Save money on healthcare abroad
Patients are growing accustomed to the idea of seeking healthcare solutions overseas. More often than not, this patient empowerment is motivated by a need to find high quality medical services for a fraction of the cost in their home countries.
But it isn’t always easy to choose the best healthcare destinations. To make this potentially intimidating search a lot more simple, we at MEDIGO have buckled down and compiled a list of the leading medical tourism hotspots. Our curated marketplace of high quality clinics and hospitals have plenty of experience servicing international patients.
You can also see which clinics have been awarded JCI accreditation. The Joint Commission International (JCI) is an organization that evaluates international hospitals based on rigorous quality and outcome standards. MEDIGO also provides you information on which procedures are available, the cost of these procedures, and what language services are offered. And of course we pay special attention to how desirable the destination is for overseas visitors. International hospitals in countries have built up reputations in various specialties and procedures. Here’s the ultimate guide of the world’s leading healthcare destinations and in which medical specialties these countries excel.
Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh, Thailand
Thailand is now the most affordable medical destination, with many procedures costing 40% to 60% less than the same treatment in America and the EU. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has reported that patients from Southeast Asia make up 80% of Thailand’s medical tourists. Thailand has earned a strong reputation over the years as the capital of sex reassignment surgery, but there is a wealth of other procedures on offer, such as cosmetic treatments, dentistry, and traditional Thai medicine.
Many medical tourists who visit Malaysia are from other Asian countries as well as from the UK, Australia, and the Middle East. It is believed that 12,000 American medical tourists visit the country annually. According to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, 60% of health travelers come from Indonesia. Patients visit for In vitro fertilization, oncology, general surgery, and gynecology procedures. In 2013, it was reported that between 560,000 and 700,000 medical tourists visited Malaysia.
Germany has a reputation as one of the world's leading nations for oncology, with a number of advanced treatment centers and cancer specialists. Patients travel to Germany from all corners of the globe for cancer treatment, usually as they are not able to access specialist care in their home country. Hospitals providing oncology treatment can be found across Germany, from the major cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Dortmund to smaller towns renowned for the quality of care such as Heidelberg, Siegburg and Wiesbaden.
Mt. Arenal, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a country known for its serene atmosphere and a landscape which is composed of rain forests and miles of unspoiled coastline. The country has JCI-accredited hospitals as well as many private clinics, where its medical tourism sector continues to grow at an annual rate of 15% to 20% according to findings by Promed in 2011. They mostly offer specialized procedures in cosmetic surgery, orthopedics, gynecology, and dentistry. Costa Rica’s health system ranks higher than the US and is almost half the cost. This is why it is unsurprising that 90% of their medical tourists are American and Canadian. Others mostly visit from Spain and Brazil (Medical Tourism Research: Facts And Figures 2014, by Ian Youngman).
Many of the clinics in Mexico are owned by American companies or hospitals which offer airport pick-up, and even chauffeur services to and from restaurants and sightseeing locations. Mexico now boasts seven JCI-accredited hospitals. Many of them in Mexico are US-owned and operated. Patients frequently visit from the USA and Canada for dentistry, however other highly sought after treatments include cosmetic surgery, bariatric surgery, and general medicine.
Istanbul, Turkey, view from the Bosphorus channel
The world class health and medical treatments, spa and wellness, dentistry, and cosmetic surgery, are why many medical tourists gravitate towards Turkey. Visiting from Australia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, the Netherlands, Russia, Syria, UK, and the USA, it is estimated that 32% of Turkey’s patients are medical tourists. The demand for cosmetic procedures has increased dramatically over the past year. For example, the demand for butt lifts has increased by 145%, with a 107% increase in hair transplants.
In the past few decades, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has cemented its reputation for opulence and high class health services. Situated in the Middle East, between Oman and Saudi Arabia the country attracts many medical tourists from the USA, the UK, Russia, South Africa, and China. The country is often visited for popular procedures including plastic surgery, abdominal surgery, orthopedics, dentistry, and skin care. According to the Dubai Health Authority, the number of medical tourists is set to soar to between 500,000 and 2 million in 2020.
Poland is an attractive destination to medical tourists who find its natural hot springs, historic old towns and scenic landscapes very inviting. Many visit from Canada, China, Europe, Saudi Arabia, and the USA, for dentistry and cosmetic surgery including breast augmentation. In fact, since 2013 the country has seen a 57% rise in demand for breast implants.
Throughout history, Hungary has offered natural balms for ailed bodies in the form of mineral springs and spas in the capital Budapest. A 2008 report by Healthcare Europa reported that the country’s dental clinics account for 80% of all foreign patients to Hungary, not to mention 40% of the world’s dental tourists. Many patients visit from neighbouring German and Swiss cities, as well as Russia, and the UK. However, the country’s quaint European charm is also beginning to attract American patients, 50 million of whom lacked the correct health care insurance in 2013 (Medical Tourism Resource Guide U.S.).
Home of the "Brazilian butt lift," in 2014 Brazil eclipsed the US as the world leader in aesthetic and plastic surgery according to International Society for Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery. 1 in 5 butt augmentations performed in the world are done in Brazil by the more than 5,500 plastic surgeons who live there. Plastic surgery aside, Brazil is already a popular tourist destination for its beautiful beaches and colorful culture. Every year Carnival in Rio De Janeiro draws party-goers from all over the world dressed in extravagant costumes.
From the medicinal spas of Budapest to the sacred temples of Thailand — you will be sure to find a travel destination in the world which suits you. Just remember the golden rule: thoroughly research both the clinic and the location before you go!