not looking forward to that time. Recovering can be boring, no matter what the restrictions are on your movement and lifestyle. By turning your post-operative period into a vacation, you can make sure that you’re staying relaxed while you’re recovering without boring yourself to tears. Many medical tourism destinations are located in regions with rich culture and history, such as Thailand and Mexico. These countries are prime tourist destinations in their own right. So you don’t have to compromise on the quality of your vacation just to travel abroad for medical care.
You Don’t Have to Deal With Insurance
Typically, health insurance will only cover medical services that are distributed in the insurance provider’s own country. So, for example, American insurance companies will only cover treatments received in America. It is possible to buy a special health insurance policy made specifically for traveling. But these policies are typically intended to cover emergencies more than premeditated medical procedures.
You might think that this would be a mark against medical tourism, but it actually isn’t. Given poor medical insurance coverage in the United States, the cost of treatment abroad can still be better than staying home, even if insurance is helping. If you travel abroad for medical care, you also don’t have to worry about dealing with your health insurance. Remember that insurance companies would prefer not to cover any of your treatments. So they may try to fight you tooth and nail on the bill. By going abroad, you can avoid all of this stress, letting you relax and focus on your health.
You Can Disguise Medical Treatment as a Vacation
Let’s face it: Medical treatment can be embarrassing at times. Whether you’re getting treatment in a region of your body that you’d rather not talk about; or the procedures you’re getting reveal an embarrassing condition that you’d rather not talk about. If you receive your treatment at home, then you risk lots of prying questions from friends and co-workers who just don’t know when to quit. When you travel abroad for medical care, you can make your embarrassing medical situation look like a perfectly ordinary vacation. When your friends ask you why you’re looking so much better after you got back? You can just say that your vacation really helped you relax and re-energize!