Affordable Bariatric Surgery Outside of the United States
If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. If you try and try again and still don't succeed, try Mexico.
The cost of gastric bypass in the United States can be extravagant especially if the patient's health insurance does not cover bariatric surgery. This unfortunate situation has motivated many Americans to seek the weight-loss procedures they need in other countries.
What Is Medical Tourism?
Medical tourism is traveling to another country to have a medical procedure.
The attraction to medical tourism is affordability. Popular medical travel options include Mexico, India, Thailand, and Costa Rica. In all of these countries weight-loss procedures such as gastric bypass, lap band surgery, duodenal switch surgery, and gastric sleeve surgery cost considerably less than in the United States.
On average, the cost of these overseas surgeries is half as much as in the United States and sometimes even less. It is little wonder that 30% of the people polled by Gallup said they would consider getting surgery abroad.
About 45 million people in the United States are uninsured. Because of this poor state of affairs and the, often times, outlandish cost for medical attention, medical tourism is increasing in popularity.
Benefits of Medical Tourism
The main benefit of medical tourism for those seeking weight-loss surgery is the reduced cost of weight-loss procedures offered abroad. As much as $16,000 can be saved on obesity surgery overseas, and this point cannot be overstated. The reduced cost of surgeries in other countries is far and away the primary reason people choose medical travel for surgical procedures.
The Hospital Information Systems in other countries are often far superior to those in the United States. A better system allows for better and faster care. In other countries, the waiting times to see a doctor is substantially less than in the United States. A reported wait time of 17 minutes was recorded at a hospital in Thailand. The average waiting period to see a doctor at an emergency room in the United States is just over four hours.
Medical Travel Safety
The standard of healthcare and healthcare professionals has improved greatly in third world countries. Stereotypical visions of ravaged clinics and ill-equipped healthcare professionals can be erased. If you do your homework and research the Joint Commission International standards for hospitals approved abroad, the potential for risk can be made minimal.
The Joint Commission International is a division of the Joint Commission, the agency in the United States that accredits American hospitals. Accreditation is achieved only after a rigorous agenda of standards has been met. The same precise standards must be met for international accreditation. Before committing to any specific hospital in another country for bariatric surgery, be sure that the hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission International.
In addition, many of the doctors who are practicing abroad have been
educated in the United States and frequently collaborate with American doctors.
Why Is Medical Travel So Affordable?
The low price for medical tourism is due to a handful of factors. Labor and administrative costs is less in other countries as are malpractice expenses and malpractice insurance. The overhead abroad is also less. Finally, there are fewer administrative duties and less paperwork.
If you do the necessary research and make educated choices, medical tourism can be both safe and affordable.
Up next: Paying for Weight-Loss Surgery: Medical Loans
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You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.
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Published On: March 14, 2012