Medical travel outside U.S. falls substantially

While medical tourism is likely to remain popular long-term, it's taken a real hit as the U.S. has struggled with the recession. Between 2007 and 2009, in fact, the number of Americans traveling outside of the country is likely to have fallen as much as 13.6 percent, according to new research by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

The number of medical tourists making such trips is expected to be 648,000 this year, down from 750,000 in 2007, researchers found. This is due in part to higher transportation costs, lower incomes and patient reluctance to undergo non-emergency services.

However, over the next three years, outbound U.S. medical tourism should rise 35 percent each year, researchers with the Center concluded. Analysts believe that Americans will enthusiastically embrace medical tourism again once they can afford it. They also suggest that patient volume outside of the U.S. will grow as care continues to improve in international medical organizations.

To get more information on these trends:
- read this USAToday item

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