Medical Travel as a Money-Saving Healthcare Option

by Lynn B. Johnson on July 13, 2009

medical-travelWant to save 40 to 80 percent of the cost of a domestic Total Knee Replacement, heart procedure, plastic surgery, or another, typically high-cost medical procedure?  You might look into medical travel, which can save you up to 80 percent of the typical costs for an equivalent procedure in the United States.

“If the procedure you’re considering costs more than $6,000 in the United States, it might be worthwhile and money-saving for you to evaluate a medical travel option,” said Patrick Marsek, Managing Director of MedRetreat and co-author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Medical Tourism.”

Medical travel companies, such as Satori World Medical and MedRetreat, provide low-hassle options for people considering traveling abroad for health procedures.

The arguments for medical travel are compelling, and can include: low to no-cost procedures, hospitals with standards meeting or exceeding US levels of care, and ease of use.

If you are insured, and your employer offers a health reimbursement account, a company like Satori World Medical would be a good place to start your medical travel inquiries.

“Through our model, the patient has no out-of-pocket costs,” said Steven Lash, CEO of Satori World Medical. “If you use our network, not only do you not have out-of-pocket costs, but you will not receive a bill. In addition, your employer will fund a portion of the savings because it’s so significant with the HRA. You could get home and find that there’s a deposit in your HRA that you can use to fund future health care.”

Some of the member countries might be considered to be third-world, but the care is first-rate. Satori’s world network includes only hospitals that are accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), the international arm of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.

MedRetreat, a medical travel company founded in 2003, reaches a different target audience. “Our core market is comprised of uninsured or underinsured Americans,” said Marsek.

A case study on the MedRetreat Web site states that a woman who received an initial cost estimate of more than $90,000 for a total knee replacement in the United States ended up spending only $17,000 total, including airfare and deluxe hotel accommodations, by using MedRetreat to “facilitate her entire medical retreat.”

Although Satori and MedRetreat reach out to different types of patients, both companies handle all of the travel planning and procedure scheduling.

Ultimately, it’s about receiving an equal caliber of care while lowering healthcare costs. As patients are becoming more compelled to be savvy healthcare consumers, medical travel is an intriguing option for those facing a significant health procedure.


I stumbled upon this article, while doing my research on medical tourism. We are in the process of doing our IVF treatments with MedVacation ( When I first saw how much IVF is abroad, I couldn't believe my eyes. As you can imagine, I had to do some research to make sure it is all legit. We are pretty excited our upcoming trip.
September 16 at 00:59 am
If there won't be a good healthcare insurance system that could benefit both rich and less fortunate citizens, medical tourism will be the only viable option to evade the overwhelming cost of treatments.

September 12 at 09:59 am
Great post on the potential of Medical Tourism. You can read more about the possibilities here in

As long as Obama can't get the reform in health care pushed through, there will be plenty of medical tourists seeking treatments aboard.
November 28 at 02:46 am
Hi Lynn, timely post, your blog readers may want to read the journey of a US patient to India here is India's largest medical tourism facilitator helping patients from all over the world to come to India to get world class treatment at very low price, if anyone wants to know more about it, please feel free to contact us through site form or mail us at

May 23 at 10:38 am
Paulo Yberri
Medical travel is definitely an affordable and viable solution for gaining access to quality healthcare. Most of the time, you can find healthcare in beautiful exotic locations like Mexico and get a surgery for less than half of what it costs in the U.S.
October 9 at 15:42 pm
Jonathan Paul
Thanks a lot for such a nice and interesting posting . I am agree with u blogger that due to financial crisis period many Americans go outside for medical care to save money now a days and i think they do the right thing .I appreciate it .
October 8 at 07:53 am
Yes, medical travel can save a lot of money and no compromises on quality. Last year my aunt needed a hip resurfacing surgery which she couldn't afford in the US. So we checked out Healthbase - - a medical tourism company and they arranged my aunt's surgery and travel to India which saved her more than $40,000. She is so happy with the care she got in India she just can't stop raving about it. She felt her surgeon was the best in the world. No after care issues either.
July 15 at 21:30 pm
Absolutely, take a look at this site: - The cost comparisons are crazy. It's almost worth not getting full coverage on your health insurance. Honestly, 90% cheaper - it's crazy savings.
July 15 at 20:52 pm
Given the cost of healthcare and health insurance in the United States, it's no surprise that people are turning to Medical Tourism as an affordable alternative. As more and more people become uninsured due to the recession, getting medical treatment abroad may be the only solution. There are reputable medical companies such as WorldMed Assist that are helping people to travel abroad as smoothly as possible. Visit Worldmed Assist for more on
July 13 at 20:39 pm
Uninsured Stude
Prescription costs have become increasingly difficult to manage. You can start saving by switching to generic drugs. recently launched an early version of its drug price comparison Web site. Consumers type in their drug name, dosage and ZIP code, and can find prescription drugs available on discount generic programs and where they can find them in their neighborhoods. The site will eventually offer users information on scheduled immunizations, health screenings and mini-clinic
July 13 at 12:13 pm

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