Medical tourism is not new. In fact, according to Wikipedia, medical tourism dates back thousands of years when first used by the ancient Greeks, Medical tourism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. What also appears to be true is the increase in medical tourism as a way of dealing with waiting lists or soaring costs; as the world becomes smaller and boomers deal with health care issues.
Citing an organization called Patients Beyond Borders, the Huffington Post noted some 600,000 people would travel abroad for treatment in 2012. However, the expectation is the number of people traveling for medical care will increase 15 to 20% annually as boomers age, Medical Tourism: Why More Boomers Are Going Abroad For Treatment. Estimates on medical tourism from Wikipedia are even higher (international): 750,000 in 2007 to possible growth of a million and a half in 2008.
According to Wikipedia: “Factors that have led to the increasing popularity of medical travel include the high cost of health care, long wait times for certain procedures, the ease and affordability of international travel, and improvements in both technology and standards of care in many countries. The avoidance of waiting times is the leading factor for medical tourism from the UK, whereas in the US, the main reason is cheaper prices abroad.”
In the above-referenced article from the Huffington Post, pertinent examples to US citizens include the comparison of costs for health care, such as coronary artery bypass surgery at a cost of $88,000 in the US versus $9,500 in India, or $33,000 for a hip replacement in the US versus $12,500 in Mexico. For the uninsured or for procedures not covered by insurance in the US the option of medical tourism is gaining increased consideration and credibility. This also includes dental work done in other countries based on comparable cost analysis or cosmetic surgery or other procedures.
Wikipedia also includes information on process as well as health risks in detailing information on medical tourism and should be reviewed by anyone considering treatment elsewhere. For information on international health care rankings see also U.S. medical care surprising international health care rankings - Seattle Retirement Living | Examiner.com