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Tuesday, January 17th 2017

Three Reasons for Medical Tourism

Written by

Rafael Bracho

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Is Medical Tourism and Medical Tourism Insurance Right For You

Three Reasons to Consider Medical Tourism | Three Reasons People Travel for Surgery

Three Reasons to Get Your Next Surgery in a Foreign Country

Surgery isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think “vacation”, but it soon could be. It’s estimated that as many as 1.5 million Americans travel abroad each year for medical treatment, and surgery is the most sought-after service. This practice is called “medical tourism”, and Americans are spending over $40 billion per year to transform routine surgery into an overseas holiday.

Whether you’ve considered Medical Tourism before—or you are just beginning to entertain the idea—here are three reasons to start researching doctors and booking a flight.


This is typically the most common reason people look into scheduling a surgery abroad, with foreign surgery costing anywhere from 25% to 90% less than the same treatment at home. In Mexico alone, the savings range from 40 – 65%. Of course, you’ll have to pay all medical costs upfront, but with rising healthcare and insurance costs, it can still be the most affordable option.

“The international medical marketplace is about to take off,” Dr. Marty Makary of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, told AARP. “We’re living in the era of the high deductible; $10,000 in the bronze family plan under the new health law. People are paying more and looking to cut costs.”

Some employers are even starting to offer financial help for overseas medical care, because the savings cost the company less in the long run and help keep insurance premiums low. According to a 2014 survey, 25% of employers were looking to add foreign surgery benefits in the next 3 – 5 years. One company reported saving almost $11 million on health care after adding a medical travel program in 2010.


Another reason people travel for medical procedures is the availability of treatments and services that may not be offered in the United States—or covered by insurance. In addition, you can usually get a foreign surgery scheduled more quickly. While you might have to wait months (or even a year) to schedule a surgery with a top doctor at home, the best surgeons in another country typically have much more room on their calendars to get you taken care of as quickly as possible.

In addition, if you are interested in a new treatment, you may only be able to access it if you leave the country. Many cutting-edge therapies are available abroad before they receive approval in the United States. Be sure to thoroughly research any experimental treatment—and the doctors involved—before electing to try something new.


It’s not always true that you get what you pay for. When it comes to medical tourism, patients generally pay less for more. American doctors are known for rushing from patient to patient. Even before and after surgery, you’re more likely to see an orderly, medical assistant or CNA than your doctor or even a registered nurse. However, when you receive medical treatment overseas, you’ll be taken care of by registered nurses, your doctor, and possibly even a “medical concierge” that will help you facilitate every aspect of your medical treatment and travel.

In some cities where medical tourism has boomed, like Mexico City, your hospital stay may end up feeling more like a vacation. At Hospital General de Mexico, you can book a deluxe, private room with amenities, and sometimes even a fantastic view. Costs range from $200 to $400 per night and can include nursing care, medical equipment, flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and meals for up to three people. A hospital room in the United States typically runs about $800 (minimum) per night, and that’s just for the bed; all other services, including something as simple as aspirin, rack up additional charges.


If you’re ready to take the plunge and turn your next surgery into an international holiday, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Find an organizer to help you arrange your medical tourism excursion. They can provide everything you need, including: transportation, hotels before and after your procedure, follow-up care, and tourist activities (if you’re medically cleared for them).

  • All surgeries—no matter how minor—come with inherent risks and the possibility of additional expenses. You may be required to pay more than your original estimate if there is a complication, or if additional services are required.

  • Medical Tourism Insurance can help you be prepared for any extra expenses you may encounter. Policies typically cover any additional medical, hospital, and lodging expenses that are incurred.

Surgery is serious business, but you can save money, ensure quality care, and see more of the world by becoming a medical tourist. Find out more about medical tourism and Medical Tourism Insurance by contacting WeExpats Insurance Solutions today.

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