November 20, 2008

India turning affordable, quality option for medical tourists

India was soon growing to be a popular medical destination following the availability of health care facilities that matched international standards but offered it at a fraction of the cost abroad.

The estimated international medical tourist arrivals to India was 4,50,000 as against Singapore's 4,20,000 and over a million in Thailand, said Vishal Bali, CEO, Wockhardt.

Nearly 13 hospitals in India had been JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited. JCI was the US-based quality assessor that awards accreditation to hospitals outside US.

The Deloitte Study on medical tourist estimates that 750,000 Americans travelled abroad for health care in 2007 and the number is estimated to increase to six million by 2010.

The study estimates that the Global market for Medical tourism tobe currently at 60 billion dollars.

The growing cost of healthcare in the US, the high premium to be paid is leaving a lot of American out of the insurance cordon. Nearly 70 million US citizens were underinsured or not insured. In comparison health care cost in India was nearly just a fraction of the cost incurred in the US.

A cardiac surgery, which would cost 9000 USD, in India would cost around 75,000 to 100,000 USD in the US. A spine surgery costing around 8000 to 9000 USD in India could cost around 65,000 USD while a joint replacement in India would have a patient paying up around 8500 USD while it would cost around 55,000 to 65,000 USD in the states, says Bali.

Even with the travel to India and stay cost involved, patients would still end up paying much less if they chose India as an option to undergo treatment, he said which was leading to more US patients looking to India.

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