Surgery Abroad - Is it for you?

A lot of people are attracted to cheap surgery abroad either because they lack insurance or because there is a long wait list for the needed surgery in their own country. But is surgery abroad for anyone and everyone?

Surgery abroad or medical tourism as the concept is more commonly known has become quite popular recently. It is not limited to cheap dental surgery in Mexico or inexpensive cosmetic surgery in Costa Rica or Panama any more. People are traveling halfway around the world for all sorts of procedures and those include orthopedic surgeries, fertility treatments , and even critical operations like organ transplantation , cancer treatment and cardiac surgeries .

But, is surgery abroad for everyone?

Obviously, overseas surgery is not an option if you are being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance at the time you need the surgery. This is common sense. However, there are many other occasions when you can benefit from obtaining treatment overseas for non-emergency conditions. But, to be able to seek treatment abroad, you should at least be fit enough to travel to your destination by plane or train or whichever mode of transportation you are using.

You can benefit from medical tourism if:

1. You do not have insurance. Unsurprisingly, a large number of medical travelers fall into this category. Not having health insurance can mean prohibitive prices charged by the hospital. It's no secret that in the US, uninsured or self-pay patients are charged two to three times more for hospital care than those covered by health insurance. As reprehensible a practice as it may be, the patient is the one who has to take the blow. According to one Harvard study, half of personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical expenses. Filing for bankruptcy is not a solution, flying for medical tourism is. Medical tourism can save you 50% to 90% of the typical price your US hospital charges.

2. You have limited insurance. Limited insurance could mean high deductibles, high co-payments or high out-of-pocket expenses. Or it may mean that the medical care you need is not covered under your catastrophic insurance plan. In many ways, being underinsured is no better than being uninsured except that you are still paying your monthly insurance premium for either very little or nothing in return.

3. The treatment you are seeking is elective. Most health insurance plans out there do not cover elective surgeries. So even if you have insurance coverage and you know the procedure you need is not elective, it is very easy for your insurer to prove otherwise so they do not have to reimburse you if you went ahead and sought the treatment anyway. This is especially true in the case of many cosmetic and dental procedures.

4. The treatment you are seeking is not available in your country. For example, until some time ago, Birmingham Hip Resurfacing surgery (BHR) was not available in the United States. It was approved by the FDA only recently. So many patients from the US would go to India for the procedure. Patients still prefer to have this surgery in India as the surgeons there are much more experienced in performing BHR than the surgeons in the US and the cost is a lot cheaper there compared to the US.

5. There is a long wait for the treatment you are seeking. This can lead to deterioration in your condition and your quality of life. According to Jill Misangyi , a Canadian who went to India for her spinal decompression surgery to cure her 16-year old back pain, "Under the medicare system in Canada, waiting lists just to see specialists are 6 months to a couple of years, and another couple of years before or if they will do the surgery on you." Medical tourism is the answer to the problems of many such patients who have spent a lifetime waiting for their turn and are still in the queue.

Once you have established your candidacy for medical tourism you should do a thorough research and planning before setting out on your medical trip abroad.

You can learn more about the growing trend of medical tourism , international healthcare facilities and surgeons, and the details of the medical tourism process by logging on to . is a medical tourism facilitator committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services to the global medical consumer.

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