Save Thousands as a Medical Tourist in These 3 Countries

Save Thousands as a Medical Tourist in These 3 Countries

Affordable healthcare isn’t a myth, you can save thousands as a medical tourist. In fact, if you look beyond U.S. borders you’ll find healthcare systems in other countries that are equally as good—if not better—than what you get at home. And you won’t have to remortgage your house to stay healthy.

As more and more people are realizing better and faster healthcare is available at a fraction of the cost, a growing number of them are opting to take advantage of what’s called medical tourism.

It’s not uncommon to save thousands as a medical tourist—or even more—on medical treatments without sacrificing on quality.

And who doesn’t enjoy relaxing and seeing an interesting new part of the world while saving enough money on healthcare to cover the cost of an exciting vacation and still come out ahead financially?

Instead of staying in a small hospital room, you can spend your recovery time in a luxurious Four Seasons Hotel, receive high-quality medical treatment, and still save a small fortune.

Perhaps dental or vision care isn’t included in your health plan at home… Maybe you want an elective procedure, like vision surgery or a facelift, that isn’t covered…

From Asia to Latin America, read on to find out more about five of the best options available to you as a medical tourist.


Save thousands as a medical tourist, If the high quality of Colombia’s healthcare system was news to you, you’re not alone. But a word of the country’s excellent, affordable healthcare is getting out. Between 2012 and 2013, medical tourism in Colombia increased by over 60%. In 2013, 50,000 medical tourists pumped an estimated $216 million into the Colombian healthcare system.

For decades, North Americans have come to Cali and Medellín for cosmetic surgery—a tummy tuck here, a facelift there, and a few implants to round things out.

But today, people come to Colombia for all sorts of complex medical treatments. Eight of Medellín’s hospitals ranked among the top 43 in all of Latin America last year. That’s according to the prestigious financial publication América Economía, which assembles an annual list of the region’s top medical facilities.

In most cases, Americans are able to save 40% on healthcare in Colombia, and in many cases, even more.

“I speak from experience when I say I’m impressed by the healthcare in Medellín,” says Nancy Kiernan, International Living’s Colombia correspondent.

“My husband and I have lived here for over five years, and we are very satisfied with the city’s health and dental-care systems. From something as simple as getting a blood test or your teeth cleaned, to surgery and root canals, healthcare professionals in Medellín provide excellent service,” says Nancy.

Thanks to all this excellent care, medical tourism is booming in Medellín.

Each year, more and more foreigners come here for that very reason. It’s not hard to see why. does price estimates on various medical procedures. In 2016 the cost of a hip replacement in the U.S. averaged just over $40,000. In Colombia, the same procedure averages only a little over $8,000.

Medellín is committed to making access to care easier for international patients. The San Vicente Fundación Hospital recently built a second site only two miles from the Río Negro International Airport. Being only a stones-throw away from the arrival terminal means that patients have only a five-minute drive to the hospital for their care.

You can save thousands as a medical tourist, Dentists here provide fantastic care at a fraction of the U.S. cost. A crown in the U.S. will cost you between $1,000 and $3,500. “My English-speaking dentist here will do the same procedure, using state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, for $250 to $480,” says Nancy. “Even if you just want to brighten your smile, a one-hour session that includes an ultrasonic cleaning, tooth polishing, and two cycles of whitening gel costs only $150. In the U.S., you’d easily be looking at four times that amount for the same service.”

The Colombian government has taken notice and made promoting medical tourism a top priority. New clinics and hospitals are popping up everywhere. Medical tourism travel agencies are working hand-in-hand with medical institutions to provide complete packages that include travel arrangements and medical care.

Costa Rica

Save thousands as a medical tourist, Medical tourism has become big business in Costa Rica. People around the world are realizing the benefits of the country’s high-quality, low-cost medical services.

The World Health Organization ranks Costa Rica’s healthcare system slightly above that of the U.S. This achievement is the result of a large government investment in the health sector. The influx of foreigners in Costa Rica has also been a big incentive for private hospitals to open and expand their operations.

Tens of thousands of Americans, including many retirees, live in Costa Rica, and more than 700,000 Americans make annual visits. With hundreds of board-certified physicians, surgeons, and dentists practicing in or near the capital city of San José, health travel has gained a strong foothold in this nation of more than 4.7 million people. Around 5% of international tourists come specifically to take advantage of its medical services, mostly cosmetic surgery and dental care. And the nation is among the top five visited by Americans for medical treatment. San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital has two Joint Commission International Accredited hospitals. Hospital CIMA and Clinica Biblica, as well as other highly rated hospitals.

To give you an idea of the savings that can be made by seeking medical procedures in Costa Rica, below is a comparison table of procedures and their cost in the U.S. and Costa Rica according to the Medical Tourism Association.

 Procedure  Cost in Costa Rica  Cost in U.S.
 Coronary artery bypass  $31,500  $88,000
 Heart valve replacement  $29,000  $85,000
 Hip replacement  $14,500  $33,000
 Knee replacement  $9,500  $34,000
 Facelift (full)  $4,500  $12,500
 Gastric bypass  $11,200  $18,000


Save thousands as a medical tourist, Mexico, most doctors and dentists receive at least part of their training in the U.S. (And many U.S. doctors have trained in Mexico, notably in Guadalajara.) Many of them continue to go to the U.S. or Europe for on-going training. Every mid-size to a large city in Mexico has at least one good hospital.

Many individual hospitals are excellent. In fact, Mexico’s combination of well-trained doctors, modern hospitals, low prices, and proximity to the U.S. has made it a popular medical-tourism destination for U.S. residents. Many Mexican towns along the U.S./Mexico border have thriving dental and medical practices, thanks to their many U.S. patients. And some cities further into Mexico, notably Puerto Vallarta and Mérida, have become medical-tourism centers because they offer several excellent hospitals and dental practices in one city.

Several private U.S. hospital chains own and run hospitals in Mexico. Most notably, International Hospital Corporation of Dallas has four hospitals that it operates in Mexico under the CIMA name.

Texas-based Christus Health Systems operates seven hospitals in Mexico under the Christus Muguerza name. In addition, several top-notch, Mexican-owned hospital chains (notably Star Médica and the Los Ángeles chain) are popular.

You can save thousands as a medical tourist, to give you an idea of prices, in San Miguel de Allende a tummy tuck will cost you $6,000 compared to $8,800 in the U.S. A facelift will cost from $6,000 in San Miguel…in the U.S. it will cost you $12,500 or so. A dental implant will cost you over $3,000 in the U.S. and the same procedure in Mexico costs just $1,750.

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