Health Travel Due to Rising Costs A Major Problem in Health Care

Medical Needs of Generation X and Baby Boomers

Around 500,000 Americans travelled overseas last year for surgical procedures. The growth of the international health travel market is directly related to rising costs – a major problem in healthcare in most Western countries. Increasingly, medical tourism locations, such as India and Thailand, offer substantial savings for those in need of medical treatment, whether minor procedures or major life saving surgeries. The demographics of those who opt for health travel overseas span all age groups. Aging baby boomers in the US, for instance, require life-enhancing treatments such as elective cosmetic surgery, life-saving transplants, and heart-bypass surgeries. Generation Xers, on the other hand, consist of an increasing number of Americans who have no health insurance or insufficient insurance cover.

Health Travel

A major problem in health care in the West is the exorbitant cost of medical attention. It goes without saying that the main attraction of health travel is the affordability of treatment overseas. Besides this, the ease of overseas travel, favourable exchange rates, and the simplicity of booking the entire trip online have given rise to an increased interest in such health travel to the East.
Health travel to far-flung locations, such as Thailand and India, can provide Western travellers with first-class medical facilities and fully-trained professional medical practitioners for a fraction of the cost back home. The differences in the medical needs of generation Xers and baby boomers become irrelevant in the sophisticated medical facilities of developing countries. The driving force for the health traveller is essentially the cost of the treatment. Elective and necessary surgical procedures can cost the health traveller around one-tenth of the cost at home. Heart bypass surgery, for example, in India and Thailand can cost $10,000 compared to $60,000 to $80,000 in the US. Gastric bypass surgery carried out overseas may set a patient back by a mere $5,000. Compare this to the US where the cost of the procedure can easily touch $20,000.

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