Thailand has excellent medical facilities at par to be found in western countries. The doctors and the support staff are mainly US trained, very efficient, no waiting time and treatment is available at a fraction of the cost of which is done in the United States or Europe. Thailand, specifically markets itself as a medical tourism destination due to this. Many choose to have all their plastic and cosmetic surgery done here to save thousands. Thai massage is one of the other famous therapies. Thai massage parlors are spread all around the country offering variety of quality massage services as well as touch related therapies.
With 46 million U.S. citizens living without health insurance–and millions of others underinsured or unable to get adequate care–a growing number of U.S. women are flocking to a Thai hospital for treatments they can’t afford at home.
(WOMENSENEWS)–June Flowers would have done anything to stop the pain.
Suffering from a severely herniated spinal disk, with little savings and no health insurance and earning less than $10 an hour as a part-time cafeteria cashier, she couldn’t afford the $30,000 operation her doctors said she needed.
“On good days, I could barely stand or walk,” says Flowers, 46, a resident of Huron, S.D. “On bad days, I couldn’t even get out of bed.”
It didn’t make sense to buy private health insurance, because her back problem would be considered a “pre-existing condition” and exempted from treatment for two years. Flowers feared having to file for bankruptcy. Then came the quirk of fate that sent her halfway around the globe and solved her health and financial troubles in one go.
“One night I caught a TV show about Bumrungrad hospital in Thailand, where Americans without insurance go for affordable care,” says Flowers. “I e-mailed them, and within weeks, I was on a plane to Bangkok. I paid $3,500 for back surgery and three days later, I was home with my pain gone and my problem cured.”
With one-sixth of Americans living without health insurance–and with government spending on health care for the needy in decline–Thailand’s Bumrungrad International hospital, the largest private hospital in Southeast Asia, is becoming a mecca for health tourists seeking treatments for as little as one-tenth of the U.S. cost.
Though the quality of care at Bumrungrad is highly regarded, other health facilities attracting U.S. tourists may not match, or may fall far below, adequate standards of care.
“Over the past 10 years, the U.S has seen a decline in medical care because of rising costs, an aging population and the inability of the health system to deal with these problems,” says Ruben Toral, Bumrungrad’s marketing director. “This trend is likely to continue as more Americans have to pay out of pocket for treatments their insurance and their government won’t cover.”