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Why the Medical Tourism movement picking momentum and what is driving the change

For an average person not familiar with medical tourism, the flow of patients from developed economies to medical centers in developing countries may seem bizarre. However, the fact remains that the standard of care provided by MT destinations in the third world is quickly reaching international standards while costing remarkably cheaper. We examine why medical tourism is one of the fasting developing tourism and healthcare segment today.


The numbers

India, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia have become top medical tourism destination for around six million citizens from the U.S. alone. By the year 2017, the number is expected to cross 15 million. With the influx of medical tourists, these countries too are enjoying an economic boost to the tune of $4.4 billion-plus per year which is offering them the chance to further improve their medical tourism facilities and reduce cost of treatments as well as travel and stay for medical tourists.

Medical tourism can be undertaken during paid annual vacation

Missing work because you need to have an important surgery done means that a worker would need to avail a paid sick leave. While 127 countries around the world provide roughly a week or more worth of paid sick leave days annually for workers in the public sectors, most private sector workers do not have access to them. If the global average is considered, 78% of hotel workers and food service workers do not get paid sick leave days and 79% of workers in low-wage sectors do not get paid sick leave.

Most countries in the developed world, apart from the US, provide workers with between 1-5 weeks of paid annual vacation or statutory minimum employment leave. And even in the U.S., an employer may provide paid annual vacation to workers for up to 2 weeks depending on the sector. Since most kinds of surgeries require a patient to spend time in recovery, getting these done during a longer vacation is certainly a lot less stressful.


Costs matter

Thanks to the rising cost of healthcare in the developing world, many patients, especially those living on tight budgets like lower-wage workers and retirees, prefer to get expensive treatments done abroad. By conservative estimates, getting a medical treatment done at a medial tourism destination abroad can represent savings of up to 60 percent than if the same treatment is sought locally in a development nation.

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