People travel the world for a variety of different reasons. Some people travel for business. Other people travel for their education. And other people simply travel to see more of this gorgeous and interesting planet that we all share. However, one reason for traveling that is becoming increasing popular today is the growing resurgence of medical tourism. Although people have technically engaged in medical tourism for thousands of years, rising healthcare costs in many countries are causing many people to once again travel for their healthcare needs. If you’re curious about this phenomenon, here is some information about medical tourism…
What is medical tourism?
The concept of medical tourism is quite simple. It is merely the act of people traveling to another country for the sole purpose of utilizing the health care that is practiced there. However, the reasons behind medical tourism are not quite as cut-and-dry, as there are and have been varied reasons behind doing it throughout the history of its existence. For example, in the past, many people would engage in medical tourism to travel from a poorer country to a country with better medical infrastructure in place. However, today, the opposite has become just as true, with many people traveling to less-developed countries to escape the mounting healthcare costs that exist in much of the developed world.
Traveling for better costs
Today, a major aspect of medical tourism is citizens from First World countries traveling to less-developed nations because of the drastically lower healthcare costs. For example, healthcare costs in a country like India can be up to 90% cheaper than the United States. Even a highly technologically advanced country like South Korea can be up to 45% cheaper for a similar procedure. These price reductions can be enormous, especially when many healthcare procedures in the United States routinely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. While there might be differences in the quality of healthcare between nations, many consumers feel that the drop in quality is not significant enough to justify paying the higher costs.
Better healthcare systems
Originally, the reason for engaging in medical tourism was to travel to countries that had far superior medical professionals and systems in place. When people decide to do this, it is usually for a larger procedure that is a great importance to their quality of life. For this reason, many people travel the world for surgeries, or to treat unusual disorders that aren’t well-known in their country of origin. This sort of medical tourism usually involved people from less-developed countries migrating and traveling to developed First World countries.
One of the most pressing and major medical concerns that exist today is as much rooted in human behavior as other medical factors. This concern, of course, is addiction, which has become a global epidemic that causes mass mayhem, chaos, and death in the lives of millions of people around the world. However, each country has different systems in place for dealing with addiction recovery. This has led to many people who struggle with addictions to the most dangerous substances in the world, such as heroin and other opiates, to travel for their addiction recovery needs. For example, some addicts travel to Mexico to engage in ibogaine treatments (such as from places like this), which is a treatment that they cannot find in the United States.
Risks and concerns
When it comes to the modern incarnation of medical tourism, where citizens of First World countries frequently travel to another country to enjoy lower healthcare costs, or procedures that are not commonplace in their own country, there are many risks that are not always properly assessed by patients. People who engage in medical tourism are at much higher risk of suffering from a variety of conditions, including tuberculosis, dysentery, paratyphoid, thrombosis, and other infections. Many experimental procedures that people travel to get are largely untested, as well, and can have their own unique risks. People who are considering traveling for medical care must be advised to do plenty of their own research before undergoing any sort of experimental treatment.