Why Medical Tourism Is Drawing Patients, Even in a Pandemic

“Our market has at all times been what I name the ‘working poor’ and so they simply preserve getting poorer,” mentioned Josef Woodman, the chief government of Sufferers With out Borders. “The pandemic has gutted low-income and middle-class individuals world wide and for a lot of of them the fact is that they need to journey to entry inexpensive well being care.”

In April, following the preliminary world lockdown to curb the unfold of the coronavirus, medical journey bookings have been down by greater than 89 p.c in the preferred locations, together with Mexico, Thailand, Turkey and South Korea, in line with Medical Departures, a Bangkok-based medical journey company. Since August, the numbers have slowly been rebounding, however bookings in Mexico, which has seen an uptick in American travelers in current months, are nonetheless down by 32 p.c in comparison with the identical interval of August to December in 2019.

“Covid-19 has devastated the entire medical tourism ecosystem due to all of the uncertainty over journey restrictions and quarantine measures that preserve altering internationally,” mentioned Paul McTaggart, the founding father of the company.

“Regardless of this, we’re nonetheless seeing a rising variety of individuals touring and reserving journeys to deal with their pressing well being wants, particularly between the U.S. and Mexico border the place sufferers can journey safely by automotive,” Mr. McTaggart mentioned. The Heart for Medical Tourism Analysis discovered that Google searches in america for the phrases “Mexico medical tourism” went up by 64 p.c since July, in comparison with pre-pandemic ranges earlier than journey restrictions have been imposed in March.

“Google searches are virtually instantly correlated with shopper habits relating to journey throughout borders,” Mr. Vequist mentioned.

Earlier than the winter resurgence of the coronavirus, Ms. Jackson had began to plan and save for a visit to Mexicali, a border metropolis in northern Mexico, the place she will get a hysterectomy for $4,000, one-fifth the price of the process supplied in New Jersey. Her finest good friend had supplied to drive her there and pay for the fuel and lodging.

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