Cost savings is the most important reason for seeking healthcare abroad among U.S. tourists. For example, it was estimated that U.S. nationals could save more than half the cost of medical expenditures in their home country by travelling to Mexico for treatment, or up to 25 percent going to Brazil for the same purpose.
Surgical procedures, especially, tend to be offered at a lower price in Latin America, making this type of medical procedure one of the most sought-after by foreign medical tourists. Recent data shows that undergoing a heart valve replacement was the medical procedure with the highest price difference between the United States and selected Latin American countries, with a price difference reaching almost 160 thousand U.S. dollars if we compare it to Colombia, or 140 thousand U.S. dollars in the case of Costa Rica.
However, there are more aspects to consider when looking for a travel destination to receive healthcare. In this regard, the Medical Tourism Association offers an index that contemplates three main features in order to evaluate different medical destinations, including its environment, the medical tourism industry, and the quality of facilities and services. Based on this index, Colombia was the leading Latin American destination for medical tourism, with an overall score of 69.48. Panama came in second place, with a score of 67.93, followed by Cost Rica, with 67.67.