Medical tourism – A Global scenario


  • Many citizens and residents are in a continuous search for destinations outside the country where they can receive quality healthcare at a much lower rate.
  • Medical tourism is a fast-growing industry, with countries in Europe, Asia, and South America all finding large success with offering medical care to people from other countries.
  • In addition, we assume that out-of-pocket medical costs of critical and elective procedures continue to rise, while nations offering universal care are faced with ever-increasing resource burdens.
  • This presents opportunities for not only hospitals, accreditation bodies, but also for insurance companies.

The cost of healthcare continues to rise in developed countries, thus many citizens and residents are in a continuous search for destinations outside the country where they can receive quality healthcare at a much lower rate. In 2017, more than 1.4 million Americans sought health care in a variety of countries around the world.

The number of medical tourists to all countries in 2017 was estimated at 14-16 million. Thus, medical tourism is a fast-growing industry, with countries in Europe, Asia, and South America all finding large success with offering medical care to people from other countries. The top specialties for medical travelers are mainly cosmetic surgery, dentistry, cardiovascular, Orthopedics, Cancer, Reproductive, Weight loss.

According to the Medical Tourism Association, the reasons why people choose other countries for treatment instead of the home are that patients want to obtain a higher quality of treatment (56%), 22% look for cheaper prices, 18% seek a treatment option not available at home and 10% Patients want to undergo treatment as soon as possible without queues.

The world population is aging and becoming more affluent at rates that surpass the availability of quality healthcare resources. In addition, we assume that out-of-pocket medical costs of critical and elective procedures continue to rise, while nations offering universal care are faced with ever-increasing resource burdens. In a report by Visa and Oxford Economics, it was stated that medical tourism expected to grow up to 25% every year for the next decade as the competition for health tourists between countries have becomes fiercer.

This presents opportunities for not only hospitals, accreditation bodies, but also for insurance companies.