US ‘Medical Tourists’ Seek Cheap Health Care Abroad

Many US citizens are seeking out cheaper health care procedures abroad because of the extreme prices in their home country.

One woman took matters into her own hands when she was researching places for stomach surgery – specifically for weight loss. She had two options; the first being to pay $12,000 USD at home, and the second to travel to Mexico and pay only $4,000. In most cases, health insurance will only pay for medical treatment need for severe issues like diabetes or hypertension; and even then, the total cost is not covered.

With the US health care system being the most expensive in the world, it is obvious why people go abroad. Without a doubt, a majority of people would rather have surgery in their home country to avoid all the travelling, but, unfortunately, many people do not have a choice anymore, financially. According to Patients Beyond Borders, approximately 20 million tourists each year seek treatment around the world, with over 1.9 million being American citizens.

With the 2020 US presidential election coming up, some candidates such as Bernie Sanders are proposing universal health coverage. The issue with this proposal is that many non-urgent procedures will have long wait times, similar to Canada. Hence, these wait times will continue to push people to travel abroad for medical procedures.

In this day and age, countries that have expensive health care can no longer compete with countries such as Mexico, because of the inexpensive and high quality treatments available there.

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