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Medical Tourism — Traveling for Timely Medical Care

Medical Tourism

…is the term which generally refers to patients who travel abroad for medical care. The biggest reason for medical tourism is cost savings. Sometimes patients in countries with government controlled health plans travel abroad because they cannot get timely medical care in their home country due to medical or surgical waiting lists.

Deloitte has produced two different studies on medical tourism. In the first, they predict that by the year 2017 between $228 billion and $599.b billion per year of medical care will leave the US and be performed abroad. In another study, Deloitte predicts that medical tourism will grow at a rate of 35% per year.

Medical tourism facilitators often charge a percentage of the procedure. This percentage is usually between 20% and 40%, but can be as high as 300%. Often the medical tourism facilitator earns more than the surgeon. Medical tourism facilitators often compare US prices to overseas prices, claiming that by having the procedure performed overseas, patients can save up to 75%.

Overseas facilities can save patients a lot of money on medical care, however these savings are sometimes eroded by large kickbacks paid to medical tourism facilitators. Overseas facilities often look like 7-star resorts, and you can make your medical care a medical vacation for you and your family. Overseas facilities can sometimes offer procedures not available in your home country, and their surgeons are usually US or UK board certified, which means they have met the same standards as back home. Overseas facilities are also often JCI certified, meaning the hospital has met rigorous standards similar to those in the US. Overseas medical facilities usually have lower overhead since they often do not have to bill multiple third party payers based on different pay schedules, and they are usually not exposed to malpractice risks and costs.

MediBid has found many doctors, hospitals, and surgery centers in the US that operate efficiently and are willing to pass these savings on to patients. Often these doctors and facilities have rates that are 75% lower than the rates that billed to insurance companies. This is known as domestic medical tourism, and often these hospitals can compete head to head with overseas facilities. Often you can save by shopping for health care across state lines. Having overseas hospitals and domestic hospitals compete head to head on the same portal means that YOU will save more money.

Medical Tourism occurs both globally and domestically. At the end of the day, it’s about competition and choice in health care.

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