It's no secret that medical care in the U.S. is expensive. The discrepancy between expenses in the U.S. and elsewhere is leading increasing numbers of Americans to travel overseas for better-priced medical procedures.
A nose job in Brazil, for example, can cost about 60 percent less than in the U.S. Similar savings can be expected for a spinal fusion in Turkey. Heart bypass surgery in India can be 90 percent less expensive.
Even factoring in the cost of travel, the savings can be substantial. And you're getting a pre-op vacation thrown in as well.
Of course, fear and uncertainty combine to put a brake on a widespread turn to medical tourism. Americans trust American hospitals. Hospitals in other countries, not so much.
But choosing a hospital a continent away need not be a shot in the dark. According to Patients Without Borders, a publisher of medical tourism guidebooks, there are almost 500 hospitals outside the U.S. that have been accredited by the Joint Commission International, which holds medical facilities to strict international standards.
A Bloomberg article reports that around seven million people travel abroad every year for various medical procedures, making medical tourism worth as much as $40 billion annually. The top destinations outside the U.S.:
American medicine is not without its proponents. Despite high prices, around 800,000 foreigners traveled to the U.S. for medical reasons, making it the third-most visited country for medical tourism.
Reader Reality Check
Would you travel abroad to save money on a medical procedure?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.