It’s an interesting question, because as people become more informed about their conditions and treatment options, they also often learn more about the costs associated with treating their condition. When compared with many other developed nations, America’s healthcare costs are extraordinary. Just today, we got hit with a prescription bill you wouldn’t believe, as we recently changed healthcare providers (and may be changing much sooner than we had anticipated because of this surprise).
The rising cost of healthcare in America has spawned the emergence of a new type of travel. Medical tourism is now a phenomenon that has generated passengers in record numbers, especially those with no health insurance and limited access to insurance. In fact, Patients Beyond Borders reports that more than 150,000 Americans traveled abroad for healthcare last year, and that number is projected to double by 2008.
Health insurance premiums have gone up 87 percent since 2000, resulting in more than 46 million Americans that have no health insurance.
Saving money is one of the main objectives, and Americans love a bargain, even when it’s their own health being bargained. It’s estimated that patients can save anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of the cost of many common medical procedures. Some of the most common procedures people are leaving the country for include orthopedics, heart surgery, and cosmetic procedures. Other advantages to travel abroad include virtually no waiting lines, which is a bigger issue in countries like Canada, and access to procedures that aren’t offered at home or have a very short track record, such as hip resurfacing and disk nucleus replacement.
There are many companies that help provide people information and resources in planning such a trip, but it isn’t one that should be taken lightly.