NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

MEDICAL TOURISM

November 18, 2005

A new industry called medical tourism has emerged with Americans and Europeans traveling to India for medical care, says the Dallas Morning News. In India, specialty hospitals offer advanced surgeries in conditions touted as equal to or better than those at American hospitals, at a fraction of the cost.

For example:

  • Outpatient clinics offer laser surgeries for corrective vision, psoriasis and varicose veins at one-forth the U.S. price.
  • In one patient's case, a triple bypass heart surgery in the United States would have cost him $120,000, but in India, he only paid $15,000.
  • The Confederation of Indian Industries estimates that 150,000 foreign patients came to India for treatment in 2004.
  • McKinsey & Co., an international consulting firm, estimates that outsourced medical care could bring India $2.2 billion a year by 2012.

Self-employed U.S. business owners are leading the way in medical tourism. But with insurance premiums approaching $10,000 a year per employee, Americans now covered by employee health care also may soon look to India for elective and scheduled procedures.

Dr. Naresh Trehan, a surgeon and the director of Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre in New Delhi, India, says the challenge now is to ensure medical providers in India really are up to international standards. He says accreditation procedures are being tightened to reflect that concern.

Source: Jim Landers, "India Luring Westerners with Low-Cost Surgeries," Dallas Morning News, November 15, 2005.

 

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