Medical tourism is on the rise globally and it seems that people residing in the US are amongst the most willing in the world to venture abroad for healthcare purposes. But is it any wonder that Americans are seeking alternative medical solutions in foreign countries?
After all, some 38 million people living in the US are doing so without medical insurance. Furthermore, a staggering 120 million Americans have no kind of dental insurance – this leaves them with few options in the US where healthcare services come at a premium
It should come as no surprise then that Deloitte reported that approximately 1.6 million US residents travelled abroad for medical care in 2012. However, it is only recently that Americans are increasingly looking to Central Europe for their healthcare needs.
Traditionally, US residents looking for affordable, high-quality medical care would travel to countries like Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil. This is because of their close proximity to the US. However, with growing demand follows increased prices and these destinations no longer offer the bang for the buck that they used to.
Alternatives such as Thailand and India are also becoming more popular destinations with American medical tourists, but Far Eastern countries pose cultural differences and lengthy travel times.
Central Europe, however, now seems to be the destination of choice for an increasing number of US citizens looking for affordable medical care abroad – and for good reason!
First, central European destinations such as France are closer to the US than Asian countries and so involve less travel time – something that people needing medical treatment often need due to discomfort levels.
Second, European culture is very similar to that of the US and so Americans often feel more at home in European cities. Countries where English is a definite second language appeal far more to Americans
Third, European healthcare is on a par with the US, yet doesn’t have the long wait times. This last factor is particularly important for a lot of patients as long waiting times can see a medical condition worsen. Also, some patients are already at the point where they’re in pain and in need of medical relief right away.
Lastly, travelling to Europe is appealing for US citizens because it gives them the chance to walk in their forefather’s footsteps and visit historic sites like Normandy.
This recent article on the Medical Tourism Magazine website is testimony enough to the benefits afforded by Americans who choose to have surgical procedures undertaken in Europe.
Bruce Ryan travelled from California to France for rotator cuff surgery on his shoulder. His entire 21-day trip with his wife included his post-op recovery and aftercare. Furthermore, the couple realised many sight-seeing opportunities whilst in France. But, probably most amazing of all, is that the entire experience cost just $16,000. That represents a 50% saving on the same surgical procedure in the United States.
It’s safe to say that Europe is fast-becoming the new destination for American Healthcare and with good reason.