Many are travelling abroad for healthcare! – Why?
There are many reasons why patients travel abroad for healthcare.
In some nations, delays in obtaining access to care in local health-care facilities prompt patients to travel to regions where they can receive immediate treatment. For example, some patients wait-listed for treatment in Canada and the UK fly to India and arrange prompt access to hip and knee replacements.
In other countries, the high cost of local health care is a major factor in prompting patients to seek treatment elsewhere. In the USA, over 47 million Americans lack health insurance. These individuals, along with “underinsured” patients, often cannot obtain affordable care at local hospitals and clinics. To find affordable care they must travel to other countries. Some immigrants decide to travel abroad because they want to return home to their countries of origin and receive care within health-care systems with which they are familiar.
Similarly, former “expats” sometimes return to countries in which they once lived and arrange care in facilities offering what they regard as high-quality, comparatively low-cost, consumer-oriented treatment.
Some patients travel abroad for medical interventions that are not approved in their home country.
In short, there are many reasons why patients cross borders and obtain medical care outside the countries in which they are domiciled. Economic gradients—traveling from higher-to-lower cost health-care settings—are important but patient movement is not driven solely by cost-savings.
Perhaps, it is also the search for the best possible healthcare provider.