By the time Anghy Guevara turned forty years of age, she became in need of having dental implants done due to serious back-tooth decay developing over the years. There was just one problem: she couldn’t afford to pay for it out-of-pocket.
“They were charging me $4,500 per implant,” she said. Ms. Guevara needed six implants, resulting in a total cost of $27,000 for the whole procedure.
Ms. Guevara works as a Certified Nurse Assistant at Huntington Hospital in Long Island. Even though she receives dental insurance through employment, her plan does not cover dental implants because such cost is classified as “cosmetic surgery.”
As a result of the circumstance, Ms. Guevara found a reputable dentist through a friend who had previously traveled to Mexico for care. And in April of this year, she herself traveled to Cancun in order to have the procedure done for the first time. There, her dentist would only charge approximately $1,500 per implant, less than half the cost in the states.
“It is cheaper, and that’s why I took advantage to have everything done over there,” Ms. Guevara said.
In recent years, paying for procedures such as dental implants in the U.S. have become quite a hassle for most individuals. Nowadays the price for a single implant can cost you about $2,500. But while some individuals succumb to the high cost, others find a way to have them done without having to pay as much. Even, get a vacation out of the deal.
Medical tourism, a term which refers to people who travel to another country other than their own to obtain medical treatment, is becoming a global trend as more and more are jumping on board. In 2017, medical tourism accounted for nearly half of all medical travel leaving and entering the United States, making up the largest number of medical tourists around the globe.
And within the total U.S. population of medical tourists, approximately 800,000 crossed borders just for dental care.
“It is a rising global phenomenon,” says Andrea de la Hoz-Correa, professor and researcher in medical tourism at the University of Granada. She claims, “medical tourism is a product of globalization in healthcare and neoliberal policies resulting from factors such as continuing search for lower costs, better quality of care, and shorter waiting lists.”
The top medical tourism destinations with high range of savings compared to U.S. costs include countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Among them, India resulted to be the highest with costs between 65% and 90% less than in the states.
More than half the population of medical tourists seeking treatment outside are motivated by cost savings followed by better quality of care, according to a survey study by the Medical Tourism Association.
“The reason I chose Mexico is because is less time traveling and the flight is cheap,” said Ms. Guevara.
While in Mexico, Ms. Guevara indicated that the dental office provided additional services such as picking her from the airport. “They provided me with medications, referred me to a hotel, etc.,” she said.
Overall, Ms. Guevara spent about $13,000 including additional tooth fillings, endodontics, and a crown. During the trip, she also took a vacation while residing at a beach resort called Occidental Costa Cancun. The total cost resulted to be little over $15,000, almost half below the original price for the just how much the six dental implants alone would have cost in the U.S.
Where to Seek Such Services?
But trusting your body parts to a doctor thousands of miles away from home may seem like a daunting proposition. Especially, because traveling in search of medical attention outside the borders involves risks. Still, with proper vetting there is no need to worry.
Agencies specialized with providing patients all the medical resources needed to seek attention outside the United States are available all throughout the country.
MedTourEasy.com, an online medical tourism marketplace, provides towards those seeking attention outside with informational resources to find proper healthcare providers in countries such as Thailand, the Philippines and most of all, India.
“Someone is looking for treatment in another country is not sure where to go, which doctor to choose, they end up searching online and eventually find us,” said Alex Sander, head of training and recruitment at MedTourEasy.
And like MedTourEasy, other agencies can be found through other networks such as the Medical Tourism Association, a non-profit trade organization that links top international hospitals, healthcare providers, medical travel facilitators, and insurance companies with the common goal of providing cost saving as well as efficient quality of care towards patients in a global environment.
For more information, you can contact MTA via online at www.medicaltourismassociation.com.