Best Destination for medical tourism

Singapore’s status as one of the world’s freest economies and a highly developed nation has made it a medical tourism hub for both Asians and westerners for years. Cancer treatment is a top speciality there. The World Health Organization ranks Singapore the best health care system in Asia, and sixth in the world. Personal responsibility is a key driver that keeps health care costs in here reasonably low.

You will pay more in Singapore than in places like Thailand, but the quality of life in Singapore is second to none. One US-based grocery chain had a policy of paying the entire hospital bill, with travel costs for two, for employees who got hip and knee replacements in Singapore. Life expectancy in Singapore is several years longer than that of the UK. By many standards, the city-state has the world’s slowest infant mortality rate. If you’re looking for the most developed country for less expensive surgery, Singapore might be for you. However, there are stories of excessive costs, which together with rising health care standards in other countries, are causing medical tourism to shift to other parts of Asia.

While Mexico is the best known country in the Americas for foreigners seeking care, Brazil stands out one of the most advanced in the region. Looking good and feeling sexy is important in Brazil – almost to extremes, so it’s no wonder the country is home to more cosmetic surgeons than anywhere else on earth. Plastic surgery is done in a hospital, not in an office, in Brazil, and doctors are highly trained in such procedures. Up until recently, medical tourism in Brazil was largely relegated to elective procedures. However, the country has the first JCI-accredited hospital in the world outside of the United States – and now has more than 40 JCI-accredited hospitals.

Brazil has the least efficient medical system on this list, although it is nearly tied with the United States in terms of medical efficiency. Costs for plastic surgery can be as much as 60% less than in western countries, and surgeons can handle just about any procedure you can dream up. There are even veterinarians offering cosmetic surgeries on pets. Brazil is home to perhaps the world’s most renowned plastic surgeon. However, Brazil’s beauty consciousness surely can’t hurt anyone looking to save money on a nip and tuck.

Yes, really; India has become a top health tourism destination for high-end surgeries at inexpensive prices. Two of the top ten medical tourism hospitals are in India. Stories of westerners traveling to India and saving 75% over home country costs for large procedures – travel costs included – are not uncommon. India is anticipated to have a $2 billion industry serving overseas patients by 2015, thanks to well over 100,000 patients who visit each year. The Indian government is easing restrictions on citizens of many countries, making it easier for them to travel to India visa-free and with fewer restrictions (US citizens do need a visa to enter India, which costs $67 plus any agency service fees).

India is widely known for its advanced medicine services and advanced equipment. Doctors tend to be highly trained due to large medical tourism cities like Chennai and Noida having foreign patients fill half their hospital beds. Also, the language barrier is lower for English speakers, and Indian hospitals are bringing in translators for non-English speaking foreigners. Health care costs in India can run as low as ten cents on the dollar compared to the US or the UK. Popular treatments include bone-marrow transplants, eye surgery and hip grafting and replacement. India is also a top destination for cardiac bypass surgery at facilities. The procedure can cost less than $10,000 as compared to more than $100,000 in the west.

Thailand is world-renowned for its medical tourism and expat health care services. So much so that medical tourism is growing by 16% a year. There is no denying that their medical system is prized for offering a wide range of surgeries and other procedures at cheap prices. Many doctors in Thailand have been trained in western countries or Singapore and speak excellent English; nurses tend to speak English relatively well, also.
Ever since the crash of the baht in the nineties, Thailand used its currency crisis to attract medical tourists from around Asia, mainly for cosmetic surgeries. Today, Thailand is a haven for inexpensive plastic surgery, but also non-elective procedures. A facelift that might cost $15,000 in The Land of the Free would cost $2,500-3,000 in Thailand. Meanwhile, bypass surgery could cost around $25,000, an 80% discount over US prices. Experts recommend sticking to Bangkok rather than the coastal resort towns for access to the best doctors and care.

Malaysia sees well over half a million medical tourists – most from around Asia – each year due to the country’s developed infrastructure and low costs. The general consensus is that, as Singapore gets more expensive, Kuala Lumpur is picking up the slack with facilities that are just as good. English is more widely spoken in Malaysia than in Thailand, and infrastructure is better than countries like India.

Like other countries in Asia, Malaysia saw medical tourism as a way to diversify its economy during the Asian financial crisis. Malaysian hospitals offer services such as in vitro fertilization at around one-fifth the price of western facilities, as well as offering sophisticated treatment for burn victims. Malaysian hospitals also offer total physicals that would cost several thousand dollars in the US, with blood work, for a few hundred dollars.
Other countries are joining in to grab their share of foreign patients, as well. Jordan has seen millions of patients cross into its borders, and has received a top five ranking for medical tourism from the World Bank, while Colombia is fast rising as a medical tourism hub.

Mexico: High-grade Medical Care with Minimal Cost and Wait
Magnificent Mexico is home to a rich and dazzling array of sights and sensations, breathtaking beauty and remarkable scenery. From ancient Mayan ruins, decadent beaches, sparkling coastlines, tantalizing cuisine and low travel and living costs make Mexico a smart choice for the budding leisure traveler or medical tourist.
Relish in the sparkling blue waters of Puerto Vallarta, the gorgeous peaks of the Baja California Peninsula, the hum and rumble of Mexico City, its enchanting entertainment and rich, lavish culture. Just a hop and skip across the southern border of the USA, and a small jump away from the multitudinous nations of South America, Mexico’s ease of accessibility close to major ports of entry make it an appealing choice for travelers from the USA, Canada and developed countries across the world. With its tropical, salubrious weather and inviting pace and lifestyle, traveling through greater Mexico is a tourist’s delight. Additionally, Mexico affords an opportunity for high-grade medical care and procedures for just a fraction of the cost you’d find in the US and other developed nations.

One of the world’s major health destinations, Mexico’s health system is ranked as a high-grade World Health Organization medical provider, supplying a variety of cutting edge hospitals and medical facilities, services and accredited, board-certified surgeons, general practitioners and specialist health professionals. Mexico offers a range of specialist procedures, including cosmetic surgery, dentistry, hip and knee replacement, orthopedic surgery, cardiac and eye surgery.

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