MedSolutionan operating division of Medical Tourism Inc.

Facts & Figures

History & Future

  • Medical tourism is actually thousands of years old. In ancient Greece, pilgrims and patients came from all over the Mediterranean to the sanctuary of the healing god, Asklepios, at Epidaurus. From the 18th century wealthy Europeans travelled to spas from Germany to the Nile.1
  • Government and private sector studies in India estimate that medical tourism could bring between $1 billion and $2 billion US into the country by 2012. The reports estimate that medical tourism to India is growing by 30 per cent a year.1
  • The Confederation of Indian Industries estimates that 150,000 foreign patients came to India for treatment in 2004. And McKinsey & Co., an international consulting firm, estimates that outsourced medical care could bring India $2.2 billion a year by 2012.7
  • Today, more than 250,000 patients per year visit Singapore alone for medical services. This year, approximately half a million foreign patients will travel to India for medical care, whereas in 2002, the number was only 150,000.2
  • By 2015, the health baby boomers will have begun its slow decline, and, with more than 220 million boomers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, this represents a significant market for inexpensive, high-quality medical care.2

The Insurance Factor

  • An estimated 46-million Americans have no health insurance and according to a recent study, high medical bills contribute to almost 750,000 bankruptcies a year.3
  • More than 108-million people in the US are without dental insurance.4
  • Right now only 61 per cent of the jobs in America have health insurance down from 69 per cent three years ago. That's seven-million people. Companies can no longer afford to provide health benefits and today you don't keep a job for life.5
  • Although nearly 46-million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens.6
  • Health insurance premiums will rise to an average of more than $14,500 for family coverage in 2007.6
  • Nearly one-quarter of the uninsured reported changing their way of life significantly in order to pay medical bills.6

Quality of Service

  • In many foreign clinics the doctors are supported by more registered nurses per patient than in any Western facility. Some clinics provide single-patient rooms that resemble guestrooms in four-star hotels, with a nurse dedicated to each patient 24 hours a day. Added to this, some clinics assign patients a personal assistant for the post-hospital recovery period and throw in a vacation incentive as well. Additionally, many Asian airlines offer frequent-flyer miles to ease the cost of returning for follow-up visits.2
  • India has top-notch centers for open-heart surgery, pediatric heart surgery, hip and knee replacement, cosmetic surgery, dentistry, bone marrow transplants and cancer therapy, and virtually all of India’s clinics are equipped with the latest electronic and medical diagnostic equipment.2
  • Indian pharmaceuticals meet the stringent requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, India’s quality of care is up to American standards, and some Indian medical centers even provide services that are uncommon elsewhere. For example, hip surgery patients in India can opt for a hip-resurfacing procedure, in which damaged bone is scraped away and replaced with chrome alloy — an operation that costs less and causes less post-operative trauma than the traditional.2
  • France’s health care system was ranked as the best in the world by the World Health Organization. Canada was ranked thirtieth, behind Morocco. The United States, on the other hand, was ranked number 37 – just behind Costa Rica.8

Money Matters

  • Nearly two in five adults, approximately 77-million adults, in the US struggle with medical bills, have recent or accrued medical debts or both.9
  • Almost half of the two-million Americans who file for bankruptcy do so because of medical expenses.10
  • In 2003, health care spending in the United States reached $1.7 trillion and was projected to reach $1.8 trillion in 2004.6
  • In 2003, the United States spent 15.3 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on health care. It is projected that the percentage will reach 18.7 per cent in ten years.6

The Waiting Game

  • Medical research has shown that longer waits can lead to adverse consequences for cardiac patients. Furthermore, economists attempting to quantify the cost of this waiting time have estimated it to amount to $1,100 (CAD) to $5,600 (CAD) annually per patient.11
  • A working person incapacitated by an illness bears the costs of the loss of work. These costs are not included among those associated with running the health care system.11
  • The median wait time a Canadian experienced for an elective surgery in 2005 was 17.7 weeks.11
  • About 1,100 Britons go abroad each year for medical treatment paid for by the National Health Service, which critics say has been slow to reduce waiting times and to help patients find alternative treatment abroad.12
  • Currently, the median wait time in England with the National Health Service for orthopedic surgery is 25.8 weeks, while the wait time for cardiac surgery is 14.4 weeks.13


Sources
  1. CBC News Online, June 18, 2004
  2. UD Messenger, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2005
  3. ABC News, December 19, 2005
  4. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, May 2000
  5. Health authour Paul Z. Pilzer in an interview with CNN Anchor Gerri Willis, October 8, 2005
  6. National Coalition on Health Care, 2004
  7. The Dallas Morning News, November 16, 2005
  8. The World Health Report 2000 – Health systems: Improving performance
  9. Seeing Red: Americans Driven into Debt by Medical Bills, Commonwealth Fund, August 2005
  10. MarketWatch: Illness & Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy, Harvard University, February 2005
  11. Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada, 15th Edition, The Fraser Institute
  12. Have health card, will travel, Mary Helen Spooner, February 18, 2003
  13. NHS England

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