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"What will be required to increase the quality of life and health is a coming together of technology and values, based on a scientific guiding principle that people can agree on"

- Doc Childre

Medical Tourism

The lure of affordable medical care with room service is a great draw.  In some regions the public health-care system is so overburdened that it can take years to get needed care.  The waiting period for a hip replacement can be a year or more, while in Bangkok or Bangalore, a patient can be in the operating room the morning after getting off a plane.  But, the real attraction is the price. The cost of surgery in high-quality care in some developing countries can be less than one-tenth and the death rate during surgery less than half of most major hospitals in the US.  Also the waiting period is non-existent.  These surgical procedures are performed with the same technology and expertise, yet cost a fraction of the price.  The cost savings come from the waste of paperwork in the US.  As much as 80% of all healthcare dollars cover nothing but paperwork.  Doctors' employ armies of people to reclassify procedures to get paid by insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid.  As a medical tourist in another country, these paperwork shufflers are eliminated and one can save as much as 80% right off the bat.

Another reason for affordable surgical procedures overseas is because of lack of liabilities.  In the US, doctors and hospitals carry extremely expensive medical malpractice insurance policies. In contrast, as a medical tourist you sign a paperwork that says you agree not to sue under certain conditions. Thus, you save a fortune by essentially not funding the legal fees, settlements and malpractice insurance costs normally found in a U.S. based healthcare practice.  These two savings combined, the paperwork shuffling reduction and the medical malpractice lawsuits, offers an incredible deal for a dollar.

This market will continue to expand in the years ahead. In 2005, approximately half a million foreign patients traveled to India for medical care, whereas in 2002, the number was only 150,000.  By 2015, the health of the vast Baby Boom generation will have begun its slow, final decline and will represent a significant market for inexpensive, high-quality medical care.  With an estimated 43 million people in the US without health insurance and 120 million without dental coverage, and both likely to grow, foreign health-care options will be attractive requiring extensive data transfer.


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