There is a myth that medical tourism is about flying thousands of miles across continents. Medical tourism is a regional phenomenon, with most medical tourists preferring to visit nearby countries for their healthcare needs. While Americans and Canadians mostly head to Mexico and Costa Rica, people from Africa and the Middle East prefer to go to India. Korea is the medical destination of choice for many people from Japan, while Thailand is the top choice for most Australians.

Medical tourism is more regional than it is global for reasons of  price, safety, travel distance, visa rules, local laws and quality of healthcare.  That being said, there is some global medical tourism for certain specialties.  A destination’s reputation for a particular medical service also matters and some countries are more popular for certain procedures than others. India is well known for surrogacy, orthopedic surgery, and spinal procedures and attracts foreigners from as far away as North America.. Mexico is widely known for high quality dental work at affordable prices.

Central America, not Asia, is the destination for many Americans. They fly to get bariatric and cosmetic surgery to Latin American countries, because not only the prices are low, but also the treatments are high quality. Realizing the potential of medical tourism, the doctors are prepared to deal with medical tourists and accordingly arrange for English-speaking staff. While the official and most commonly used language in Costa Rica is Spanish, it is not difficult to find a dentist or cosmetic surgeon in Costa Rica, who is fluent in English.

Medical tourism is often regarded as traveling for surgery, but this is not the bulk of medical tourism. Elective procedures like weight loss surgery, cosmetic surgery, fertility treatment and dental care are the most common medical services people travel for. This is because these are generally excluded from insurance coverage.

With all the choices and regions to consider it makes sense to use a medical tourism facilitator such as Passport Medical to help navigate the complexities of choosing the right region, the most affordable medical tourism provider, the safest medical tourism provider, and the highest quality hospitals. Passport Medical’s staff takes the guess work out of finding the right fit for your individual needs.

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