Study: Substantial minority of Americans would try medical tourism

Medical tourism has been on the minds of health plans and employers for quite some time, though arguably, less so where average Americans are concerned. According to a new Gallup Poll, however, a growing number of U.S. citizens are getting interested in the prospect.

Gallup found that 29 percent of respondents would consider traveling to non-U.S. destinations for a major problem or procedure, 24 percent would seek cancer diagnosis and treatment overseas, 15 percent would travel for orthopedic procedures, 14 percent would go abroad for heart treatment and 10 percent would travel to get plastic surgery.

The poll concludes that the uninsured are the most interested in medical tourism options, with 37 percent of uninsured respondents saying that they would consider cancer care overseas. Only 22 percent of those with health insurance shared this sentiment.

All told, it seems that medical tourism is still a dicey proposition for those who have other options, but unless health reform covers everyone quickly, it seems likely that it will continue to grow in popularity among the uninsured.

To learn more about the survey:
- read this Health Leaders Media piece

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