The world medical tourism industry has become a $10.5 billion business based on the availability of high-quality medical services at reasonable rates in many developing countries. Patients are traveling abroad not only for quick-recovery cosmetic surgeries or dental procedures, but also for sophisticated surgeries, such as cardiac, orthopedics, neurosurgery, Bariatric, and others. Two factors have sparked the growth of international medical tourism even further – world economic troubles increasing the number of uninsured persons, especially in the United States, and the expanding elderly population.
In their home countries, many patients face expensive procedure costs, long wait times, and high demand for cosmetic surgeries and dental procedures that are often not reimbursed under regular health insurance policies. Traveling abroad, however, can save them from 30% to 90% on a procedure including their travel expenditures. Patients in Canada and the UK, for instance, travel to low-cost destinations for their treatments in order to avoid long waiting periods in their own countries.
ABC news in the USA recently reported that U.S. companies are turning to medical tourism to cut employee healthcare costs. They ran a story at the end of September about two U.S. factory workers whose company sent them to Costa Rica for medical procedures, paying the entire cost including travel expenses because it was less expensive than in the U.S. Nearly one million Americans presently travel overseas for medical procedures every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Costa Rica is emerging as a leading health tourism destination for several reasons:
Cost: Medical treatments in Costa Rica average 50% to 70% less than in the United States and Canada.
Accessibility: Americans, Canadians and most Europeans do not require an entrance visa for stays shorter than 90 days. Costa Rica has an established tourism infrastructure and international flights are plentiful.
High-quality medical services: Costa Rica is home to top private and public accredited hospitals and clinics, and many doctors have training, certifications and experience from the U.S. Top private hospitals include Clinica Biblica, CIMA and the Catholic Hospital in the San Jose area; and in Liberia, Guanacaste, the San Rafael Archangel Hospital and Medical Clinic, and ancillary facilities for CIMA and Clinica Biblica. They offer state-of-the-art surgery and recovery rooms and patient facilities.
Tourist destination: Medical patients can take advantage of Costa Rica’s famous nature, beaches, volcanoes, lakes and rivers, along with leading international and local hotel chains. Many resorts specialize in yoga and wellness retreats, spas, and weight-loss programs.
In 2011, 48,000 health tourists came to Costa Rica, mostly from the United States and Canada in search of medical care in dentistry, orthopedics, plastic surgery, preventive medicine, Gynecology and Bariatric Surgery. Costa Rica is looking to boost its numbers to 100,000 medical tourists in 2014. The country will host a national forum for health tourism, ExpoMED 2013, on October 29 in San Jose, to establish standards and guidelines for international health tourism. A new health initiative, called Guanacaste Health and Travel is aiming to attract 3,000 medical tourists to the north Pacific province. In Las Vegas, from November 3-6, the Medical Tourism Association will put on the World Medical Tourism and Global Healthcare Congress.
Visit Costa Rica for Medical Tourism with Valle Dorado Tours
Whether you want to experience paradise before or after your medical treatment in Costa Rica, top travel agency Valle Dorado Tours can take care of planning a relaxing customized vacation for you. Valle Dorado Tours will tailor your trip according to your interests in destinations, hotels, tours and medical facilities.
Article by Shannon Farley