Why Don’t More Americans Look at Medical Tourism as a way to Ease Their Healthcare Costs?
Have Americans become so insular and withdrawn behind their borders that they simply accept their fate and pay through the nose for healthcare costs and insurance premiums?
If more Americans would look beyond their borders at what countries like Thailand are offering in the way of healthcare services, they would see that they actually do have a perfectly viable alternative to the insurance companies and HMOs that seem to ruling their lives.
An Actual Medical Scenario in Thailand
Consider this actual scenario that happened to a neighbor. The neighbor had an apparent stroke and was rushed to the hospital by his wife. After being examined in the ER and given a CAT scan, he was admitted and spent the night in the intensive care unit.
The next morning he was examined by both a cardiologist and neurologist. He was transferred to a private room as his condition had stabilized. He had an MRI performed which verified his diagnosis. He was given medication and his condition was monitored 24 hours a day for the next three days.
At the end of three days he was discharged along with 30 days’ worth of medication and follow-up appointments and a given a bill for his hospital stay and treatment – the cost of that bill? It was around $1,000. Nope, that’s not a typo. The total cost of his hospital stay was around one-thousand dollars.
Of course, it’s not practical to get on a plane when you have an emergency condition that needs immediate treatment. But, we’re just using this as an example to underline both the capabilities of the Thai medical profession and the savings that can be had by utilizing Thailand’s excellent healthcare services.
Trumpcare May Have Failed, but Americans Still Face an Uncertain Healthcare Future
Thankfully, the disastrous act that came to be known as ‘Trumpcare’ crashed before it even got off the ground. However, Americans still face an uncertain future in the face of continued rises in the costs of healthcare and continued increases in healthcare insurance premiums.
Go beyond the borders of the US, however and the future looks a lot brighter. The fact is that the US is one of the worst options to choose as a place to have a non-emergency or elective procedure performed.
Take the cost of a hip replacement for example. In the US the average cost of this surgery is over $39,000. In Thailand the average cost of a hip replacement is under $9,000. If you were on the hook for the total cost of the surgery, you’d still save money even if you flew business class to Thailand and stayed in 4-star accommodations while you recuperated there.
Taking a Medical Vacation to Thailand is a No-Brainer
The concept of medical tourism is certainly not new. With tourist visas that can be extended to allow you to stay in the country for up to 3 months, the Thai government is certainly aware of and encourages the benefits that medical tourism provides to the country’s economy.
Bangkok Hospital, one of the top-rated and the largest hospital group in the country, has excellent facilities in the resort areas of Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Phuket among its 40 other locations around the country. Wouldn’t you rather recuperate in a tropical, paradise resort, enjoying some of Thailand’s famous hospitality and gazing out at stunning beaches and mountains?
Thai hospitals honor most types of healthcare plans. However, even if you have insurance and are not paying for the entire cost of the procedure, Thailand can still be the preferred destination.
Flights from Dulles International in Washington D.C. (IAD) by ANA and United Airlines are as low as $630 to Bangkok. Flights from Los Angeles’ (LAX) on Japan’s ANA Airline can be bought for as little as $463. And, these flights are round-trip.
Watch what Morgan Spurlock has to say about Medical Tourism, Thai-style.
The decision to take a medical vacation to Thailand seems to be a no-brainer, given the options and frankly we’re a bit confused why this hasn’t become a hot topic in the US.
We’d like to hear the opinions of Americans. What do you think is the reason why relatively few Americans have embraced the trend toward Medical Tourism overseas?