As Medical Tourism Grows, Air Ambulances Step In to Meet a Need
The health care landscape in the U.S. is changing rapidly. It's now more and more common for people to seek treatment outside the U.S. These "medical tourists" may be seeking out cheaper alternatives to high-priced U.S. care, or they may be interested in alternative treatments or procedures that aren't yet available in this country. Often, these patients end up traveling via air ambulance, like Stephanie Deasy, a MedFlight911 patient who traveled to Mexico to get treatment for lung cancer.
Until recently, medical tourism used to be a fringe option. In MedFlight911's experience, it's generally been far more common for us to travel to other countries to bring people back to the U.S. via air ambulance so they can access state-of-the-art care here. Insurance companies rarely covered medical tourism, and patients were often entirely on their own—which can be a pretty scary thing when you're traveling to a foreign country for medical care. Some may have hired an air ambulance or air medical escort to assist them, but many more traveled independently, and at their own risk. Now, however, some major insurers have become more willing to pay for care that patients receive outside the U.S.
The major reason for the shift? Cost. Some procedures, like knee surgery, weight loss surgery and heart surgery, can cost thousands of dollars less when performed in Mexico, Costa Rica and other countries. Insurers and employers who are looking to rein in costs may encourage patients to travel for care, often providing a dedicated case manager to oversee arrangements. Patients may travel with an air medical escort either on the way their or back, and they often enjoy five-star accommodations while recuperating from surgery.
So far, it sounds like medical tourism is a win-win for everyone. But while many people who seek care outside the U.S. are pleased with the results, it's not unheard of for things to go wrong. First, there's the fact that any surgery, even when performed by competent, experienced, and well-trained doctors, comes with the risk of complications. Crime, different standards of care and safety, and infections can also be concerns. And if something goes wrong, you may not have the legal recourse you do in the U.S. However, medical tourism advocates say that provided you make an educated, informed choice, traveling for medical care can be a valid and safe option.
And that's where a company like MedFlight911 comes in. When you're traveling to an unfamiliar location to receive health care, you don't want to go it alone. Instead, you want people on your side who can help you navigate the ins-and-out of traveling with a medical condition. Our team has extensive experience with worldwide air ambulance trips. We know how to negotiate complicated situations and have resources to call on around the globe. We also have experience working with case managers to arrange air ambulance flights for patients. Our team understands that sometimes you can't get the care you need at home. We're here to help you get to where you need to be so that you can get—or stay—healthy.
Are you interested in learning more about MedFlight911's air ambulance services? Give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.