Quality Medical Care Overseas

MMI was talking to a friend over the weekend about Medical Tourism and he told me this story from his own personal experience: skinetrin

He lives in Hong Kong and about a year ago he got a hernia.  The pain was such that by midday each day he was absolutely shattered – even just getting through the afternoons was a real struggle. skinetrin

So off he went to the HK health service to get treatment.  They confirmed the hernia diagnosis but told him he’d have to wait a year for treatment, because it was considered ‘elective surgery’. skinetrin tabletki

Given the pain he was in there was no way he could wait a year for treatment.  In his words: “I couldn’t even get through the afternoon – how was I going to get through another year..!?” skinetrin

So he went home, fired up his PC and checked out options in Bangkok.  (He has a house there and knows the city well). skinetrin tabletta

Continue reading

Posted in Medical Tourism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Quality of Medical Care Overseas

How good is the quality of medical care you’re likely to get if you travel abroad? Sometimes better than you can get in so-called first world economies. Here’s what happened to the wife of a friend of mine: Continue reading

Posted in Medical Tourism | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

How Safe Are Medical Vacations

In the primary medical tourism destinations the standards of care are as high as they are in developed countries.

Many of the practitioners trained in the US, the UK, Japan and other leading countries.  And, as I mentioned before, the governments of medical tourism destinations are putting time and investment into what’s becoming a booming industry for them, meaning that the hospitals and facilities are world class.

This from Gorgeous Getaways director Louise Cogan:  Plastic surgeons are chosen based on their qualifications and experience.

Her patient numbers have increased through word of mouth from 40 in 2004 to 480 last year. Most are Australian, followed by New Zealanders and Britons.

Packages typically include airport and hospital transfers, 10 to 14 days’ accommodation and follow-up care from a team of nurses and helpers, who can perform tasks such as helping them wash in their hotel rooms and changing bandages.

And these are often in locations where you and your spouse or partner can enjoy a relaxing vacation in beautiful surroundings.

Overseas surgery can cost as little as a third of Australian prices, says Christa Bradley of All About Beauty.  And more and more companies are getting into the business of organizing entire packages, including flights, transfers and visas as well as the hospitalization, surgery and post operation recovery accommodation.

Posted in Medical Tourism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Medical Tourism Becomes Mainstream

In previous articles on this blog I’ve talked about how Medical Tourism is a rapidly growing industry.

It’s benefitting not only people in the US and Europe who want the chance to jump long queues for expensive treatment (if they’re uninsured) and combine it with a holiday, but the economies of the countries they’re travelling to for treatment.

In these countries governments are putting in serious support for the industry by facilitating visas, allowing medical tourism resorts to raise funds through the stock markets and encouraging major investments in new resorts.

Here are some more articles from around the web on how medical tourism is becoming mainstream:

australia tourism information

Medical tourism has played its part in the rediscovery of the main continent by the Britons after war with Napoleon. Earlier medical tourists had been mainly aristocratic, or at least leisured. Of late, the professional and middle …

Top 5 Medical Tourism Destinations

In our previous article, Medical Tourism: Seeking Affordable Healthcare Overseas, NuWire investigated the modern concept of medical tourism—traveling to foreign countries for lower cost of care. Medical tourism destinations have emerged …

“Do I get to play golf before you cut me open, doc?”

At least, that’s what the Philippines is counting on once its medical tourism program gets up to speed in about three years. Photos of dear old dad in a loud Hawaiian shirt toting the inevitable camera; of mom snapping up Philippine …

Have you considered medical tourism? Let us know your thoughts and, better still, your experiences – good or bad – by leaving a comment below.

Posted in Medical Tourism | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

11-Fold Increase In Medical Tourists From Australia

This excerpt comes from the Sunday Mail:

Thousands of Australians are flying overseas for cut-price cosmetic surgery holidays, driving a 1150% explosion in medical tourism within the past five years.

Enticed by cheap medical deals combined with an affordable holiday in the sun, almost 4000 patients have gone under the knife in Asian medical tourism destinations such as Malaysia and Thailand.

No longer are breast implants, facelifts and liposuction exclusively the domain of the rich or famous. Budget packages are under-cutting Australian surgical prices by up to two-thirds, just as they are in the US and Europe.

The tourist surgery boom has coincided with the rise of low-cost airlines, which have cut airfares to as little as $150 for a one-way ticket to destinations in Asia.

The strong Australian dollar and availability of cosmetic surgery loans are also making nips and tucks more viable for low-to-middle income earners, despite interest rates rises and increasing fuel and grocery prices.

Figures obtained by the Sunday Mail show at least 3898 patients have travelled overseas for surgery with Australian-based cosmetic surgery holiday companies.

This is more than 11 times as many as four years ago, when cosmetic surgery was considered more radical and less socially acceptable.

The medical tourism industry is booming despite warnings against travelling overseas from the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, which says patients risk botched surgery and sub-standard conditions.

Last year, though, 1499 patients had surgery through Australian holiday providers.

New companies are sprouting up every year, with many offering finance through partner organisations.

And, as Asian governments get behind the medical tourism industries in their countries, standards of care and the facilities that are available to patients are constantly on the rise.

Posted in Medical Tourism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Medical Tourism Developments in the Middle East

There’s an unprecedented level of investment being made in the hotels and hospitality industry in the Middle East.

Altogether more than $30 billion is being invested in more than 120 new multiple hotel projects across the Arabian Gulf and Egypt.  Suppliers and other industries related to the Middle Eastern hospitality sector can expect unparalleled business opportunities over the next ten years, according to a leading industry observer.

So how does this affect those interested in Medical Tourism..?

Among the projects under construction is Bahrain’s Dilmunia Island development – a medical tourism destination incorporating three 5-star hotels and one 4-star establishment, along with hospitals and clinics, for a total investment of around $1.6 billion.

Being developed by Ithmaar Development Company, the reclamation project is just getting under way. At a cost of $1.6 Billion this is likely to be the region’s largest health care resort, featuring hotels, residential spaces and shopping centres, as well as specialist clinics, hospitals and wellness facilities.

All of which is good news for people who need to escape the sky high price of medical care in the US and Europe.

Posted in Medical Tourism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Where Medical Tourism Can Help

A lot of people are attracted to cheap surgery abroad either because they lack insurance or because there’s a long waiting list in their own country.

Surgery abroad, or medical tourism, is becoming increasingly popular. And it’s no longer limited to cheap dental surgery in Mexico or inexpensive cosmetic surgery in Costa Rica.

People are traveling halfway around the world for all sorts of procedures which include orthopedic surgeries, fertility treatments, and even critical operations like organ transplants, cancer treatment and cardiac surgeries.

But is surgery abroad for everyone?

It’s clearly not an option if you’re being rushed to hospital in an ambulance at the time you need the surgery. However, there are many occasions when you can benefit from obtaining treatment overseas for non-emergency conditions.

Clearly, though, you should at least be fit enough to travel to your destination – and this may be a trip of 12 to 15 hours or more, depending on your destination.

Here are some circumstances where you can benefit from medical tourism:

1. You do not have insurance.

Unsurprisingly, a large number of medical travelers fall into this category. Not having health insurance can mean prohibitive prices for hospitalization and surgery.

It’s no secret that in the US, uninsured or self-pay patients are charged two to three times more for hospital care than those covered by health insurance. As reprehensible as this may be, the patient is the one who has to take the blow.

According to one Harvard study, half of personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical expenses. Filing for bankruptcy is not a solution. Flying for medical tourism can be. Medical tourism can save you 50% to 90% of the typical price your US hospital charges.

2. You have limited insurance.

Limited insurance could mean high deductibles, high co-payments or high out-of-pocket expenses. Or it may mean that the medical care you need is not covered under your catastrophic insurance plan.

In many ways, being underinsured is no better than being uninsured – possibly worse, because you’re still paying your monthly insurance premium for either very little or nothing in return.

3. The treatment you are seeking is elective.

Most health insurance plans out there do not cover elective surgeries.

So even if you have insurance coverage, and you know the procedure you need is not elective, it’s very easy for your insurer to successfully claim otherwise in order to avoid a payout if you undergo the treatment anyway.

This is especially true in the case of many cosmetic and dental procedures.

4. The treatment you are seeking is not available in your country.

For example, until fairly recently, Birmingham Hip Resurfacing surgery (BHR) was not available in the United States – because it was not approved by the FDA.

So many patients from the US went to India for this procedure. Many patients still prefer to do this because the surgeons in India are more experienced in this procedure than surgeons in the US, and the cost is a lot cheaper.

5. There is a long wait for the treatment you are seeking.

This can lead to deterioration in your condition and your quality of life. According to Jill Misangyi, a Canadian who went to India for spinal decompression surgery to treat her 16-year old back pain, under the medicare system in Canada, waiting lists just to see specialists range from 6 months to a couple of years.

Then you often have to wait another couple of years for the surgery.

Medical tourism can be the answer to the problems of patients like Jill, who have spent a lifetime awaiting their turn, and still have no end in sight.

If you decide that Medical Tourism may be the answer for you, be sure to do your research carefully.

As with everything: careful research and detailed planning will make your experience a lot happier and a lot more successful!

Posted in Medical Tourism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Tourism in Thailand

Just why is Thailand becoming such a popular destination for medical tourists?

It’s a combination of extremely competitive prices for many types of surgery, excellent standards of healthcare, a strong and growing support industry providing travel packages, assistance with Visas and a ready availability of translators for many Asian and Western languages.

And recognition by the Thai government that these characteristics can be converted into a powerful industry in Thailand – which has led to strong government support.

According to the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, Thailand is particularly competitive in plastic surgery, ophthalmology, obstetrics & gynaecology, thoracic & cardiovascular surgery and general surgery. If the price of Korean medical care is 100, in Thailand it’s 66.  This compares extremely favourably with other Asian markets: in China it’s 167, in Japan it’s 149 and in Singapore it’s 105.

Plastic surgery is especially cheap in Thailand, costing roughly one third of what it would in Korea. For example, cohesive gel breast implants cost under three million won (approximately US$2,882) and a nose job around one million won (approximately US$961).

Another strength is the availability of interpreters at Thai hospitals. Interpretation service is offered not only in Japanese and English but also in Korean, French, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.

Furthermore, Thailand has four hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International, which evaluates the quality of international medical technology, while Korea has only one – and that was only awarded last year.

This from Rachane Potjanasuntorn, head of the Thai Commerce Ministry’s export promotion department: “International hospitals in Thailand inject new medical talent from overseas to maintain their high level of technological competence” and, he continues, “Thailand is the most competitive in Asia in terms of medical cost and technology.”

Posted in Medical Tourism | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Tourism Becoming Mainstream

There’s a growing infrastructure within the Medical Tourism industry that’s making it ever easier for people to experience the very real benefits of this type of treatment.

Forward looking companies in the UK and US are beginning to offer medical tourism packages or destinations as part of their employee benefits, and health insurers are now starting to include health care abroad within the cover they provide.

Here are some articles from around the web on the benefits of getting health care abroad and some institutions that are now including it in their portfolios:

Medical Tourism: When Does It Make Sense?

The term “medical tourism” notwithstanding, getting your knee replaced or having spinal fusion isn’t much of a vacation. You might have more than one medical problem and need substantial follow-up care. So, you’ll need to take extra …

travel and tourism vacancies

Travel agencies specializing in medical tourism offer “surgery packages” including airfare, ground transport, hotel, travel insurance, medical procedures, nursing, post-operative treatment, and the services of a tour guide. …

Fully Insured Medical Tourism – Employees & Employers Save Big …

BCBS orchestrated the international hospital program in late February 2008, becoming the first insurance carrier to offer a fully-insured medical tourism savings choice. Plan Benefit Services, Inc is the first broker to conceive, …

Have you considered travelling abroad for your health care? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

Posted in Medical Tourism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Tourism in Asia

Why are people increasingly becoming medical tourists..?

This from a 35-year-old Korean woman who went to Thailand to get a nose job:  “An interpreter at the hospital who spoke Korean guided me from admission to operation…  I was able to set the date for the operation after consulting with the doctor, without waiting, and the surgery cost around one million won, probably 60 percent cheaper than in Korea.”

Last year, Thailand attracted 1.5 million medical tourists from around the world, attracting 80 billion Thai baht (approximately US$2.48 billion) in revenue. The target for 2010 is two million medical tourists.

The massive (and growing) number of medical tourists is thanks to Bangkok’s efforts to nurture its medical industry and make Thailand the medical hub of Asia.

Though Koreans can travel to Thailand without a visa, not all nationals are able to do the same. In cases where visas are required, or are required for a longer stay than is normally given, the hospital steps in to help and will arrange for extended visas for medical tourists who need long term care.

As an indication of its support for this growing industry, the Thai government urges hospitals to offer package products that include airfare, massage and spa in addition to treatment.

Dun Damrongsak, managing director of business relationship development for the private hospital operator Samitivej PCL, said: “The Commerce Ministry takes charge of medical tourism products to be exported and hospitals are run on a for-profit basis.”

“Thirteen hospitals are listed on the stock exchange, which allows smooth running of medical tourism and facilitation of investment for going upscale.”

The cost of surgery in countries that promote medical tourism is very much cheaper than people are used to in the US or Europe – and the facilities are excellent, with personal care at a level that is just not available at home.

Posted in Medical Tourism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment