Updated consumer guide on medical travel published


"Costs have become unbearable for some 82 million uninsured or underinsured Americans," says author Josef Woodman. "US patients who would otherwise undergo treatment at home are now driven in droves to seek affordable medical options in other countries."

Some of the key 2020 medical tourism trends identified in the guide are:

  • The international medical travel market is expanding at 15-18% annually, with rising costs of treatment and aging millennials driving the growth.
  • Americans seeking inexpensive pharmaceuticals for complex conditions are beginning to explore destinations such as Mexico and Thailand, where formal hospital-sponsored programs have been created to serve healthcare consumers burdened by ever-increasing US drug prices (e.g. another 5% hike in early 2020). Expensive drugs sought by patients include treatment for cancer, Hepatitis C and spinal conditions such as osteoporosis.
  • Fewer inbound patients are visiting US medical centres for care, in favour of culturally compatible, friendlier venues closer to home. Thailand, Singapore, Korea, and Malaysia are significant beneficiaries. China is a big exception as Chinese patients still travel to US medical centres for complex treatment of cancers and other environmentally driven diseases.

Patients Beyond Borders has also worked with medical travel agency, Medical Departures (who have managed nearly 100,000 medical tourism bookings to date) to find that more than 85% of their medical travel is to a small group of metropolitan centres around the globe.  Their identified top 10 centres are, in order: Bangkok, Budapest, Cancun, Escazu, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Seoul, Bali, Istanbul and Barcelona.



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