As we reach adulthood, we subscribe to medical and dental insurance, either voluntarily or mandated by the company, in order to shoulder our medical expenses should any emergency or unexpected cases happen. Normally, medical and dental insurance coverage are only applicable for domestic affairs, meaning you need to be within the country of your domain to be able to use it. But high costs and affordability actually prompt us to think of medical tourism. Before you start signing up for medical tourism, you might want to read this and learn how it can and how it can’t actually help you.
What is Medical Tourism?
By definition, medical or dental tourism is a financial coverage used by a person who’s currently outside of his or her home country while undergoing a medical or dental treatment. The coverage of the medical tourism can vary depending on the country and policy the user has subscribed for. For example, for American citizens, medical tourism can be used and is logistically possible if they travel between U.S./Mexico or U.S./Canadian borders just for an afternoon errand. It can also be used in faraway visit such as visiting the Far East (e.g. Thailand or India).
An international travel health website such as Patients Beyond Borders estimated that around 1.4 million Americans crosses the border and spend an average 3,800 to $6,000 per visit to seek medical or dental care. They’ve also listed some of the most popular destinations the Americans love to travel:
How Much Money Can You Actually Save from Acquiring Medical or Dental Tourism?
We got to admit that the price and coverage will vary depending on various variables. However, there are certain examples or basis in which you can use it as a source to get an estimated price how much you can save when availing this type of insurance.
Note: This sample computation is based on a dental crown replacement a customer had undergone last year.
- The total cost of the procedure from the local dentist was around $1,115. When the insurance benefit was applied, the total cost was cut down at around $453.
- The price at a random dentist in Mexico estimated around $180.
When it comes to the cost of safety concerns, you should consider a lot of things before deciding to acquire medical or dental tourism. This is because even if you can benefit with cash bundle or wait-time, this option isn’t available for everyone.
Advantages of Acquiring Medical Tourism
Even though we can say that it’s technically an additional expense for us, there are certainly perks you can get from having a medical tourism. According to the World Health Organization, here are the following advantages you can get:
- Access to the most advanced technology: 40%
- Better quality care for medically-necessary procedures: 32%
- Quicker access to medically-necessary procedures: 15%
- Lower cost care for medically-necessary procedures: 9%
- Lower cost care for elective procedures: 4%
Medical tourism has its advantages in that you have access to better technology and faster medical care at a lower cost than what you may have available in your own proximity,” said Dr. Constantine George, “However, be sure your doctor or specialist follows up with you or your local primary care doctor to ensure there are no possible complications.”
Disadvantages of Acquiring Medical tourism
Likewise, it’s also appropriate to discuss the repercussions and risks we’re taking when acquiring medical tourism. What does it mean if we aid medical treatments outside our beloved homeland?
- Language barriers where the medical personnel is not speaking your native language. This can cause delay or miscommunication while you’re undergoing treatment.
- Medication may counterfeit for the poor quality, unlike when you’re consulting with your usual specialist.
- Risk of exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in some countries
- Flying after the surgery can trigger post-surgical problems.
“Being away from the specialist who performed the procedure may be a disadvantage in that they can’t assess the follow up as accurately, and this responsibility will fall into the hands of your doctor at home,” noted Dr. George.
What do you think about medical tourism? Is it worth taking a shot? We’d love to hear your opinion…