Viva Tropical - Costa Rica has been called a paradise by many, but according to Promed, council for the international promotion of Costa Rica Medicine, it is also a health care paradise, a place where tourists can come to receive quality medical treatment at a fraction of what they would pay back home.
Sound a little too good to be true?
A survey conducted by Patients Beyond Borders (the most trusted source in medical travel) can clearly illustrate this point, for in 2011 a patient could expect to pay:
- $88,000 for a coronary artery bypass graft in the United States or $9,500 in India
- $33,000 in America for a hip replacement, or $12,500 for the same procedure in Mexico.
This is why the medical tourism industry is booming and why more and more people are opting to leave their homes behind to hop on a plane and seek medical attention elsewhere. In fact, according to Helmut Wachowiak, a Professor at the International University of Applied Sciences in Germany, the global medical tourism market is worth 40-50 billion dollars and is growing about twenty percent each year.
For many people, the idea of combining medical treatment with a vacation may sound a bit odd, but with medical tourism companies like Dr. Holiday out there to build itineraries around medical appointments, it can be a convenient and cost efficient option.
The simple truth is, people need affordable, quality medical treatment, and the idea of recuperating in a tropical paradise like Costa Rica often tips the scales.
So what makes Costa Rica the right choice?
To begin with, Costa Rica is in close proximity to the United States, immediately giving them an edge over Asian and South American countries. And to top it off, U.S. citizens don’t even need a visa to enter.
While the idea of leaving your home and jetting off to a foreign destination to receive medical treatment may sound daunting, according to Promed, Costa Rica has one of the best public health systems on the American continent. If you choose to receive treatment in Costa Rica, you can rest assured that you will be treated by certified professionals working in an internationally accredited hospital like the Clinica Biblica Hospital in Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose.
The Clinica Biblica Hospital was the first facility in the region to receive Joint Commission International Accreditation, which is a set of standards designed by a group of global health care professionals. And to accommodate foreign patients, many establishments, including the Clinica Biblica Hospital, have international departments that offer visitors concierge services like accommodation information and sightseeing tours.
While it is true that some American doctors try to discourage medical tourism, saying that the quality of treatment and follow-up care might not be as good as back home, the standard of care in the private sector of Costa Rica is considered high by both the medical community and past patients.
What medical treatments are available?
The health care professionals in Costa Rica offer numerous treatments at much lower rates, treatments like:
- Plastic surgery
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Ear, eye and throat care, and
- high risk pregnancy
But currently, one of the most in demand medical tourist procedures in Costa Rica is dental care.
Dental care in Costa Rica
Massimo Manzi, the Director at Promed, estimated that 40,000 medical tourists came to Costa Rica in 2011, and of those 40,000, around 15,000 came seeking dental treatment.
Again, this is mainly cost related, and since, according to Biotech Business Week, 45% of American’s don’t have dental insurance, it should come as no surprise that they are searching for alternative options.
Receiving dental care in Costa Rica will cost 30-40% less than in the United States (Deloitte Center for Health Solutions). So for many, the choice is quite simple; they can spend a large amount of money getting a crown back home, or they can take a medical vacation to Costa Rica, get the crown for less, and then spend a few extra days relaxing on the beach.
Medical tourism might not be for everyone, but it’s a serious option that many people are choosing to try. So if you are in need of medical or dental treatment and you expect the bill to be overwhelming, do your research, pack your bags, and get the medical/dental attention you need as you take a little vacation to gorgeous Costa Rica.