“Medical tourism” refers to traveling to another country for medical care. In 2016, more than 11 million residents left the U.S. to receive healthcare in another country. Many factors influence the decision to seek medical care overseas. Some people travel for care because treatment is cheaper in another country. Other medical tourists may be immigrants to their residential country who prefer to return to their home country for healthcare. Others may travel to receive a procedure or therapy not available in their country of residence. The most common procedures that people undergo on medical tourism trips include cosmetic surgery, dentistry and heart surgery.
Medical Tourism Industry Valued at $439B; Poised for 25% Year-Over-Year Growth by 2025
The Medical Tourism industry is valued at a staggering USD439 billion, with a projected growth rate of up to 25% year-over-year for the next 10 years. An estimated three to four percent of the world’s population will travel internationally for healthcare and health-related treatment.
The cost savings from receiving healthcare services from Asian countries can range from 65%-90% compared to the same services being consumed in the U.S.
Asia represents 50% of the world’s top 10 medical tourist destinations.
Despite the sector of medical tourism growing rapidly, there are two key challenges facing consumers that choose this option of care:
1. Payment of services for international providers. Virtually all countries have inbound cash restrictions that apply. Wire transfers are costly and take several days to clear. Credit cards often do not have sufficient limits and are exposed to unfavourable foreign exchange rates. Providers are limited in their ability to ensure full payment from international visitors.
2. Receiving pre-approval from domestic health insurance providers is complex and time consuming. Additional verifications required by insurers for international services often extends rebate periods and in some cases can take over six months to process claims.
Health FX will extend its vast global network of healthcare providers to launch a blockchain enabled platform. To solve the challenge of cross boarder payments, this platform allows for payment of medical treatments using the HFX tokens. Additionally, with the efficiency that blockchain technology provides, HFX token holders will benefit from instant insurance claims handling. For consumers choosing the medical tourism option of care, the Health FX platform is the answer.
 Mapping the Future of Global Travel and Tourism, 2016. Visa in Partnership with Oxford Economics