Top 6 Reasons for Medical Travel

There are a number of reasons that people travel for medical treatment, some of which generate outbound traffic while others bring inbound patients from abroad to any given country.  For our analysis, we’ve attributed six key driving factors to this movement of people across eight distinct geographies (Asia, Africa, Oceania, United States, Canada, Latin America, Middle East, and Europe).  The six factors are as follows: (1) advanced technology, (2) center of excellence status, (3) presence of insurance alternatives, (4) lower cost, (5) shorter waiting periods, and (6) relaxed medical regulations.  To illustrate, we’ve paired a distinct patient experience with each of the six reasons:

1.  Advanced Technology - Six year-old Matisse Reid, from New Zealand, traveled with her family to Pittsburgh, PA, for a multi-organ transplant.

2.  Center of Excellence – Tea Allegri, from Venezuela, traveled with her husband, Luigi, to Rochester, Minnesota, for breast cancer treatment.

3.  Insurance Alternatives – Cherie Downie, from Sarasota, FL, traveled to Costa Rica for a hip replacement. She couldn’t wait until age 65 for Medicare to cover the operation.

4.  Lower Cost – Dinora Gonzales, from Atlanta GA, traveled to Costa Rica for dental procedures and as a result saved approximately $49,000.

5.  Shorter Waiting Periods – Bill Moore, from Canada, traveled to India for a gastric bypass. He would have had to wait 2 to 3 years to have the procedure done locally.

6.  Relaxed Medical Regulations - Dave Harasym, from Canada, is a former multiple sclerosis patient who traveled to Costa Rica for a liberation procedure. This procedure is not permitted in his country of residence.

These experiences provide a window into why people are compelled to travel for healthcare and demonstrate how people have achieved their best state of health when local treatment was not feasible.

by Ellery Bledsoe & Crystal Osejo