The USA & Switzerland are and always have been a destination for “Medical Tourism.”
Medical treatment for the very rich for whom cost is no object is often sought in places like Switzerland or the USA. The best doctors and best hospital facilities are available & excellent — but the costs are formidable.
Medical Tourism exists because M.D.’s and hospitals in certain countries like Hungary (for dentists) and Thailand (for surgery) earn much less than local doctors charge. However the facilities and talent of the doctors, nurses, etc maybe just as good as in the high priced countries. This is why Medical Tourism has become popular.
Medical treatment abroad, i.e.Medical Tourism, is optimal for middle-class people whose treatment “at home” is not fully covered by insurance.
It is obviously unsuitable for emergency treatment, but ideal for elective surgery or expensive dentistry.
Take my own situation for instance:
I spend a lot of time in Switzerland where recently, two injections into my knee (for Arthritis) cost over €1000 Euros. In France or Monaco the cost would be about the same. I learned that in Serbia, they are experts in this kind of “sports medicine” ..Serbian doctors highly trained in the USA or Switzerland could do the same job (maybe even better?) for under $200.
Thus, Why didn’t I didn’t go to Serbia for treatment?
Because the extra costs of a round trip, plus a few days in hotels, would amount to the same €1000 cost as in Switzerland. A big additional cost is a hospitalization. Hospital stays can be up to 90% cheaper in countries that specialize in Medical Tourism. The facilities (hospitals) can be just as comfortable—or even better.
In Thailand, on another matter entirely, I got wonderful massage-therapy for €10 per treatment while the same rehab in Europe was €100+ But this time, the knee injections I needed were done in a Swiss clinic. No hospitalization was needed. So the choice was clear for me. No fuss no bother to stay “at home.” A potential €800 saving was not worth the trip. Bottom line: Medical Tourism not advisable for minor treatments.
However, friends who needed more serious operations like hip-replacements could save 80% of very big costs in the $30,000 range. Plus they liked the idea of a pleasant vacation and rest and recovery on a tropical beach in Thailand rather than an expensive hospital room at five times the cost — during a cold and bleak winter in the USA.
Thus, the bottom line is that for expensive surgery, finding top-rated doctors and facilities abroad may be a good move for those who are not covered by medical insurance at home.