Medical tourism is gaining in popularity for a variety of reasons, and it can be beneficial in many cases. But should you consider medical tourism? The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. Let’s discuss the circumstances when medical tourism is a good idea compared to seeking medical care at home. Note that money is not the only deciding factor.

You Want a Procedure Not Available at Home

In many cases, people opt for medical tourism to get access to procedures that aren’t yet available in their country. Or in other cases, they may want to get a procedure that is not covered by their insurance plan.

In other cases, people may opt to have certain procedures done abroad because of long waiting lists at home. Plastic surgeons in the US particularly can be booked for months because of the high demand and you could wait forever before having something as simple as a rhinoplasty done. Other countries like the Cayman Islands, for instance, will have the same level of surgeons, minus the crazy wait times.

You Cannot Afford the Procedure at Home

Sometimes someone needs to go abroad for the procedure because they cannot afford it at home. If you don’t have health insurance, the cost of flying to another country and having the procedure may be cheaper than paying out of pocket and having it done at the local hospital.

Sometimes complex dental procedures or plastic surgeries are cheaper in another country than at home. In other cases, the person has health insurance, but the insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of the procedure; now going abroad is necessary even if you have insurance and may even be partially covered by insurance. For some procedures like joint replacements and heart bypasses, medical tourism may actually be completely covered by health insurance companies that recognize it as a practical way to save on claims.

What if you cannot travel safely by yourself now? One option is an air ambulance, though they’re very expensive. Another solution is an air ambulance alternative service. A company such as Flying Angels will arrange non-emergency medical transport for you anywhere in the world while a nurse travels with you, taking care of everything you need.

The Long-Term Care There Is Better

Imagine the single, early retiree who now needs joint replacement or a cardiac procedure. The surgery abroad may or may not be cheaper than having the surgery done at home. However, staying in a five-star “resort” with top notch physical rehabilitation for two to three months is probably cheaper than having the procedure done at home and then struggling to afford necessary rehab. If you don’t have family and friends to support you, staying in the medical facilities abroad makes it possible to rely on their services until you’re fully able and ready to go home.

Medical tourism is the best solution if you cannot afford care at home or cannot receive the care though it is available in your country. Medical tourism is also a good choice if you may need extended time to recover or want to recover in an environment that is conducive to it.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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