Medical tourism expanding

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Medical tourism is a $40 billion market that’s expanding 25 percent a year, according to the guidebook Patients Beyond Borders.

US patients can save 65-90 percent by seeking treatment in Thailand for ailments ranging from a coronary artery bypass to rhinoplasty and sex reassignment surgery. The average cost of a hip replacement in Thailand, which has emerged as a “thrift” destination for orthopaedic and cardiac surgery, is one-fourth of that in the US.

Thailand earned 31.12 billion baht ($995 million) from medical tourism last year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Singapore and India are also major destinations for international patients.

Vishal Bali, group chief executive officer of Fortis Healthcare, a leading chain of hospitals in India, commenting on Thailand’s success said, “Medical tourism became a priority for Thailand who have taken the opportunity to support this trend at the highest levels, because they felt there was an economic upside in doing so.”