Meet Laura Moser, Medical Tourist
Travel Blog • Michael Yessis • 12.08.05 | 11:26 PM ET
The Rise and Fall of a 10th Grade Social Climber author Laura Moser has an interesting two-part story in Slate this week about her experience as a medical tourist in Beijing. Her decision to seek treatment abroad isn’t unusual.
Last year, the medical-tourism business grossed around $40 billion, and the numbers are getting bigger every day. A recent McKinsey study predicts that medical tourism in India, worth $333 million last year, will bring in $2.3 billion by 2012. Compare price tags and you’ll understand why. A bone-marrow transplant costs $2.5 million in the United States. Doctors in India can do it for $26,000. Heart-bypass surgery runs $60,000 to $150,000 in this country. In Asia, the average cost is $10,000. Other less-serious procedures—tummy tucks, face lifts, breast implants, LASIK eye surgery, even MRIs and dental work—can also be had at a fraction of they cost here.
The hospitals abroad offering these bargains insist that the savings come at no sacrifice to quality. They lure potential patients with airport pick-ups, private nurses, frequent-flier miles, and all-inclusive post-op resort stays. Why go to the hospital in Boston if you can stay in a five-star hotel in Thailand? A record 1 million tourists traveled to that country last year for health care. Using Thailand’s success as a model, countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines have established governmental committees to promote medical tourism.
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