India Offers Cheap Healthcare
India is fast catching up with stalwarts in the cheap healthcare segment, like Thailand and Malaysia, in developing its medical tourism sector. Apollo Hospitals Group Executive Chairman Pratap C. Reddy is satisfied with the recent initiatives taken by the government in promoting health and wellness tourism in India. The government has increased budgetary allocations for healthcare to 21.9 percent. Customs duties have been reduced and service taxes on clinical trials abolished, all in an effort to promote medical tourism in India.
Affordable Destination for Medical Tourism: India
Health and wellness tourism in India is being promoted aggressively by the private hospitals as well as by the government. Apart from cheap healthcare, India has many scenic attractions for tourists seeking relaxation from mountains, beaches, forests, and rivers to palaces, historical monuments, and temples. Industry leaders forecast healthy growth for the health and wellness tourism industry in India, with the industry expected to pump in millions of dollars into the country’s economy. This is due to the relatively cheap healthcare costs in the country. A bone marrow transplant in the US can cost about $250,000, whereas in India the cost would be about $30,000. Similarly, heart surgery costing around $30,000 in the United States would cost only $7,000 in India. But even with such cheap healthcare costs, India faces stiff competition from its South Asian neighbors like Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. The need of the hour, therefore, is to create and foster the ideal environment for the development of the industry. Government incentives in the form of tax relief measures, international accreditation for hospitals, and better insurance coverage for foreign patients will greatly boost the country’s medical tourism potential.