Can Medical Tourism Actually Save Lives?

The Worsening State of Health Care

The Institute of Medicine (2004) estimates that, “about 18,000 Americans die each year from treatable conditions because they cannot afford healthcare.” These are shocking figures for a country that prides itself on being the most developed in the world. Want another shocking fact? 46 million Americans are without health insurance. An additional 120 million lack dental insurance. You might be wondering, “who really needs dental insurance?” Well, the cost of a dental bridge can exceed $6,000 in the States. Dental fillings range into the hundreds of dollars. Braces will set you back several thousand dollars over many months (or years).

How Can Medical Tourism Help?

Medical tourism is all about options. By flying abroad to countries with comparable care but more affordable pricing, patients can save a bundle on dental bridges, heart surgeries, and anything else they might need. While true, medical tourism is no substitute for universal health care (you still have to buy the airfare, hotel rooms, etc), it is still a better option than letting people fend for themselves in a health care industry bogged down with outrageous costs, red tape, and serious conflicts of interest.

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Dangers of Medical Tourism

Thailand, India, Singapore, and Mexico are some of the leading pioneers in medical tourism. However, not all destinations offer the same types of guarantees, regulations, and restrictions that you’ve grown accustomed to in the States. There’s certainly no shortage of “unscrupulous” doctors out there who are eager to attract foreign dollars. And in the event of a botched surgery, you might not have much legal recourse. That’s why it is imperative that you understand the facts about medical tourism safety and malpractice. Some hospitals are great…others are not. Make sure you ask the right types of questions before committing to anything, either in your home country or abroad.

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