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The Top 10 Best Locations for Medical Tourism

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Issue 150, Issues | 0 comments

In the face of rising healthcare costs in the U.S. and the rise of health tourism destinations that offer quality and affordable healthcare combined with a fun travel experience,...

In the face of rising healthcare costs in the U.S. and the rise of health tourism destinations that offer quality and affordable healthcare combined with a fun travel experience, Americans are scrambling to schedule appointments with healthcare providers overseas. 

There is an increase in medical tourism, and many countries worldwide are getting involved.. Millions of patients travel yearly from countries lacking the necessary medical infrastructure or less advanced in a particular field to countries specializing in specific medical care such as Asia, South Africa and Eastern Europe. 

In order to attract foreign visitors, agencies are being set up to promote less expensive health care. In these countries, procedures that usually cost six figures in the U.S. or the U.K. drop down to four figures. 

Patients travel to foreign countries for various medical procedures, from cosmetic surgery to dental work to orthopedic procedures, all at affordable prices. However, healthcare destinations and providers face fierce competition, making it necessary to integrate several factors to drive medical tourism and improve their brand. 

So, what are the best countries to get that expensive surgery, the routine checkup, or the plastic surgery makeover?

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul has the highest rate of cosmetic treatment per capita in the world. Gangnam alone is home to some 500 cosmetic and aesthetic facilities offering a variety of surgical procedures. In addition to non-invasive cosmetic procedures, South Korea leads the way with non-invasive strategies such as BOTOX, dermal fillers, laser hair removal and dental veneers. 

Japan

Japanese healthcare is among the most advanced in the world. Despite recent advances in technology and medicine, Japan continues to provide affordable, top-notch healthcare to its citizens and foreign tourists, most of whom are from mainland China.

In 2018, the number of medical visas issued to international patients climbed from 70 in 2011 to 1,650 in 2018. The reason for this increase was the country’s top-notch cancer treatment centers and cosmetic surgery expertise.

The low cost of medical care is another major player in Japan’s inbound medical tourism. For example, hip replacement surgery costs $4,126, saving patients more than 70% of the cost in the U.S.

Spain

Spain is one of the most visited tourist destinations globally, attracting tens of millions of tourists every year. MTI rated the country as the fourth global medical tourist destination in Europe because it offers excellent healthcare services and a wonderful travel experience.

In recent years, Spain has attracted a growing number of tourists from the Middle East, North Africa and the British Isles, many of whom seek advanced orthopedic, cosmetic and dental procedures. The cost of healthcare in Spain is a fraction of what it is in the U.S. and U.K. Cosmetic procedures such as facelifts and breast augmentation cost an average of $5,000 in Spain, compared to $15,000 in the U.S.

Mumbai, India

Mumbai is India’s most progressive urban center, offering exceptional medical care at eye-popping discounts. Almost one in seven U.S. surgeons are of Indian descent, so Americans realize that they can save real money by visiting Mumbai’s top doctors without compromising the quality of care. Mumbai has some of the world’s top orthopedic and heart specialists.

Canada

It should come as no surprise that Canada ranks first in the 2020 edition of the Medical Tourism Index since the second-largest country in the world boasts of a robust tourism industry that draws more than 14 million Americans each year. In light of its proximity to the United States, the country can attract many tourists and patients seeking to bypass the long wait times and high healthcare costs at home. Quality medical treatments and top-of-the-line healthcare facilities are among Canada’s top reputations.

Mexico

Because of Mexico’s proximity to the United States and extensive cross-over in medical training, its standards of care often meet those back home at a lower cost. There are quality hospitals in every major city in Mexico.

Additionally, Mexico’s focus is also on dentistry. For instance, numerous dental practices along the U.S.-Mexico border receive countless patients a year from the States.

Costa Rica

As with Mexico, Costa Rica is one of the region’s most developed and expat-friendly countries. In addition to the fact that it is one of the safest and most popular retirement destinations, it uses the U.S. dollar and offers excellent options for medical tourists.

Costa Rica’s dental tourism industry is booming, where you can expect to pay $4,000 for a tooth replacement procedure that would cost $10,000 in the U.S.

Dubai

According to the Medical Tourism Index, Dubai’s world-class hospitals and internationally acclaimed doctors ranked as the top medical destination in the Arab region. In addition to Asian and neighboring Arab and Gulf countries, Dubai also welcomes medical tourism from Europe and Africa.

As part of Dubai’s medical tourism brand, Dubai Health Experience (DHX) was launched in 2018 to enhance healthcare facilities and improve patient experience through international patient departments.

Turkey

The medical tourism sector in Turkey, situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, is growing. You will find world-class health treatment centers in Turkey, as well as spas, dentists and cosmetic surgeons.

Turkey is also known for its eye health specialists, where the most expensive ocular procedure costs only $5,000.

Singapore

Since Singapore is one of the wealthiest cities in Asia, it’s not surprising that medical tourism has surged here. With world-class hospitals and highly trained medical staff, Singapore attracts medical tourists who seek quality healthcare at lower prices.

Singapore’s medical tourism industry has been snowballing because medical costs are much less expensive than in the U.S., with prices about 30% lower for major medical procedures.

A Parting Reminder

With medical tourism growing every year, more medical tourists realize that they can get the same medical treatment abroad at a much lower cost. And as medical tourism continues to grow and increase its supply, there is no doubt that medical tourists will become more discerning with their healthcare needs, industry transparency and quality of medical providers.

Kathleen Hernandez

Kathleen Hernandez

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