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What is Medical Tourism?

Medical tourism is the concept of travelling to another country to undergo a health care treatment or procedure. As healthcare costs in the United States, Australia and other parts of the world are excessively soaring, many employers and insurance companies start to view medical tourism as a way to lower them. More and more countries around the globe are starting to see the benefits from this emerging market, so they offer premium medical services at notably lower prices.


With the advancements in technology, education, training and facilities in countries such as Malaysia, Turkey, Hungary, Mexico and Thailand; combined with the sky-rocketing prices of medical treatment costs in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; more and more people are choosing to travel abroad to undergo a medical or health treatment. Globally, more than 50 countries have made medical tourism a national industry. It is important to know that there a wide range of services provided, as well as quality and accreditation within those services. The major reasons why millions of people are choosing medical tourism is due to the equivalent, or at times better medical services and treatment options available locally, along with the cost savings combined with little to no wait times. There are also the added advantages of enjoying a holiday pre, or post-treatment.

The most popular procedures done abroad are cosmetic surgeries. In fact, it is estimated that over 15,000 Australians and over 1.4 million Americans will travel overseas in 2016 to undergo medical treatments such as knee reconstructions and cardiac surgeries; as well as cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentations and rhinoplasty procedures. (Source: Patients Beyond Borders 2016)

There has also been an increase of non-cosmetic procedures, with people seeking a wider range of medical treatments such as spinal surgeries, neck surgeries, joint replacements, fertility treatments, etc. Although some countries such as Australia provides exceptional health care benefits to it citizens, the long waiting periods and high private treatment costs stand as a deterrent to many seeking treatment. In some instances, even when airfares and accommodation are taken into account, patients are still as much as 50% of the cost, when compared to getting the same procedure done in Australia. Although the initial decision might have been financial in nature, people are discovering that the staff and facilities are professional, clean, and there is no waiting time. Feedback received by the Malaysian Healthcare Tourism Council shows that many international patients have found the treatment options and services to be far more superior and advanced than they had expected, especially for the price they have paid!

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