What You Need To Know Today About Medical Travel

What is medical travel?

Each year, over 11 million patients worldwide leave their home country for a medical treatment. This year, more than 200,000 Brits and 1.4 million Americans are expected to travel abroad for a medical treatment or procedure. Medical travel is the world’s fastest growing healthcare market and shows no sign of slowing down.

Often referred to as medical or health tourism, medical travel is an option for those seeking timely, efficient and affordable treatments. It is a global market of patients electing to travel across international borders to receive some kind of medical treatment. The first medical travellers set foot centuries ago. Ancient Greeks would journey from all over the Mediterranean to a small territory near the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria. According to the Greeks, this territory belonged to the healing god- the birthplace of medical travel. Nowadays, the most frequent treatments include dental care, cosmetic surgery, elective surgery and infertility treatment. Although there is no universal definition of medical travel, it generally does not include emergency cases or expatriates seeking medical care in their country of residence.

Why are people choosing medical travel?

The two main reasons people go abroad for a medical treatment are long-wait times and cost. Recent statistics show that the average wait time for an approved treatment in the UK is 18 more weeks or more- the worst in 7 years. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS), provides free healthcare to nearly 64.6 million people; 54.3 million in England alone. As of 2016, this means nearly 1 million patients every 36 hours. The NHS covers everything from routine screenings, to treatment for long-term conditions and end-of-life care, but often excludes prescription costs, optical and dental services, and infertility treatments such as IVF. Unapproved patients are forced to seek out private practices, making many medical treatments unaffordable.

Read More: Why Brits Are Fed Up With Overpriced Medical Treatments

In the United States, healthcare costs continue to skyrocket. Individuals who must purchase health insurance on the open market are faced with an overwhelming number of choices. A comprehensive health insurance plan will run the average American $100 per month or more. For other health insurance consumers’, their choices are limited by their employer’s group health insurance providers. Still many medical treatments may end up being out-of-pocket- such as adult dental care, weight loss or cosmetic surgery and corrective eye surgery. For example, LASIK eye surgery in the UK or United States can cost anywhere between £1,432-£5527 per eye depending on the severity of the prescription. Abroad, costs may be as low as £750 per eye. Medical travel can save patients up to 80% with wait-times as little as 1-2 weeks.

Where are the most popular destinations?

An average medical travel patients saves about 30%-80% on the cost of their medical procedure or treatment at home. A patient’s goal is to find the best price without compromising the quality of care. This can be challenging as standards, costs, and areas of expertise vary by country. Traditionally, the medical travel market has been dominated by Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, and Brazil as well as countries in Southeast Asia including Thailand, Malaysia and India.

Sharing a common background or culture is important as well. Recently, European hospitals and private clinics have started promoting their services. Countries including Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, are providing new opportunities and shorter travel times for medical travelers coming from the UK, Canada and the United States.

How do I plan my trip abroad?

Once deciding on the right country, the next step is selecting the right clinic. Treatment costs, convenience, and staff credentials and experience must be considered. Though some patients decide to go this step alone, millions use an online medical travel platform or agency to help. This saves valuable time during the decision-making process and elevates the headache and stress of doing research on your own. The purpose of a medical travel platform is not stand as a middleman, but rather to act as a facilitator and a resource. The aim is to put you, as the patient, in direct contact with the clinics, dentists, and surgeons, allowing your questions and concerns to be answered by the professionals.

Read More: How To Prepare For Your Trip Abroad

After speaking to your surgeon or dentist and selecting a clinic, the final step is to book a date. At Salutara, we assist you in arranging your flights, accommodation and transportation upon arrival. You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel or accommodation. It is not uncommon for patients to schedule several extra days before or after their surgery to take advantage of the sites and culture in the country.

By using a medical travel platform, you not only gain a personal travel liaison but a personal advocate throughout the entire journey.

When can I get started?

Today! The purpose of medical travel is to make healthcare accessible and affordable for everyone. Unaffordable treatments and unbearable wait-times are no longer acceptable.

Medical travel platforms serve to make research and planning your trip quick and easy. From the comfort of your sofa you can search and compare prices, clinics and procedures, and get free online consultations and quotes. Once selecting a treatment and clinic, you’re also put in direct communication with your surgeon or dentist, so that all of your medical questions and concerns can be addressed by a professional.

Medical travel is changing the way million of people look at healthcare and saving them valuable time and money. So what are you waiting for?

Ready To Start Your Journey? Get A Free Consultation And Quotes Today! 

 

 

The Ultimate Guide To: Cosmetic Dentistry Abroad

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

A trip to the dentist is no longer just a quick cleaning and reminder to floss. No No. Today cosmetic dentistry has revolutionized the classic field of dentistry and is giving patients more and more options to improve their smiles and their confidence. New technologies, such as CEREC®, have coined the phrase “1-day dentistry” and make getting a new smile over your lunch break possible. A variety of treatments are available including ceramic crowns, veneers, inlays onlays & overlays and teeth whitening. Similar restorative treatments include Dental Implants and Bridges. 

Click Here For Your: Full Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment Guide. 

Needless to say, advances in dentistry do not come without a price. Under the UK’s universal healthcare act, National Health Service (NHS), dental treatment is only covered if considered clinically necessary by your dentist in order to maintain oral health. This includes dentures, crowns and bridges. Dental implants, dentures and orthodontics are also covered. In most cases, cosmetic dentistry is considered an elective surgery and is not covered by insurance. Any cosmetic treatment used to improve the appearance of your teeth to make them look more attractive (i.e. teeth whitening, dental veneers), means patients must turn to private practices and pay out of pocket.

Why Should I Have My Cosmetic Dentistry Abroad?

In the United States, healthcare costs are through the roof and individuals who must purchase health insurance on the open market are faced with an overwhelming number of choices. According to Patients Beyond Borders, in the US, only the most rudimentary dental care is covered by health insurance plans, which is why more than 150 million Americans are without dental coverage. A comprehensive health insurance plan will run the average American $100 per month or more. For other health insurance consumers, their choices are limited by their employers’ group health insurance providers. Many medical treatments end up being out-of-pocket- such as adult dental care, weight loss or cosmetic surgery and corrective eye surgery. For example, dental veneers in the UK or United States can cost anywhere between £400-1000 per tooth, depending on the material used. Abroad, costs may be as low as £290 per tooth including the preparation, local anesthesia and patient care. On average, medical travel can save patients anywhere from 30-80% with wait-times as little as 1-2 weeks.

In 2011, the EU directive on cross-border healthcare was passed. The directive granted citizens fundamental right to purchase health care services across the European Economic Area (EEA) for all EEA citizens, and the right to apply for reimbursement from their home system. However, in the UK this still limits residents to treatment that is deemed medically necessary and would be made available under the NHS. Therefore, elective cosmetic dentistry is typically not covered.

Patients Beyond Borders explains, “The traveling dental patient need not sacrifice quality to save money. Highly competent dentists who attended respected schools of dentistry and are certified by boards in Western countries often work “just across the border,” providing excellent services for a fraction of the cost. For people who can easily cross a national boundary, the choice is a no brainer.”

Why is cosmetic dentistry cheaper abroad so cheap?

A general rule of thumb is that any medical treatment or procedure is going to be slightly more expensive in a metropolitan area. When you begin dealing with cosmetic dentistry, prices can also be influenced by the dentist and his/her specializations, the amount of preparatory work on the mouth, and skill and experience of the laboratory.

The reason cosmetic dentistry is cheaper abroad is largely due to the cost of living in other countries- which directly influences the average salaries of medical professionals. A cosmetic dentist in the UK may earn anywhere from £75,249 to £101,451 depending on years of experience, company size, and location. In Central Europe, a cosmetic dentist in the Czech Republic makes on average, £11,000-15,000 per year.

Where Are The Most Patients Travelling For Cosmetic Dentistry?

In the United States, people who live on the west coast or in the southwest tend to cross over to Mexico for their cosmetic dentistry. On the east coast and in Canada, patients are heading to Costa Rica or Central America, where savings are between 50-80%.

Read More: A Professional Rugby Player’s Journey To A New Smile 

In the UK and western Europe, people are hopping borders over to countries like Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. Hungary, for example, has the most dentists per capita than any other country, along with some of the highest quality, low-cost clinics in the world. For europeans, dental travel is a very economical choice, but many north americans are also travelling to central Europe for more extensive treatments, including cosmetic oral surgeries, full-mouth restorations, and implants. Even after factoring in the cost of travel and accommodation, such work can be done at less than half the US price.

Other popular destinations include Malaysia, Thailand, and India. In Bangkok, some clinics are even specially dedicated to international tourists.

How Do I Begin Planning My Trip?

Medical travel platform or agencies are a great place to start. Many provide an end-to-end service, including everything from free online consultations, treatment costs, patient reviews, and clinic and staff credentials. When arranging your dental travel, a medical travel platform can also save you valuable time during the decision-making process and elevates the headache and stress of doing research on your own. Patients Against Borders suggests that medical travellers seek out evaluations from previous patients, and ask for proof of competence before making an appointment. “You are paying the bill. You have a right to know everything there is to know about your dentist’s training and experience.”

Medical platforms and agencies can act as a resource, putting you in direct contact with the clinics, and your cosmetic surgeon, allowing your questions and concerns to be answered by the professionals. It is also important to consider the amount of time you will need to spend at your destination. Procedures such as implants, may require two or more steps with weeks or months in between. Find out in advance how many visits are required and the amount of time between them. This is also important when considering your destination. If you are in a new country or city, this time between procedures is perfect for sightseeing and exploring the local history and culture.

Unlike other cosmetic procedures, cosmetic dentistry is not always permanent. The average veneer lasts 7-20 years. Therefore, it is good to be prepared if something bad happens (i.e. filling falls out, crown comes loose) Even with the best of dentists, bad things can happen after dental treatments. If something goes wrong after returning home from dental travel, your two options include- getting the problem fixed at home or travelling again. Luckily a number of clinics abroad will make repairs free of charge or at low cost. However, you will still have to pay for the travel costs. The best advice is to plan for a possible return in your travel budget and to keep  your home town dental specialist informed of your medical travel decisions.

A How-To Guide For Dental Travel: Planning Your Trip Abroad 

 

The Ultimate Guide To: Breast Augmentation Abroad

Why do women have breast augmentation?

Each year more than 1.4 million breast augmentations are performed. For decades it has topped the list as the most popular cosmetic surgery among women. The aim of breast augmentation, or any breast surgery , is to improve the appearance of a woman’s breasts. For those with sagging breasts, she may opt for a breast lift. For a women with disproportionately large breasts, she may decide on a breast reduction. Regardless of the procedure, the results are to create more aesthetically appealing breasts.

Breast augmentation involves the placement of a saline or silicone implant to enhance small breasts or correct misshapen or asymmetrical breasts. Usually, women who are considering breast augmentation are uncomfortable with the proportion of their body, or how their undergarments and clothing fit. For women who desire larger breasts, it can increase the fullness and projection of your breasts, improve the balance of your figure and enhance self-confidence. It is particularly popular among new mothers who have recently finished breastfeeding and find that their breasts have lost shape or volume. Significant weight loss and aging may also influence the decision to have breast augmentation

Breast augmentation is not recommended for women suffering from obesity, heart disease, diabetes or for those who smoker, as these can all increase the risk of complications during surgery and recovery.

How much does it cost?

A number of factors attribute to the cost of the breast augmentation. Influences include- surgical facility and hospital fees, anesthesia fees during the procedure, prescription medication and post-surgery care. Depending on the severity or complexity of the procedure, prices may fluctuate from patient to patient. Generally, cost of living where the surgery is performed will have the greatest impact on the final price.

In the UK, cost of living is high and the average cost is anywhere from £3,400-£5,000. Often this does not include the cost of the consultation, anesthesia, recovery time, or the actual implants. In the United States, prices have steadily been dropping, but the average remains around $3,600 (£2493). In most cases, breast augmentation is considered an elective cosmetic surgery and is not covered by health insurance. In the UK, women covered by the National Health Service (NHS) must find a private clinic to have their surgery.

To avoid paying  astronomical prices out-of-pocket, many patients are choosing to have their surgery abroad.

Should I have my breast augmentation abroad?

This year alone, more than 200,000 Brits and 1.4 million Americans are expected to travel abroad for a medical treatment or procedure. Medical travel or medical tourism, is a global market of patients electing to travel across international borders to receive some kind of medical treatment. The two main reasons people choose medical tourism are long wait-times and cost. It is also the world’s fastest growing healthcare market, and a popular choice for high quality and affordable breast augmentation.

Read Anne’s Story: I Got Breast Augmentation And Saved Money Doing It

More and more women in the UK are choosing to have their breast augmentation abroad. A flight from London to Prague is only 2 hours and cost as little as £30.

More and more women in the UK are choosing to have their breast augmentation abroad. A flight from London to Prague is only 2 hours and cost as little as £40.

Leading countries for breast augmentation abroad include Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece and Malaysia. Because these countries have a lower cost of living than the UK or United States, savings can fall between 30-80%. For example, the highest-paid doctors in the Czech Republic (Central Europe) make around £13,000 per year. In the UK, salaries raise to about £48,000. Compared to other developed countries, the Czech Republic still has a relatively low cost of living. This means that even top medical professionals expect much smaller salaries, allowing services to remain affordable while quality remains high. The average silicon breast augmentation (all-inclusive) may cost you £2,120, (approx. £2,600 including travel, accommodation and insurance) as opposed to £3,400-£5,000 in the UK of United States.

Is breast augmentation abroad safe?

Hospitals and clinics that promote medical travel spend millions each year to ensure their facilities have the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment. They understand the fear and misconception patients have that quality might suffer at the the expense of lower costs. To ensure patient safety and care, cosmetic surgery clinics work very hard to earn accreditation from internationally recognized institutes such as the International Society for Quality (ISQua). This allows performance levels to be assessed in relation to established standards. It also means that hospitals and clinics can be appropriately rated for risks.

If you are unsure, memberships and associations to look for include the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), and European Association of Plastic Surgeons (EURAPS). If a cosmetic surgeon is trained in the UK they are likely members of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) or the General Medical Council (GMC). If trained in the US, look for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Although accreditation is important, it does not guarantee the clinic adheres to the national and international standards, or the surgeon’s quality of work. When deciding on a country and clinic abroad, the most important thing to do is ask questions and be well-informed.

How do I arrange my breast augmentation abroad?

Although some patients decide to go this step alone, millions use an medical travel platform or agency to help. Everything from treatment costs and convenience, to credentials and experience of the staff. If this seems overwhelming- that’s because it can be. By using an medical travel platform you save valuable time during the decision-making process and elevates the headache and stress of doing research on your own. Services like this do not stand as a middleman, but rather act as a resource, putting you in direct contact with the clinics, and your cosmetic surgeon, allowing your questions and concerns to be answered by the professionals.

Want To Know More? Click Here For Your Full Breast Augmentation Treatment Guide

The final step is to book a date. If you go through a medical platform, they will help you arrange your flights, accommodation and transportation upon arrival. Patients should allow themselves at least 10-14 days of recovery before flying home to ensure the best results. A recent medical traveller gave this advice after her breast augmentation in Prague, Czech Republic:

“Regardless of the surgery you are going for, take at least a day to be a tourist and enjoy yourself, and an additional 2-3 days of recovery and make your travel back home more comfortable.”

This may include sightseeing, leisure activities and exploring the local culture and history. Whether your travelling alone or with someone, you may want to allow yourself some time pre or post surgery to relax and enjoy the experience of being abroad.

Is travelling for breast augmentation right for me?

For millions of women, breast augmentation has been a positive, changing experience. For new mothers, it has given them a chance to have their pre-baby bodies back, and for others- a chance to improve their overall appearance and feel comfortable in their bodies. Breast augmentation abroad has made this otherwise pricey surgery, more affordable, without giving up quality. Popular destinations such as Europe and Southeast Asia also give patients valuable time away from home to recoup after a procedure, and a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Thinking About Breast Augmentation? Get Unlimited Quotes Today!

 

Why Are Millions of People Choosing Medical Tourism?

What is medical tourism?

Technology and globalization have allowed travel and communication to become faster and easier than ever before. Millions of people travel for business and tourism, and now medical tourism is attracting over 11 million patients per year. According to OECD reports, the most frequent treatments include dental care, cosmetic surgery, elective surgery and infertility treatment. Although there is no universal definition of medical travel, it generally does not include emergency cases or expatriates seeking medical care in their country of residence.

Where are the most popular destinations? 

The most popular destination for medical tourism is Malaysia, averaging half a million visitor each year.

The most popular destination for medical tourism is Malaysia, averaging half a million visitor each year.

Centuries ago, ancient Greeks journeyed from all over the Mediterranean to a small territory near the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria- the birthplace of medical tourism. According to the Greeks, this territory belonged to the healing god Asklepios.

Today the most popular medical tourism destinations include Mexico, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Turkey. In Europe, hospitals and private clinics have started promoting their services. Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland are among the most popular. 

Jonathan Edelheit, chief executive of the Medical Tourism Association, says that destinations often depends on cultural ties. Spanish-speaking patients might favor Latin America, for example. Edelheit continued: 

“While five years ago most American patients who went abroad for cheaper care went to countries like India and Thailand and over the border to Mexico, many are now going to Europe, where care at top hospitals frequently costs a fraction of what is charged in the United States. There are private facilitators who help make the arrangements, pairing patients with doctors and hospitals and arranging travel plans.”

Why are people choosing medical tourism?

The two main reasons people choose medical tourism are long wait-times and cost. Recent statistics show that the average wait time for an approved treatment in the UK is now 18 more weeks or more- the worst in 7 years. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS), covers routine screenings, treatment for long-term conditions and end-of-life care, but often excludes prescription costs, optical and dental services, and infertility treatments such as IVF. Unapproved patients forced to seek out private practices, where high prices make many medical treatments unaffordable. 

Executive director, Balazs Stumpf-Biro, of the European Medical Travel Alliance, believes that the idea (of medical tourism) is to make it easier for patients from overseas- whether from North America, Russia or the Middle East- and to see it as a solution because of its high quality and reasonable prices.

In the United States, healthcare costs continue to skyrocket. Many employers and insurance companies are looking at toward medical travel as a way to lower them. For patients, medical tourism can provide savings up to 80%.

Read More: How To Prepare For Your Trip Abroad 

Why is medical tourism so cheap?

Clinics and hospitals abroad are able to lower their prices due to lower costs of living. The highest-paid doctors in the Czech Republic (Central Europe) make around £13,000 per year whereas, in the UK, salaries rise to about £48,000. Compared to other developed countries, the Czech Republic still has a relatively low cost of living. This means even top medical professionals expect much smaller salaries, allowing services to remain affordable while quality remains high.

For instance, a silicon breast augmentation in the UK costs £3,400-£5,000. In the Czech Republic, an all- inclusive surgery will cost you £2,600 including travel, accommodation, and insurance.

What about quality- will it suffer if travel abroad?

The most common fear people have when traveling abroad is the sacrifice of quality. Hospitals and clinics that promote medical travel understand this misconception and spend millions each year to ensure their facilities have the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment. 

“In the past few years, Americans are definitely more willing to go overseas and now appreciate that there is quality there, whereas seven years ago they didn’t have that perception.”-The New York Times

Clinic and hospitals work very hard to earn accreditation from internationally recognized institutes such as the International Society for Quality (ISQua). Assessments of performance levels are determined in relation to preexisting standards. It also means that hospitals and clinics can be appropriately rated for risks. Accreditation is vital in gaining trust and ensuring patient safety.  

What are the risks?

Each country is different, which could mean different physician and clinic licensing and certification protocols and medical ethics. To protect yourself, it is important to be familiar with the destination country and its regulations before deciding to travel there. For example, a therapy that is considered experimental in one country (like stem cell therapy) may be used in the private care institutions for medical tourists in other countries. 

Unsafe medical practice is always a risk anytime a medical procedure is performed. Hospital infections, such as MRSA may be the result of reused needles or unsafe injection practices and blood supplies. Serious infections such as hepatitis and HIV can also be a transmitted from one patient to another. To avoid these risks, select a country which practices highly regulated medicine and a clinic with proper accreditation. 

When considering a surgical procedure, patients should also assess the length of their flight. Traveling long distances after surgery can be dangerous and result in deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. To prevent complications, physicians advise that patients drink plenty of water, exercise their legs while sitting, and take a walk every 2-3 hours on long flights. For high-risk patients, they may prescribe medical compression stockings and anti-clotting medications.

Is medical tourism right for me?

Traveling for a medical treatment is a big decision and must be considered on an individual base. For millions of people, medical tourism has changed the way they look at healthcare and has become a life-changing solution. Lower costs and wait times have attracted patients from across the globe, and clinics and hospitals are investing to provide the highest quality of care.

Additionally, medical tourism platforms and agencies have made researching and planning your trip quick and easy. From the comfort of your sofa, you can search and compare prices, clinics, and procedures. You can also get free online consultations and quotes. Once selecting a treatment and clinic, you’re also put in direct communication with your surgeon or dentist, and all of your medical questions and a professional will address your concerns.

Medical tourism is the world’s fastest growing healthcare market and shows no sign of slowing down. Are you ready to join the movement? 

Start Planning Your Trip Today! Click For A Free Consultation