Medical Tourism (why folks are getting their teeth cleaned in Hungary, their noses tweaked in Costa Rica and their hips resurfaced in India)

Will Pearson

"This year alone, upwards of 500,000 Americans are expected to travel overseas to get their bodies fixed, at prices 30 to 80 percent less than at home." This is what Krysten Crawford writes in the August issue of Business 2.0. It's a fascinating article about the growing medical tourism industry.

Some other facts from the article:

  • There are more than 61 million Americans who are uninsured or don't have sufficient health insurance.
  • Experts estimate medical tourism will become a $40 billion/yr industry by 2010.
  • Because of this exploding industry, medical tourism agencies are starting to pop up. These agencies arrange everything from the actual medical visits to the hotel stays to sightseeing tours for patients and their families.
  • Where people are going and why:
    Hungary - Cheap dental care
    Malaysia - Heart surgery
    Brazil - Liposuction and plastic surgery
    Costa Rica - Nose jobs and other plastic surgery
    China - Liver and kidney transplants (the article warns that this is dangerous and should be avoided)
    India - Hip resurfacing