There are plenty of reasons to travel, from business to seeing the sights, and now, more than ever, for medical procedures. At home, seeking treatments for medical issues can take weeks, or months on a waiting list. Patients experiencing roadblocks in terms of treatments have been known to opt for medical tourism to access the treatment that they need.
What is Medical Tourism?
The Greeks are often praised for their architecture and beautiful landscapes, but they are also noteworthy for their innovative ideas, including the idea of traveling for health. While we have come a long way in terms of our modern medical systems and care, one of their ideas is still gaining steam: medical tourism.
In a broad sense, medical tourism is the idea of traveling to another province, state or country to access medical care. The most common reasons to visit another location for procedures, often revolve around cosmetic surgery or fertility treatments, but can extend to surgical practices, as well.
In the past, medical tourism consisted of patients traveling from smaller, less developed countries, to locations with more modernized medical systems and technology. In more recent years, there has been a strong shift, accommodating those traveling from developed countries for lower priced medical care and reduced wait times. The longer that procedures are delayed, the more discomfort patients will experience, exacerbating conditions and leading to pain and a loss of quality of life.
Canadian health care systems are under extreme strain, which has only grown over the last several years. With high demand on medical facilities, necessary surgical procedures have been subject to longer and longer wait times. In order to combat this, more and more medical tourism destinations are becoming increasingly available to Canadian patients.
The Benefits of Medical Care Abroad
Throughout North America, medical tourists will travel from different countries to receive care for a wide variety of reasons. When in the United States, for example, medical tourists might opt to travel elsewhere to avoid the high cost of health care procedures.
Cost: While public health care can lead to long wait times, private medical care mean extremely high costs. It is an appealing alternative to travel to another country to receive treatment, and return home afterward.
Ease of Travel: It has never been easier to get on a plane! With tons of flight options to hundreds of countries, and economical airfare with a variety of airlines, there has never been a better time to partake in medical travel.
Long Wait Times: receiving treatments or medical procedures abroad can alleviate long wait times, and help to improve quality of life quicker than in your home country.
Insurance: With a rise in medical tourism, insurance companies are taking note of the advantages for both patients and the health care system overall. Many health insurance agencies are beginning to include aspects of the medical tourism industry into their coverage, make it even easier.