With an estimated 1.4 million tourists traveling internationally for medical care from the United States alone in 2016, it’s no wonder that medical tourism is an ever growing industry currently worth approximately $40 billion.
Not only do patients seek out more affordable care compared to the high healthcare costs in countries like the United States or the U.K., but they also receive better quality care than they would in their native countries.
Below are some of the top-rated medical tourism destinations in the world and the medical specialties they’re known for.
Laser eye surgery is an increasingly popular procedure for individuals who are tired of wearing glasses, and as an operation that is usually not covered by health insurance, it is also extremely costly. The operation in Turkey however, costs approximately $1,100 for both eyes.
“We offer the most updated technology, highly experienced surgeons and the highest-quality eye care services,” says Efekan Coskunseven, MD, director of the Refractive Surgery Department at Dünyagöz Eye Hospital, Istanbul. And it shows. Approximately 30,000 health tourists travel to Turkey for eye treatment each year.
Thailand, Plastic Surgery:
Due to cheap medical costs, highly advanced technology, and internationally accredited medical facilities that feel more like 5-star hotels, it’s no wonder Thailand has become a leader in medical tourism. It’s even recognized as the world capital for sex reassignment surgery, with at least 100 Thai doctors expertly qualified to perform the surgery.
Male-to-female surgery packages, which include medical and surgical expenses, massages, hotel accommodations, and a city tour start at only $9,770, compared to $7,000 to $24,000 for the surgery alone in the U.S.
Costa Rica, Dental Care:
Nearly half of Costa Rica’s medical tourists go there for dental work, and for good reason.Not only is Costa Rica’s health system ranked higher than the U.S.’s, but its costs are 50-80 percent lower as well. And being just a short flight away from Miami, 90 percent of the country’s medical tourists are from the U.S. and Canada, making it one of the top five medical tourism destinations for Americans.
Germany, Cancer Treatment:
Thanks to exceptional quality of care, vast medical resources, and leading advancements in technology and research, Germany has one of the highest-rated healthcare systems in the world. As home of leading healthcare companies such as Siemens, Bayer and Dräger, German hospitals have access to the newest state-of-the art medical equipment before other countries.
Germany is also a leader in developing new medical therapies and alternative medicine, which usually take years to become available in the U.S. In fact, many successful Cancer treatments now used around the world originated in Germany.
Brazil, Plastic Surgery and Liposuction:
It’s known for the “Brazilian butt lift” for a reason. One in five butt augmentations is performed in Brazil, and procedures are up to 50 percent cheaper than those performed in the U.S. According to the World Health Organization, Brazil has the best healthcare system in Latin American and one of the highest ranked in the world. And with 4,500 licensed cosmetic surgeons, it has the highest per capita of practicing cosmetic physicians in the world.