Medical tourism (also known as medical travel or health tourism) involves traveling to another country for a medical procedure. Historically, patients wouldtravel from underdeveloped countries to Europe or the United States for procedures that were not performed in their region. However, today, people from developed countries like the United States and Canada are traveling every day in search of medical procedures. Attracted by affordable prices, convenient travel options and short waiting times, these people come for dental work, special surgeries and medical checkups. The doctors are top notch (many of them trained in the United States) and first world facilities.
THERE ARE MANY REASONS WHY YOU TRAVEL FOR A MEDICAL PROCEDURE, HERE ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON ONES
Due to inefficiency in the health system of these patients´ countries, there are very long waiting lists for a medical procedure. In Canada´s case, the average waiting time between a referral and the completion of the procedure in 2012 was more or less than 18 weeks.
Cost is another big factor. In most cases, a procedure outside their home countries can be up to 50% cheaper, including air tickets, hotels and food. Medical insurance also plays an important role in the equation, considering they could lose their insurance or it may not cover the elective surgeries that need to be performed.
As the world globalizes and connections increase, travel becomes easier and more affordable. The cost and duration of a flight to Central America is comparable to a national flight. This has made combining travelling with medical care much more tempting and realistic.
The increase in the cost of medical treatments in the 1980s and 1990s led patients to seek options at better prices outside their countries. Due to its proximity and high standards, Costa Rica began to attract medical tourists, especially for dental work. During this period, Americans began travelling to Central America to receive treatments that were not covered by their medical insurance or which´s cost was exorbitant.
The medical tourism industry in Costa Rica continued to grow. Today, it is one of the most reliable, affordable and efficient countries in the area for these types of procedures. In 2011, 46,474 foreign patients were registered in San José, capital of Costa Rica. This number is expected to continue to grow over time.
Costa Rica has highly qualified doctors and dentists, many with training in the United States and good English language skills. Although these professionals can be found throughout the Costa Rican territory, most of the procedures take place in San José, at the best clinics and hospitals.
The first word in the phrase "medical tourism" is important. Traveling to Costa Rica for medical treatment will give you the chance to explore a beautiful country. Costa Rica attracts people from all over the world due to its tropical forests, stunning beaches and relaxing hot springs. It is also the country with most biodiversity on the planet. During your stay, it is very likely to observe monkeys in the trees and herons by the estuaries.
Costa Ricans, also known as Ticos, are friendly and accessible. They always welcome tourists with a smile and are willing to show their country to travelers. If you have never practiced Spanish outside a classroom, this is a great place to start. The locals are patient and attentive to those who wish to speak their language.
In addition to Costa Rica's cultural and natural attractions, the country has top-notch facilities and spas. These places offer a comfortable environment which will support you during your recovery period. Many have 24/7 nursing services, all-inclusive meal plans and massage parlors.
The waiting time for a medical procedure in Costa Rica is minimal. Unlike countries like Canada, in which you must wait several months for surgery, in Costa Rica they can be scheduled at your convenience. Doctors and assistants are flexible, and in most case, adjust their calendars when it comes to attending a patient from abroad.