By Susan Braden
Due to controversial US healthcare reforms, a boost in medical tourism and international searches for a cheap dentist with affordable dental treatment may become a reality for American patients. According to Josef Woodman, the author of a medical travel guidebook, Americans may become blinded by their perceptions of the health reform bill, and overestimate what it covers. He stated that some citizens may expect all of their health problems to be covered in short order. Amidst such great expectations, people may put off major, necessary procedures to wait and see how these reforms turn out.
Woodman explained that in as early as three months from now, Americans will realize that the bill is not all that it has been made out to be, and will look elsewhere to find a cheap dentist or doctor. He predicts that many people will look internationally.
Others note that the addition of so many new patients to the US healthcare system may cause it to become overloaded. Waiting times are already long enough! With the addition of these new patients, Americans can expect an increase in waiting periods along with reduced availability of services.
Also, it is predicted that the new reforms will actually raise the price Americans will pay for health insurance, whether from privately-owned companies or from the government. With both longer waits and these higher prices, hurting patients may start to seriously consider traveling overseas to find a cheap hospital or dentist.
Believe it or not, foreign countries are already preparing for a new wave of Americans searching for affordable treatment at a doctor or dentist. In fact, there are already 300 cheap overseas hospitals that are accredited by the US-based Joint Commission International. It is comforting that these hospitals will have acceptable safety standards for US patients.
With affordable dental and medical care available overseas, even up to 80% cheaper than on our home shores, patients may start to look outside the US borders for treatment at a cheap dentist or doctor. Many Americans may not be willing or able to sustain longer waiting periods and higher insurance rates. The US system will likely be flooded with new patients, making it even harder for patients to receive treatment. With international medical work and dentistry becoming more readily available at cheaper rates than in America, medical tourism will likely continue to grow in popularity.