Encouraging stats along with the upcoming US healthcare amendments are sure to bring in cheers for the global medical tourism sector. The US has been one of the highest contributors of the beyond the border medical travel for obvious reasons. 1, 40,000 Americans are estimated to travel abroad for cost effective medical care in 2016.
As per the stats released by Future Market Insights, the growth of outbound medical services market in US is projected from $15.53 billion in 2016 to $150.36 billion by 2026.
The burgeoning geriatric and uninsured population and the rising healthcare cost continue to be the strong drivers for outbound medical tourism, and the trend is likely to heighten with the probable implementation of Trumpcare.
Current healthcare insurance scenario in the US:
A huge percentage of the US population is already bogged down due to lack of adequate healthcare insurance coverage and is struggling to meet the rising medical expenses. Even from the insured group, it is estimated that about 10 million Americans aged 19-64 would be handed out medical bills beyond their affordability.
The mounting healthcare cost in the US is so scary that it may lead millions of Americans towards bankruptcy. Already a handsome population is opting for credit card payment to clear the pending healthcare bills. [www.medicaltourism.com]
As per the data released by CDC:
- 4 million people in the US below 65 years of age are uninsured
- Only 25.3% of people aged below 65 are having access to public healthcare insurance.
- Only 18.9% adults aged between 18 and 64 are covered under public healthcare insurance.
- 6% of the US population below 65 years of age is covered under private healthcare insurance which is costlier or provided by employers.
Inclination towards medical tourism:
On the other hand, the medical tourism option offers a much better scenario where the healthcare seeker is spared of tiring waiting times and can save 35-65% savings in the healthcare costs even taking into account the traveling and accommodation expenses.
Again, Nerd Wallet Health analysis says that 56 million US citizens below 65 years of age will struggle in paying medical bills. This is going to add up to the future outbound medical tourism crowd.
It is a fact that the global uninsured population is contributing most to beyond the border medical travel eyeing a saving of 50-70% in treatment costs, which they are availing either in their neighboring countries or are taking long flights to distant lands.
With prevailing favorable conditions for outbound medical tourism in the country, the proposed Trumpcare is set to take this sector few more steps ahead in near future.
Probable fallouts of Trumpcare:
- Uncertainty still prevails in Trumpcare implementation. If this becomes the law of the land, it will see 22 million more US people out of insurance coverage taking the number of uninsured persons to 49 million, almost double the existing numbers.
- The baby-boomers, the dominant population since 1950s needing more healthcare insurance coverage would be the worst sufferers as certain limitations imposed by Obamacare capping the benefits of the insurance companies would be removed.
Baby-boomers to pay more:
While the insurance companies would be making hay, it would be the increased number of uninsured population including the baby-boomers looking for affordable healthcare support beyond the border.
Under the new guidelines proposed in Trumpcare, older US citizens above 64 years of age whose estimated annual income of $56,800 in 2026 would have to shell out 3 times higher insurance costs of about $20,500 than the existing Affordable Healthcare Act or Obamacare. Not only the aged population, but the middle and lower income group will also be out of the insurance coverage.
Rise in JCI accreditations erasing apprehensions of medical travel:
With the apprehension looming regarding insurmountable healthcare cost in the upcoming healthcare amendment, people who were earlier hesitant in availing healthcare support abroad would now be compelled to consider this option.
The US medical travelers mostly prefer Costa Rica, Brazil and Mexico mainly due to the geographical proximity and the availability of JCI accredited clinics where quality of treatment is ensured with almost zero risk factors.
Mexico continues to be the dream destination of the US citizens as evident from the rise in number of US based tourist footfalls by millions since 2013.
The average cost savings in healthcare that can be availed in the preferred destination countries compared to that available in US is as follows:
- Mexico: 40-65%
- Costa Rica: 45-65%
- Brazil: 20-30%
- Thailand: 50-75%
- Malaysia: 65-80%
- India: 65-90%
- South Korea: 30-45%
The experience of the US medical travelers is also quite good as revealed from the surveys conducted by MTA:
- Almost 85% of the medical tourists from US reported getting more personalized care and service than that available in homeland.
- About 86% of the US medical tourists are willing for a repeat medical tourism venture.
With the well organized service of medical tourism facilitators pitching in at the right time, medical tourism for US citizens would be quite hassle free, which would be highly boosting for the existing medical tourism market.