Under-insured freelance writer Laura Moser writing in Slate -- The Medical Tourist: How my shoulder sent me to China -- described her journey to Beijing to get Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment for her bad back. (She got to Beijing with frequent flyer miles.) The results are a little hopeful and a lot inconclusive, but the two-part story offers a peek at the lure of medical tourism:
A bone-marrow transplant costs $2.5 million in the United States. Doctors in India can do it for $26,000. Heart-bypass surgery runs $60,000 to $150,000 in this country. In Asia, the average cost is $10,000. Other less-serious procedures—tummy tucks, face lifts, breast implants, LASIK eye surgery, even MRIs and dental work—can also be had at a fraction of they cost here.
At the Health IC Summit next month, we'll host a discussion of medical tourism and other new care models with some professionals from the field.