Medical Travel and Tourism appears to have strong historical roots in the expatriate communities of countries like Thailand, India, Vietnam, and other nations where local medical facilities were not considered “good enough” for wealthy folks or those from more developed countries. As globalization brought thousands to cities like Bangkok, Mumbai, and Saigon, “Higher tier” hospitals were then built to match and often exceed the quality standards demanded by the expatriates and foreign visitors.
Although I have not yet reviewed enough statistics to say for sure, I think these hospitals still mostly serve expatriates even as they offer an outstanding opportunity for “medical tourism”, where low cost, high quality care is combined with a travel adventure for a total cost that is less than a single procedure would be in the USA or other countries with expensive healthcare.
For my Vietnam trip in February I’m now planning to get a colonoscopy, probably in Saigon. With my high deductible here in the USA, this procedure could cost me $3000 – $5000. In Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon I’m looking at something like $500. The difference in this case is greater than the entire cost of my trip, including the procedure!”
Click here for a history of Bangkok Hospital in Phuket, Thailand.