Medical Tourism is On the Rise
Healthcare in the U.S. is evolving, and as medical transport providers, we have a front row seat to these changes. The most interesting change we are watching is the boom in medical tourism.
Medical tourism is rapidly gaining popularity among Americans. According to AARP Magazine, about one million Americans will seek medical treatment elsewhere this year, compared to about 750,000 last year. Americans most commonly travel for procedures not traditionally covered by employer insurance like dental procedures and cosmetic surgery; however, medical travel for coronary bypasses, bariatric operations, and orthopedic procedures such as knee or hip replacements are also common. American medical tourist is expected to increase by another 10% next year.
Until recently, medical tourism used to be a fringe option. In MedFlight911's experience, it has been more common for us to transport patients back to the U.S. for treatment. We have also helped foreign patients who insurance companies insist that they return home, as was the case with a pregnant patient who had to return to France for treatment.
Why the shift? Some procedures, like orthopedic surgery or bariatric operations can cost thousands of dollars less when performed in Mexico, Costa Rica and other countries. And, with insurance deductibles commonly at ten thousand dollars or more, patients are looking for new options. Recently, we have seen both insurers and employers, in efforts to decrease costs, encouraging patients to travel for care, often providing a dedicated case manager to oversee arrangements. Often these patients travel via air ambulance to and from their treatment, which was the case with Stephanie Deasy, a MedFlight911 patient who traveled to Mexico to get treatment for lung cancer. Patients also may travel with an air medical escort either on the way their or back.
There are many issues you need to take into consideration when traveling for medical treatment. We would love to discuss your medical transport options. At MedFlight911, we work to provide the type of medical transport a patient needs regardless of where they are receiving treatment.
To learn more about our medical transport options at MedFlight911, calls us at (888) 359-1911 or get a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.