Traveling for healthcare is nothing new. In fact, the term “medical tourist” is used to describe people who travel overseas to receive healthcare at a lower cost. Around 1.5 million Americans seek care outside of the U.S. each year. Some of the most popular destinations for medical tourism include Costa Rica, India, and Thailand.
Another popular travel destination: Tampa, Florida
That’s just one example of a real destination for a real New Choice Health patient but you get the idea. Even flying or driving to another state could significantly lower the price of your medical procedure. No passport necessary.
Below, you’ll find answers to some common questions about traveling for healthcare, as well as 5 things you should do before traveling.
4 common questions about traveling for healthcare
Even knowing that many people have traveled to a nearby state for a procedure, you may still feel skeptical. That’s normal. The healthcare industry is complicated. If you’re not certain about something, the best thing you can do is ask questions. Most of the time, having your questions answered can help you make a decision that’s right for you.
Some common questions patients ask about traveling to get a medical procedure include:
1. What’s the benefit of traveling for a medical procedure?
Let’s say you need a hernia repair surgery and you live in Birmingham, Alabama. You are quoted a total of $8,500 for the procedure. However, you could get the surgery in Atlanta, Georgia at an equivalent facility for $5,250.
That means you could save $3,250 on the procedure by having it done in Atlanta.
The benefit is straightforward: traveling for a medical procedure gives you the opportunity to get top quality care at a lower price.
2. How much money will traveling for healthcare really save me?
Great question! The major benefit of traveling for healthcare is saving money. But how much you’ll actually save depends on how much it will cost to you travel. Take a look:
- If getting a procedure is going to save you $1,400, like in our example above, and travel (including transportation, hotel, and food) will only cost $400, you’re saving $1,000.
- On the other hand, if you’ll spend, say, $1,000 on traveling from Point A to Point B, you’d only be saving $400.
Is saving $400 worth the trip? Is saving $1,000? Each individual and their situation is different, so that depends on whether it feels worth it to you.
Something else to consider is that you may need to budget for 2 people — yourself and someone to assist you, like a friend or family member. However, there are services available in most cities to help you if you need to travel alone.
3. Who shouldn’t travel for healthcare?
There are no set rules for who should and shouldn’t travel for care. Everyone is different.
If you have a serious health condition that is monitored by your primary doctor, you should ask them if they think it’s safe for you to travel for a procedure. Following their advice is best since they know you and your personal situation.
4. Will I recover from my procedure at my destination or at my home?
While traveling for healthcare is common for outpatient procedures, patients also travel for inpatient procedures, which requires more time spent in the destination city.
Whether you’re an inpatient or outpatient will make a difference here. If you have an inpatient procedure that requires you to stay in the hospital for one or more nights, you’ll probably need to stay at your travel destination for part of your recovery.
If you have an outpatient procedure and don’t need to be under doctor supervision after your anesthesia has worn off, you could travel back home as soon as you’re ready. Since most surgeons are able to complete follow-ups over the phone, that’s one less thing you have to worry about. Many patients who travel for procedures turn their trip into a vacation, though. Why not enjoy some sun and sand while you’re recovering?
“I accidentally found New Choice Health on the Internet — and what a lifesaver! They had excellent service and provided me with several outstanding choices. I ended up flying out of state to have the operation done and was VERY pleased. I loved the doctor and the surgery center. And I loved the outcome. Thank you, New Choice Health! I would and have recommended you to friends.” —Gloria S., Anchorage, AK; Gallbladder surgery 2017
You can see more New Choice Health patient testimonials here.
3 things you should do when you decide to travel for healthcare
If you decide you do want to travel for a medical procedure, there are some things to keep in mind. A little preparation and planning upfront can make a big difference in your experience.
1. Talk to your doctor about whether travel is right for you
You’ve decided you’re open to traveling for healthcare. Now you just need to get the go-ahead from your primary care doctor or specialist. If they think you’re a good candidate for your procedure and think you’ll be able to travel safely, then you’re good to go. On the other hand, if they advise against it, it’s best to heed their advice.
2. Ask for support from family, friends, and co-workers
Once you decide to get your procedure, things tend to move pretty quickly. One thing you’ll want to do is get family and friends on board with your decision to have the procedure away from home. If you’ll need to arrange childcare or pet care, talk to family and friends who live nearby. Ask for them to each cover certain tasks while you’re away.
You may also consider choosing a destination where you have friends and family, who can help with transportation and lodging. This could save you money and give you more peace of mind.
If you need to take a short leave of absence from work, you’ll want to let your supervisor know right away. Talk to your co-workers, too. Ask what you can do to set them up for success while you’re gone and let them know how much you appreciate them filling in for you. Remember, you only have to share the details you want to share.
3. Use New Choice Health’s Patient Assist program
Part of our mission at New Choice Health is to help unravel the complex strings that make it so overwhelming. Patient Assist is a program that leverages our experience to negotiate and bundle provider services resulting in discounted all-inclusive rates.
What does this mean for you? If you need help affording a medical procedure, we can help. To find out if you qualify for Patient Assist, apply today!