8 countries for medical tourism

It is natural to assume that medical services, hospitals and doctors in the West (e.g. US and UK) would be superior to other countries, especially third world countries. However, over the past decade many Asian and South American countries have been building up their hospitals and services to draw medical tourists and boost the local economy. Today their hospitals rank among the world’s best. Here’s a list of some of the top countries and what they specialize in.

  1. Mexico: While not popular with actual surgeries, many people in the southwestern part of the United States travel across the border to Mexico for medical care. The uninsured and the under-insured in the United States find it much easier to pay the lower prices in Mexico for doctor’s visits and prescriptions than the inflated U.S. prices.  It is all about value when traveling to Mexico and you definitely can get more for your dollar.
  2. Turkey: The JCI (Joint Commission International) is the hospital accrediting body in the United States. Basically, they know which hospitals are the good ones. Turkey actually has the most JCI accredited facilities outside of the United States and specializes in eye surgeries.
  3. Hungary:  Hungary, which has more dentists per capita than anywhere else in the world, is known for dental work. Dental procedures like implants, veneers and oral surgeries are popular and are offered at just 25 percent of the cost that an American dentist would charge.
  4. Brazil: It only goes to reason that the country that gave us the Brazilian bikini and the corresponding Brazilian bikini wax, would be tops in cosmetic surgeries. In fact, Brazil has more plastic surgeons per capita than any country in the world.

The leading Asian countries

  1. South Korea: Specializing in spinal surgeries and cancer research, South Korea has long been a leader in medical tourism to Asia.
  2. Singapore: This little Asian country is a powerhouse in medical tourism. Singapore is the go to place for stem cell therapy. They have liberal laws on stem cell research and a new multi-billion dollar research facility, the likes of which is not even available in the United States.
  3. India: Movies like Slum Dog Millionaire do not paint India in the best light but the country has seen a 30% increase in international patients in recent years. India specializes in expensive cardiac and orthopedic surgeries and charges about 10 percent of comparable surgeries in US. See video below.

8. Thailand: Perhaps unsurprising Thailand is best known for sex change operation. But it offers a wide range of treatments and services – practically everything from bypass to cosmetic surgery to dental work. Bumrungrad Hospital, the largest of Thailand’s many JCI accredited hospitals, treats over 350,000 international patients a year – more than any other hospital in the world.

When you need medical care it may pay to shop around (the world). Obviously you must proceed with great caution, do your research and always double-check with your professional medical advisors before traveling for any serious procedure.


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