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America Shows Rise in Medical Tourism

Some people in America are following the advice of the old adage; if you don?t like it here, leave. More people than ever are choosing to go abroad for their medical services instead of paying the high healthcare cost here in America.

By: Joshua Daly
Some people in America are following the advice of the old adage; if you don?t like it here, leave. More people than ever are choosing to go abroad for their medical services instead of paying the high healthcare cost here in America.

Josef Woodman, the author of a guidebook on the topic called Patients Beyond Borders, conservatively estimates that more than 150,000 Americans traveled abroad for health care in 2006. Woodman said that many experts believe the number is as high as 400,000. Woodman believes more Americans are seeking their medical services elsewhere because of the rising U.S. health-care costs and a growing numbers of uninsured or under-insured Americans.

In many states, new health travel agents have begun to appear. According to HealthDay, ?Salud con Health Net, a program of Health Net of California, provides access to health care for their insured Latino participants for services conducted across the border in Mexico. And BlueCross/BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina now offer medical care at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, among treatment options. Bumrungrad treats more than 400,000 international patients every year.?

According to medicaltourist.com, the price savings can be astronomical. A hip replacement that would cost $43,000 in the United States costs $12,000 in Thailand or Singapore. A Hysterectomy that would cost $20,000 here only cost $3,000 India.

Dr. Ann Marie Kimball, a professor of epidemiology and health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, in Seattle said, "My own advice would be to look carefully at the accreditation of the hospital and consider the nature of the procedure. Are you sure it is the procedure you need? And is it done well at the place you are going?"

According to HealthDay, ?A growing number of overseas hospitals are accredited under the Joint Commission International, the international arm of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO), which accredits U.S. hospitals and other facilities.?

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Joshua Daly is the author of many health related articles as well as the President of ePharmacies.com. Joshua's goal is to help consumers save money and make better informed decisions. Click here for more information on ordering from a discount online pharmacy.