Medical tourism is becoming a booming industry as health care service and insurance costs continue to rise. To make things worse, unscrupulous health care, pharmaceutical and medical technology companies continue to dominate, control and monopolize industries that offer limited benefits, high prices and long wait times. Here are five of the most popular destinations for medically motivated tourists.
America’s neighbor to the South actually treats around one million foreign patients a year. Most of these patients are native expats and Hispanics from states like California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico returning home for medical care.
However, Mexico’s standard of living continues to grow alongside improved tourism support and medical infrastructure. Now, many clinics and hospitals can treat foreign patients because a growing number of the medical staff is bilingual or natives returning to contribute to their homeland.
While dental work and weight-loss surgery are popular in Mexico, Brazil has a reputation for the best and cheapest plastic surgery. There are more professional cosmetic surgeons in Brazil than any other country in the world.
China is becoming a popular destination for stem-cell related medical research and operations, but Taiwan is much more westernized and friendly to American tourists. Taiwan has a high number of skilled and qualified doctors who provide surgical, cosmetic and even spa treatment at low costs.
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Traveling to Taiwan is very easy because the tourist visa process is user-friendly, which cannot be said for communist China. Taiwan is globally connected to all major airports in the world. As an Asian island alternative, Singapore is the most advanced country in Asia. They specialize in every major medical treatment. Keep in mind that the Singaporean government is quite strict – spitting in public and selling chewing chum are illegal.
People often joke about customer service being outsourced to India, but now medical treatments are being outsourced to the country that offers inexpensive solutions for high-difficulty surgeries. Every year, the Indian economy earns billions of dollars from medical-based tourism. India is known for specializing in eye, spine and heart bypass surgeries. Cardiac, fertility, orthopedic and oncology treatments are also popular. Many patients come from neighboring countries with less developed health care systems. Western medical tourists may end up saving 70 to 90 percent of costs. Health care in India is now more accessible because the government offers visa-free travel for tourists from English speaking countries.
The land of smiles is one of the world’s leading destinations for medical tourism, but it has always been one of the leading destinations for regular tourism in Asia and the world. Most medical procedures in Thailand will cost 50 to 70 less. Thailand has over 1,000 hospitals, so it makes sense that over a million medical tourists visit here every year. Many people also travel to Thailand for plastic and cosmetic surgery, so Thailand competes with Brazil in this way. Medical infrastructure is improving and most medical staff speak English and have been educated in an English speaking country like Singapore.
Lastly, Turkey has become a popular destination among medical tourists because they have the most American-accredited hospitals in the region. Explore more of the top medical tourism destinations here.