Medical Tourism: Boom or Bust?

Original Article:

“Stephano says the figure is between 120,000 and 150,000 patients a year — about what was reported in 2007 — when she and Edelheit started their association.

Although tourists used to go abroad mainly for plastic surgery and other elective procedures, she says, more are now traveling for operations that their insurance won’t cover, including hip and knee replacements. Trips are usually made with the help of a “facilitator” like San Diego-based Satori World Medical, which promises knowledge of the best facilities abroad and creates a complete itinerary for patients, from initial sight-seeing to physician appointments, to scheduling the procedure, tacking on extra rest-and-relaxation days for recuperation.

Stephano says 87 countries have established plans for promoting medical tourism, including Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, India, Thailand, Korea, Japan, China, Egypt, and Turkey.

“Medical tourism can only see an increase as the entire world becomes more globalized. The increased access to air travel plus the emerging economies that allow for other countries other than the US to have high quality health care allow for this.”

Most importantly is to understand that information is traveling extremely fast. The speed of information makes it possible for a patient to make instantaneous price and service comparisons and decide for a higher value proposition.

Aside from the concept of value that applies to every industry, specifically in terms of health care, as long as health care costs continue to increase in the United States, patients will continue to seek better and more affordable alternatives. The vacation part is a bonus. Often visiting Costa Rica as part of your medical travel adds a layer of privacy to your beauty transformation.

What emerging economies have to continue to do, and they have, is to train their population in learning English since they are in Kindergarten.

With a solid English as a second language population, countries like Costa Rica will continue to see the rewards of the new luxury: value. If you wish to seek advice about your next surgery don’t hesitate to contact Universal Plastic Surgery. Our fully bilingual (English and Spanish) staff will assist in every way possible to answer all of your questions.

Paseo Colon, San Jose, Costa Rica