Need a new knee but can’t afford the cost? No worries. If you are living in America, you have many friends in your cohort. As insurance coverage gets ever more murky in a medical system built around the corporate share holders rather than the patients, an ever growing niche in medical tourism is taking notice and taking the business to new places.
When comparing the cost and quality of doctors and hospitals abroad to find the best options for care in the U.S. a new poll by the Medical Tourism Association, a membership-based international nonprofit trade organization and think-tank for the medical tourism and healthcare industries, shows more patients than ever are considering their options for medical care overseas.
The great majority of patients polled admitted contemplating medical tourism opportunities for orthopedic surgery — including hip and knee replacements. These procedures garnered twice as much interest, compared to consumers who were seeking implant, cardiovascular, oncology and ophthalmology, according to the 2015 Medical Tourism Survey.
“Cost and quality concerns including doctor shortages, hidden fees and poor coordinated care continue to move patients to consider medical care beyond their traditional boundaries,” said Renée-Marie Stephano, President of the Medical Tourism Association. “As these issues become priorities, healthcare systems – in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Europe – are stepping up to satisfy the needs of patients who have ‘can-do’ attitudes about their health and well-being.”
The 2015 Medical Tourism Survey also found, that despite the best intentions of the Affordable Care Act to increase the ranks of insured Americans, 65 percent of the respondents who traveled for medical treatment did not have health coverage.
Among the findings of the 2015 Medical Tourism Survey:
- 69 percent of respondents expressed an interest in travelling overseas of healthcare purposes
- Cosmetic, dental and orthopedic were procedures most in demand
- Mexico and Costa Rica were among leading destinations of choice
And savings from $4,900-$8,600 were enough of an influence to spur a decision to travel for healthcare.