Health Meccas You Can Visit To Ease Your Fears Of Covid-19
This is an article “Health Meccas You Can Visit To Ease Your Fears Of Covid-19” by Marc Pulisci
Most tourists usually go for the sights and sounds of an exciting new place when on holiday. As worldwide travel restrictions start to loosen this year, another item travelers might want to add to their checklists and itineraries is health center visits. With the Omicron variant still infecting many despite the availability of vaccines and booster shots, it's always best to be safe than sorry when you go on vacation.
For many Americans, medical tourism has been something worth investing in even before the pandemic. Some health meccas abroad offer lower costs in doctor consultations, medications, and medical procedures in contrast to the absence of universal healthcare in the US. For one, the price of insulin is much higher at home considering several factors, such as how it is genetically engineered from human insulin instead of the less expensive beef and pork, its overall availability, and government policies.
Every year, American patients book flights to foreign countries that offer expert medical care for a fraction of the cost in the US. While the pandemic is still very much present, experts predict global medical tourism to grow up to $35.77 billion this year from last year's $32.02 billion.
To give you an idea of which countries are the best ones to visit for highly-specialized healthcare, check out the list below, which features the top three medical tourism countries in the 2020-2021 Medical Tourism Index:
Still reigning on top of the annual Medical Tourism Index, Canada welcomes around 14 million visitors from the US every year. Tourists who want to visit for medical-related reasons can cut down on travel costs and get quality treatment in the country's various hospitals with state-of-the-art facilities. The local government funds its healthcare system, but foreign patients would want to get specialized care from private healthcare providers which offer more services.
However, one hitch is the waiting list. As more tourists seek healthcare in Canada for major medical needs, figures have also increased in Canada's outbound medical tourism. The local government funds its healthcare system, but patients may want specialized care from private healthcare providers.
While visiting the second-largest country in the world in terms of land area, unique sightseeing destinations would include the architectural wonder of Rue du Petit Champlain in Québec City near Medipassion Healing Inc., or the majestic Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal where a Choice Medical Services clinic is nearby.
For tourists who want to get good medical care and enjoy tropical climate, Singapore is the perfect destination for most of the year except for November and December when the rainy season comes in.
With over half a million tourists visiting each year, its medical tourism spend accounts for only less than 4% of its total tourism revenue. That means that Singapore is somehow still an unexplored territory for many in the western part of the world when it comes to healthcare. Listed as one of the most expensive cities globally, Singapore and its medical tourism initiatives remain competitive, with knee surgeries costing only $16,000 compared to American rates of $35,000.
However, more services are available in this ex-British colony, including cosmetic surgeries (no wonder those K-pop artists look good), dental services, and even major heart procedures. The country's modern medical technology attracts 40% of its total medical tourists from the Asian region every year.
Since Singapore is a relatively small country, a five-day holiday is enough to get some medical work done while checking out tourism landmarks. While there, visit Universal Studios at Resorts World Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands, or the bustling nightlife of Clark Quaye.
If there's one country known for its penchant for natural healing and alternative medicine, Japan would undoubtedly be top-of-mind. But this island country in the Pacific region has more to offer visiting patients. Its traditional spring healing paved the way for numerous hot spring resorts to open in recent years, allowing more tourists to try out alternative treatments for diseases and injuries.
Last year, Japan focused its medical tourism campaigns on more wellness treatments centered on nature tours and healthy food. The country also houses several facilities to provide high-quality medical care from cancer, radiotherapy, and regenerative medicine specialists. One, in particular, is the Kameda General Hospital in Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture, which welcomes an average of 1,000 foreign patients annually. The hospital has a dedicated medical tourism service, which goes well with the local government's visa policy that allows medical tourists a validity of six months for treatment.
The government started a program in January 2011 to issue entry visas for people coming into the country for medical purposes. These visas enable travelers to receive treatment for up to six months, or double the period of a regular tourism visa.
While in Chiba Prefecture, don't forget to visit the Hoki Museum, which features a generous collection of realist art and architecture, the crowdless Chiba Zoological Park, or the historic Chiba Shrine.
Other medical tourism countries worth visiting
Spain, which has reopened for vaccinated tourists, received top four honors in this year's Medical Tourism Index. After being one of the most affected countries during the pandemic, Spain, with over 10 million recorded cases as of this year, country officials are preparing to boost its efforts to promote its medical tourism. Its offered services include physical wellness, mental and spiritual health, thermal baths, and water therapy.
Annually, Spain's medical tourism grows at a rate of 20%, thanks to its many expert doctors and services. Best of all, visiting patients from other countries can save up to 70% in costs for such major procedures like knee or cosmetic surgery.
Another country gaining new ground in medical tourism is the United Kingdom. With more overseas patients booking doctor's appointments via its healthcare concierge, the UK can quickly recover tourism losses.
With many renowned medical institutions that include The London Bridge Hospital, BUPA Cromwell, Great Ormond Street, Moorfields, The Portland, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, there's no wonder why most of the world's world's healthcare experts apply for residency in the country.
UK medical costs also remain transparent. Foreign patients will be charged 150% of the NHS national tariff but can avail of exemptions provided reciprocal healthcare agreements between the UK and the visitor's country are in effect.