Pros and Cons of Medical Tourism


Medical tourism has become very popular. It allows people from one country to travel to another developing country to obtain less expensive medical and/or surgical procedures.

Medical tourism companies can arrange for the medical procedure as well as the travel and lodging accommodations.

A few insurance companies and employers in the United States are now giving people the option to obtain medical treatment in places such as Mexico, India, Costa Rica, Singapore and other companies.   More often, any procedures done abroad have to be paid out of pocket by the patient.

Some of the advantages of medical tourism are first the cost. Medical procedures done in a foreign country may be as much as 80% cheaper than if it is done in the United States. This lower cost also includes the money spent for traveling to the destination.

Usually the procedure is done in a private medical facility in the foreign country so an appointment has been set up and there is no waiting time. Access to treatment can be scheduled rather quickly.

Most procedures done out of the country are not covered by insurance so there is little paperwork. Usually the procedure is paid for in advance and in cash.

Since the medical procedure is done abroad in places which have not only good medical facilities, but also have wonderful recreation facilities, the medical procedure may be combined into a mini-vacation. You may want to travel with a spouse, family member or friend to provide support and companionship.


The disadvantages associated with medical tourism include first the safety of the medical procedure and medical facility. Be sure you research not only the qualifications and experience of the medical professional you are seeing, but also the standards and safety of the health facility. There are many qualified doctors abroad and as well as internationally accredited medical facilities.

Usually the facilities abroad do not cover any liability for services. The patient assumes all the risks. This accounts for some of the reason why the cost of procedures is so low.

You need to consider the time you will be traveling. Going to your destination should not be a problem. However, when you are returning home it will be after your medical or surgical procedure. You will need to know how much time you will need to recuperate abroad before you are medically fit to travel home.

What if complications arise after you have returned home? Then you will have to obtain the services of a doctor or hospital at home and this will be additional cost to be considered.

If you are thinking about traveling abroad for medical treatment be very careful. You need to do a lot of research and investigation. Usually if a medical or surgical procedure done in the United States encounters complications the medical staff can handle it efficiently. Will the medical facility abroad have the same experience to handle unexpected complications?

You will save money having procedures done abroad, but you need to weigh the options and risks before you determine if medical tourism will work for you.