Medical tourism is a term used to describe when people travel outside of their country to another country in order to receive medical treatment in some form or other. This is a booming industry that is only becoming more popular over the years.
One of the biggest reasons for the increased popularity and growth of the medical tourism industry is the high cost of healthcare in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. This is a trend seen in countries like the United States where healthcare costs have been rising over the years despite people signing up for private health insurance.
Medical tourism and the United States healthcare system
There are many disadvantages to private medical insurance in the United States. For one thing, health insurance monthly premiums can be as high as $1000 a month (or even higher) for a family plan. The other problem is that often the insurance company limits which providers you can see and which services or treatments you qualify for.
This means that often, pre-authorization is needed for procedures, which takes time and you may even be denied coverage. Most private health insurance companies in the past were HMO or PPO systems, and although the PPO was slightly better in terms of how many doctors you could visit, there were still limitations. You generally are only allowed to visit in-network physicians and clinics in both HMO and PPO systems. This can mean long waiting times to get procedures done.
The other problem, of course, is that many medical procedures may be deemed by your health insurance provider to be not medically necessary. Even though you can appeal such decisions, odds are you will not gain coverage and so any cosmetic procedure will be unlikely to be covered. The shocking reality is that many people in the United States become bankrupt due to medical costs with insurance companies also placing lifetime limits on how much they pay out.
This means if you have a chronic illness that is expensive, you are at risk of serious financial problems. The odds of this happening are quite high especially as a person ages and is more likely to get cancer and need expensive treatments. Although the United States does have some social support services in the form of social security, medicare and medicaid, these systems are also limited in how much money they release and how much support they give you over your lifetime. The government may also decide where and when you can get treatment and from who. This becomes a problem and can result in a delay which further jeopardizes your healthcare.
The cost of medical care in the United States is often significantly higher than in other countries, which has spurred the growth of medical tourism by Americans. Many Americans travel to Canada, Mexico or Brazil for cosmetic procedures such as liposuction or breast augmentation. The quality of care can vary tremendously though, and even though everything may work out okay, there are horror stories of people with botched procedures. It is a case of ‘buyer beware’, because a very cheap clinic may have a bad record and may not even have qualified staff performing a procedure. On the other hand, there may be excellent clinics and physicians performing affordable work in these same countries.
Medical tourism and the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has a different type of health coverage compared to the United States, which is provided by the government and is called the National Health Service. The advantage of this system is that it is paid for by taxation and everybody in the country receives coverage. The disadvantage of this system is that there may be long waiting times and once again, cosmetic procedures are unlikely to be covered.
Cosmetic work includes hair transplant surgery; dental work such as crowns, implants, and dental veneers; various body sculpturing procedures such as liposuction, breast augmentation and reduction, nose jobs and butt lifts. The costs of cosmetic procedures such as those just mentioned are very high in the United Kingdom because it is almost always the case that you have to pay out of pocket costs.
This high cost is the number one reason that UK residents look into medical tourism as a viable option for getting medical procedures done. One of the most popular places to go for cosmetic work is Turkey, which has many first rate medical clinics and internationally accredited professionals ready to help you. You can find out more about the pros and cons of the UK when it comes to cosmetic procedures such as hair transplant procedures by visiting the Vera Clinic.
Turkey is in a good location for many medical tourists and has the experience in dealing with foreign customers. Regardless of where you go to have your work done you should be very careful to choose an accredited clinic with qualified specialists.