A Prescription for New Profits

With all of the controversy surrounding our current national debate on healthcare reform, there’s probably no better time for awareness on the more than obvious fact medical procedures for most Americans are so far beyond reach, it’s become a national disgrace.

It’s no wonder then, that these exorbitant surgical and dental costs have driven thousands of Americans across our national borders seeking affordable and oftentimes superior care in countries that not too long ago were considered third world. In fact, medical tourism from the U.S. to countries such as Malaysia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama and India is a market segment that’s growing substantially from year-to-year and is one that should no longer be ignored by mainstream travel agents.

Basically, the industry is driven by the following factors:

Cost savings: Affordability is a primary driver of medical tourism. According to most market research, most surgical procedures in foreign countries can cost approximately one-third of the going rate in the United States. And cost savings surveys even take into account lodging while abroad and travel expenses getting there.

Quality care: Not all concerns of medical tourists are about cost. Equal consideration is directed to the quality of service, facilities and medical practitioners in a foreign country. Associations such as the Joint Commission International and the Medical Tourism Association have made great progress in certifying and accrediting international hospitals that serve foreign patients.

Accessibility: Medical travelers are often looking for immediate care for which they would have to wait weeks or months in their home country.

Consider the fact that medical tourism to Malaysia alone has tripled over the past six years; Brazil caters to more than 50,000 foreign patients seeking mostly cosmetic surgery, while thousands of foreign patients seeking high-quality dental surgical and cosmetic procedures, in-vitro fertilization procedures and more flock to Costa Rica and Panama each year. India probably offers the broadest menu of high-quality surgical, dental, cosmetic and alternative healing practices available anywhere in the world today and patients from around the world—the U.S. included—are traveling there by the thousands each year to take advantage of high-quality medical care that’s available for as little as 10 percent of the cost here in the United States.

Most importantly, you’ll find in the following pages an enormous source of reputable and knowledgeable medical service organizations out there who can not only assist agents in helping your clients find the best quality healthcare available in Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Malaysia and Panama, but they can also assist you in earning good commissions for booking accommodations, transport and vacation services for patient clients and their families, pre- and post-medical and dental procedures.