300,000 to 400,000 Americans seeking healthcare abroad in 2007?

Here’s a Forbes article explaining medical tourism’s rise in popularity in the US. With so many people uninsured and healthcare so expensive, it’s really no surprise:

Almost 45 million Americans, or slightly more than 15 percent of the population, are currently uninsured, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2005, the latest available.

Woodman estimated that more than 150,000 Americans traveled abroad for health care in 2006. The number is projected to double in 2007, he said.

“That 150,000 number is conservative,” he said. “Some experts say 400,000.” Among the top destinations: Southeast Asia and Mexico, with many other countries, such as Costa Rica, expected to be the next popular destinations for medical care.

That article has some advice, a few quotes from doctors, but if you’re considering medical tourism, you’ll need more. I recommend Patients Beyond Borders.

Does the fact that Americans are traveling to Thailand, India, Singapore, Mexico, etc. for healthcare mean that the US system is broken?

Patients are evening traveling abroad for alcohol and drug treatment centers offering the same luxury rehab

experience as those found in Malibu or San Francisco for example.

Filed Under: Medical tourism

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  1. Mike says:

    1. A majority of those seeking help outside the US are probably doing so because of FDA issues at home that don’t allow certain drugs to be brought in. I would also assume there are other countries that have specialist’s that are just better in their field, and yes I would agree that some areas are cheaper. There was a story On India recently thats discusses this very thing.

    2. That said, why don’t you also do a survey of how many people come into the US for care because their own is broke down, or they are on a waiting list for treatment as in the UK or Canada.

    3. How many US Doctors go abroad and treat those that can’t afford to come to the US? Latin America especially.(Eyes, Orthopedics, Childrens facial recontructive surgery to name afew).

    4. No other country in the world spends more on research than the US. And many, many hospitals treat by using donations from US companies and people like you and me….The Shriners Burn Hospital in Texas, and the St Jude Childrens Hospital in Memphis to name afew.

    Can you name me any foreign hospitals outside the US that do this??

    To say the system is broke down is a total miss-read.

  2. James Trotta says:

    I ask if the US sytem is broken because 45 million Americans have no health insurance and some things are way more expensive here than anywhere else.

    I agree that many medical breakthroughs were the result of American researchers and I think everyone knows that US healthcare is excellent for people with money.

  3. Sharon says:

    Many people travel to Canada and Mexico, for example, to obtain necessary medication that is not only expensive, but requires an expensive doctor’s visit and an even more expensive prescription in the U.S. I have found that a large majority of these medications are available without prescription (in Mexico) and at a substantially lower price. A brief $30 visit to a physician and the pharmacy issues the medication. Physicians in foreign countries go through rigorous residencies, internships, and years of education (often much more so than in the U.S), so most are highly qualified. In addition, the pharmaceutical companies in America are very much in control of medical care, believe it or not! Medicare (the government program in the U.S.) is supposed to be of assistance to the elderly, but realistically, it carries high deductibles, co-pays, restrictions on prescriptions, and many are not even included in its so-called list of “reduced” prices. Furthermore, it is not accepted in countries outside of the U.S., or its possessions. I have to agree that unless one can afford health insurance premiums, or qualify for state-federal assisted medical care (not the best in most cases), we are left to find other ways to stay healthy.

  4. Jacklin Jones says:

    As a 57 year old woman I find myself without Medical Insurance.First time in my life.Lost it a year ago when I could not make the payments of $500.00 per month not including all the co-pays.My husband Broke his neck at 50 yrs. old and I take care of him.I am shocked that people have to go without medical care when we give so much money to other countries.I am not saying not to help people but medicare is a joke.My husband goes to the Veterans Administations for care.And when you need a MRI expect to wait at least 6 months…This issue must be addressed by all Americans..We have our children to think of as well,My husband worked for 30 years..I worked as well but cared for our 2 children..I really hope the next President will make this issue a Priority…It is really sad that people die without proper care…..

  5. Larry says:

    1. If people are goin TO Canada and Mexico I dont belive the systems are that broken

    2. It may be because FDA rules make medication expensive here, and you can get your medication vacation and save money on both

    3. If Coasta Rica is a hot spot I wouldnt think South America is bad off Africa may be a diffrent story

    4. No other Western Country sends 400,000 of there citizens abroad to seek health care, or medication. They take care of it. And being there currency is worth alot more than ours, I dont think its breaking them.

  6. Linda H. says:

    As 53 year old, having had one minor stroke, married to a 50 year old with mild diabetes, I can understand why people go elsewhere for medical care.

    We can not GET insurance – unless we pay just over $1500 a month to join the state insurance pool. Flying somewhere else, lodging and care would actually be cheaper.

  7. Flo says:

    I believe people are being forced to go overseas because America is coming apart at the sims! Every sytem in this country is broken-it is so very, very, very sad to see-because every nation on this earth has just been watching and copying everything that this country has been doing and now everyone of them wants America to just go down. It is all available here and more but they are so very, very busy with making sure every single dot is dotted, every single t is crossed so as not to be sued it is truly unreal-it is in every department, every system.

    I come from a tiny, tiny 3rd world country-but live in the States. I have been really ill, I almost died and my health care system hid the whole thing-the lawyer told me there is nothing I could have done; the whole time they knew about it. I recently went to my country, went to the local clinic, 1 minute walk from my mom’s house-I waited maybe 2 minutes for ER care-they saved my life with the same meds that I would have gotten here in the U.S but without all the fanfare and I paid NOTHING! I wasn’t asked a zillion questions all they cared about was how to save my life! I am 100% convinced the meds came from America, not from another country! I have lived in many, many countries, sure some of them have good quality health care. But this country offers far beyond what any country has to offer, I have no idea why they are holding their own people hostage to so much, why they have all these lawyers, government screwing its own people out of so much. It’s like it is self destructing on auto pilot.

    I got back to the States I tried to schedule an appoint with my Dr. I was doing #2 in my pants for 3 days in a row, they told me the soonest I could see a DR was in 2 weeks, and if I dared go to ER I would be paying the bill myself!

    That is why we are fleeing-people are tired of being treated with this kind of crap-not because they don’t believe we don’t have the capabilities-it’s the system!!! We have no more trust-we are all guilty and we have to spend everything we have just to try and prove our innocence!!!! None of the Drs believe there is ever anything wrong with you because the insurance companies want them to deny, deny health care to us. Maybe, just maybe in those very, very compassionate hospitals where they really save lives-but not your every day hospitals-we are treated like dirt…the illegal, uninsured people are treated way better. I have no idea what happened to Ameria. Where did it go?

    Some of you say what about those who come here looking for better health care…you are completely right. Some of those are still dreaming of the America they think they know, some have been offered this wonderful opportunity that nobody else can ever give them, some of these are so, so rich and can buy anything. I don’t think those are your regular people. If it is they are after that American dream that they hope exists-it’s really no longer here.

    I have been in and out of hospitals, Drs offices in the past 2 years-I can only recount 2 decent Drs, really, really sorry to say.

  8. Larry dennis says:

    if you want good medical coverge go to work for the gov,city ,county,or state,my motherinlaw retired 35 years ago and only worked 10 years she was gived a dental and a eye ins,at no cost just recently.

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