Medical Tourismâ€™s Soaring Popularity
Patients Beyond Borders reports that more than 150,000 Americans traveled abroad for healthcare last year, and that number is projected to double by 2008.
The rising cost of healthcare in America has spawned the emergence of a new type of travel.
Medical tourism is a phenomenon that has generated passengers in record
numbers, especially those with no health insurance and limited access
to insurance. In fact, Patients Beyond Borders reports that more than
150,000 Americans traveled abroad for healthcare last year, and that
number is projected to double by 2008.
“Healthcare has become out of reach in this country for many,” explains
Wouter Hoeberechts, CEO of WorldMedAssist (http://worldmedassist.com),
a medical tourism company that arranges all of the logistics for
healthcare abroad. “Health insurance premiums have gone up 87 percent
since 2000, resulting in more than 46 million Americans that have no
health insurance. There are even more with deductibles and co-pays that
exceed what they can afford.”
Saving money is one of the main objectives, and it’s estimated that
patients can save up to 80 percent of the cost of a procedure. This
figure takes into account the costs of travel and lodging. Some of the
most common procedures people are leaving the country for include
orthopedics, heart surgery, and cosmetic procedures.
Other advantages to travel abroad include virtually no waiting lines,
which is a big issue in Canada, and access to procedures that aren’t
offered at home or have a very short track record, such as hip
resurfacing and disk nucleus replacement.
“We provide a solution for people, enabling them to receive good
healthcare. We hold the hands of our clients from start to finish,
making for a hassle-free experience,” says Hoeberechts. “The best part
is there’s no compromise on quality. The hospitals we partner with are
internationally renowned and typically have strategic partnerships with
leading U.S. medical institutions, such as Johns Hopkins and Harvard
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