For years, residents of developed economies have headed to emerging market countries for cosmetic surgery or dental work, procedures that are less expensive and invasive than major operations and often aren’t covered by insurance. Nowadays, they are also going for costlier and riskier procedures such as knee replacements and heart surgeries.
For many patients, the expense of traveling overseas is well worth it. Consider the fact that a knee replacement procedure costs $35,000 in the United States. The same surgery can be had for $8,200 in Poland, $7,200 in Colombia, or $6,600 in India. Depending on the destination and type of treatment, uninsured and under-insured patients, as well as those seeking elective care, can realize savings of 15-85% over the cost of treatment in the US. Or, as one health traveler put it, “I took out my credit card instead of a second mortgage on my home.”
The global medical tourism market will be worth $125 billion by 2021. That’s an 83% jump from the $68 billion spent in 2016.
Several Caribbean countries including Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic have become attractive medical tourism destinations due to their white sand beaches, world-class medical facilities and happy-go-lucky vibes. Here’s what you need to know about these 5 nations:
BAHAMAS: Specialties include Cardiac Surgeries; Nephrology; Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeries; Knee/Hip Replacements
Health care services have significantly improved in the Bahamas, especially in Nassau and Grand Bahama. Doctors Hospital in Nassau, the nation’s capital, happens to be among the best and one of the few hospitals in the Caribbean that is certified by Joint Commission International (JCI).
The Bahamas provides access to exceptional levels of service, highly skilled doctors and state-of-the-art equipment. It also boasts several aesthetic beaches with crystal-clear waters, soul-warming sun, and a wide range of hotels to choose from. The country’s vicinity to the United States makes the Bahamas one of the top destinations for American patients looking for cost-effective medical care.
Barbados is renowned for having advanced medical facilities in the Eastern Caribbean, including amenities for open heart surgery, decompression chambers and dialysis centers. The Barbados Fertility Center is a CJI-certified institution that’s been attracting international fertility patients since 2002.
The country’s gorgeous sandy beaches, exquisite gardens, scenic vistas and English-speaking locals with their welcoming hospitality are reasons Barbados is rapidly becoming a popular medical tourism destination for patients from the United States, Great Britain and Canada.
CAYMAN ISLANDS: Popular for Chemotherapy; Heart Surgery; Organ Transplants; Hospice Care and In-Home Nursing
Open-heart surgery in the Cayman Islands costs about half the price of the same quality treatment at a U.S. hospital. Moreover, Cayman Islands provides lower insurance premiums, government-sponsored tax breaks in the hospitals, high-quality facilities, and patient-centric environment with highly trained medical professionals.
Health City Cayman Islands (HCCI) hospital is a leader among Caribbean-based healthcare institutions. Indeed, HCCI is a tie-up between Dr. Shetty’s India-based Narayana Hrudalaya and Ascension Health Alliance, which is the largest private non-profit health network in the USA.
Cayman Islands provides an excellent combination of health care services and leisure. The tourism part of the equation is just as impressive thanks to an abundance of natural beauty, shopping, nightlife, scrumptious food and fine dining.
Famed footballer, Diego Maradona, after being treated for drug addiction declared: “Cuba has the best doctors in the world.” That subjective sentiment is bolstered by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) more objective assertion that Cuba has the highest number of doctors per residents in the world.
Well-trained doctors, hospitable staff, and deeply discounted medical care are just a few of the reasons people travel to Cuba for health care services. Compared to North American countries, healthcare in Cuba is approximately 60% cheaper without compromising on the quality and efficiency of the treatments involved.
When you factor in Cuba’s rich culture, its serene beaches with plenty sun & surf, its plethora of antique forts and small towns, the country’s warm hospitality and mouth-watering food, what more could you ask for as a medical tourist?
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Popular for Coronary Procedures; Cosmetic surgery; Dental; Orthopedic Care; Oncology; Eye Surgery
The Dominican Republic’s medical tourism industry is quickly gaining ground due to its internationally-trained doctors and surgeons and competitive health care services. The major tourist hubs have health centers with modern medical facilities, and most hotels have medical dispensaries with qualified personnel.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, the lush tropical island paradise has stunning beaches and national parks that are complemented by magnificent resorts and hotels.
A bunch of companies around the world are capitalizing on this growing market by doing for medical tourists what Airbnb or Hotels.com does for regular travelers seeking lodging: they are matching would-be patients with medical providers around the world.
On one of these websites, a user can type in a medical procedure, get a list of clinics or doctors in nations that offer the surgery, scroll down, and click on a link to make an appointment. The companies charge providers a commission for bookings or a flat subscription fee to be on the platform. Some are even looking to offer add-on services such as planning beach vacations for recuperating patients and their families.