Is Medical Tourism Right for Me?
Have you been wondering: is medical tourism or a health vacation right for me? If you’re one of the 47 million uninsured Americans (as reported by the National Coalition on Health Care in 2005) this is less of an option and more of an “only hope” for those in your situation. The general misconception is that the term “uninsured” means “poor.” It doesn’t. In many cases, an uninsured person is someone who can afford to combine a weeklong vacation with an outpatient procedure abroad; but cannot afford the procedure alone performed domestically. Medical tourism to countries like India, Thailand, Korea, and South Africa offers that vacation/treatment combination, and has not only increased in popularity but has also proved to be a necessity as well. The rising cost of healthcare continues to make a procedure like colonoscopy seem more of a luxury than a means of colorectal cancer detection.
Health Vacation Quickly Becoming the Only Alternative
As political discussion about the cost of procedures like the colonoscopy appears little more than casual banter, it’s not just call center jobs that are being outsourced. In India, the cost of a digital colonoscopy may be less than $500. According to a 2006 article in the Colorado Springs Business Journal, a colonoscopy in the US could cost up to $3,000; the difference in price, easily covers a round-trip ticket and 4 or 5 star hotel accommodations for a patient. India is not the only country with medical procedures discounted at phenomenal rates. Many other countries have capitalized on the market as well, like Singapore, South Africa, and Korea to name just a few. As the reliability of medical facilities and personnel becomes more apparent, fears become assuaged and medical tourism may even become the norm. For some patients today, the question, “is medical tourism right for me?” may elicit the surreal response: “it’s not just right, but the only option for me.”