What Are the Best Places to Travel for Affordable Healthcare?

Healthcare

For decades, healthcare costs in the US have been consistently ranking among the highest ones worldwide. But it is only thanks to today’s low-cost international tourism and cutting-edge emerging healthcare technologies that Americans today have a second, just-as-viable choice: traveling abroad to access affordable healthcare. 

But what should your medical tourism destination be? While a lot depends on the kind of treatment or procedure you are looking to get, some places have always stood out for the affordability and quality of their healthcare systems – starting with the ones below.

Thailand 

Every year, Thailand welcomes over 3.3 million foreigners looking to access affordable healthcare – and the country’s medical tourism trend is not slowing down!

The number of medical tourists has steadily been rising over the past 2 decades, accounting for 30-50% of the patients in Bangkok’s hospitals. 

There are many reasons why Thailand ranks among the top global medical tourism destinations, including the fact that the country boasts over 1,000 hospitals, some of which with international certifications like the ISO9001 and the JCI accreditation.

As international English-speaking doctors are attracted to the country, Thailand has become a hub for international excellence in medical fields like gender reassignment surgeries, cardiology, and dental care.

What’s more, without compromising on quality, Thailand offers procedures at a fraction of the price at which they are offered in the US. For example, a heart bypass, which costs an average of $130,000 in the US, is available in Thailand for around $11,000.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is certainly a rising star in the world of international medical tourism. As reported by a specialized Medical Information Blog, the city is now providing affordable and high-quality healthcare, also thanks to the pace at which new healthcare technologies and advanced telemedicine are adopted. 

In Hong Kong, medical insurance policies cover up to 90% of medical expenses, and procedures are far more affordable than in the US. For example, a colonoscopy, which costs around $3,000 in the US, is accessible at half of the price in Hong Kong. 

India

Medical tourism is undeniably one of the most prominent post-pandemic travel trends – and India retains its rank as one of the most popular destinations for medical tourists. Every year, the country welcomes nearly half a million foreigners looking to access high-quality and affordable medical care. 

In particular, India is renowned for its state-of-the-art facilities and high-quality, English-speaking medical personnel.

The country remains a leading destination for patients looking for specialized treatments like hip replacement surgeries ($1000-$10,000 in India vs $32,000 on average in the US) and bone marrow transplantation ($25,000 in India vs $400,000-900,000 in the US).

Malaysia

Malaysia receives over 1.3 million healthcare tourists every year, making it one of the leading destinations in the medical tourism landscape. The country is one of the fastest-growing medical hubs in Asia, boosted by the 50-75% increase in government spending on healthcare. 

In particular, Malaysia is known for its facilities and internationally-trained, English-speaking healthcare personnel, specializing in fields like cardiology, oncology, and orthopedics. 

Singapore

Digital healthcare, AI, and Smart Cities are undoubtedly the emerging trends set to reshape the healthcare industry. For patients looking to take advantage of these new technologies, Singapore is a must-visit destination. 

The Garden City is among today’s leading Smart Cities and boasts one of the most sophisticated healthcare systems. Regardless of the high cost of living in Singapore, US medical tourists can access world-class treatments at a fraction of the price.

In particular, the country specializes in fields like cardiology, cosmetic surgery, cancer treatment, and ophthalmology.

Finding Affordable Healthcare Closer to Home

The destinations seen above are some of the best ones US citizens might visit to access affordable healthcare. What’s more, due to the lower cost of living, English-speaking personnel, and wide range of accommodation options, the places above offer an all-around great experience to medical tourists. 

But for those looking to stay closer to home, there are some viable options like:

  • Canada
  • Costa Rica
  • Mexico 
  • Panama

No matter the chosen destination, it is essential for patients to carry out comprehensive due diligence before undergoing medical treatments in foreign or unfamiliar places.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.