“Special” Vacations — Part 1 of 3: Medical Tourism

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ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a., Obamacare, we’re kicking off a three-part Hot Topic series on “Special” Vacations with an installment on Medical Tourism.  Many people think cosmetic surgery when they hear the term medical tourism, but did you know that thousands of Americans are visiting places like Korea, Costa Rica and India to undergo life-changing medical procedures, including cancer treatment, dental work and coronary bypass surgery?  To learn more about the growing trend in Medical Tourism and why Obamacare will mean more business for doctors abroad, we caught up with Rudy Rupak, founder and CEO of Planet Hospital, the world’s first and largest medical tourism company.

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Medical Tourism in the Age of ObamaCare

How will Obamacare effect medical tourism?

The short answer is very positively. The two major misconceptions of healthcare in America today are that there are no wait lists and that America has the best healthcare in the world. A large aging population has actually started to create wait lists that average 4 months (sometimes even longer in rural areas) for heart and orthopedic procedures. Obamacare would most likely contribute towards a longer wait time. Therefore, medical tourism becomes an attractive alternative for those who must have surgery. Yes, America does have the best healthcare in the world…if you can afford it.  And what about the myriad US-invented breakthrough healthcare treatments and other diagnostic innovations that are still unapproved by the FDA and only available in other parts of the world? Once again, medical tourism offers access to these alternatives.

Medical Tourism includes traveling domestically across state lines

Medical tourism is not just the act of traveling across an international border for healthcare, but also traveling across state lines. Obamacare might force more interest in competition amongst healthcare providers state-by-state, which in turn creates motive for healthcare seekers to become migrant. Medical tourists are also seeking care that is not covered by insurance, such as fertility, stem cell, certain transplants, etc. Also, medical tourism is not just an America to other destination industry, but rather a point to point industry. For example, Planethospital has an office in Russia and sends patients from Russia to South Korea and India. In fact, more foreign tourists are regular consumers of medical tourism than Americans.

Misconceptions about Medical Tourism

Although medical tourism has just reached the Malcolm Gladwell definition of the tipping point, misconceptions abound: Are  the hospitals safe and clean?  Are they certified and accredited? One only has to look at the number of Indian and other foreign doctors in American hospitals to understand the high degree of training one receives in a foreign country when it comes to medicine. Furthermore, we read a lot about medical tourism, but have yet to read about large amounts of terrific outcomes from quality destinations that reputable medical tourism companies, such as PlanetHospital work with. If bypass surgery in India is just not your cup of tea, we work with more mainstream destinations, such as Australia, Belgium, Singapore, among others.

To learn more about medical tourism and the types of procedures and destinations that are known for their astute, high quality care, checkout PlanetHospital.com.

Join us next week for Part 2 of our “Special” Vacation Hot Topic series where we talk with TravelSquire.com about niche vacations that take you to your passion.

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