Despite the passage of Obama-care, medical tourism is expected to be a $100 billion industry by 2012. That’s a lot of people looking to save on the skyrocketing costs of medical care at home – or recuperate far from the prying eyes of the paparazzi.
For example, nearly 200,000 people a year head to Turkey for eye treatments like Lasik. Lithuania has become the go-to country for experimental stem cell transplants or gastric bypass. Israel is famous for its low-cost cancer treatment centers, while Thailand is world renowned for cheap plastic surgery. And dental procedures in India can be as much as 10 times cheaper than in the US.
Closer to home in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Casa Velas is riding the medical trend by expanding the parameters of its wellness programs to combine elective surgery with a luxurious recuperation. The AAA Four Diamond boutique hotel and spa works in conjunction with the board-certified, bilingual doctors of Amerimed (a network of hospitals in Mexico adhering to US healthcare standards) to partner on elective surgeries and cosmetic enhancements ranging from facelifts, tummy tucks, and nose jobs to gastric bypass and botox.
Following procedures, the hotel provides a restful retreat for recuperation where patients receive personal attention 24-hours a day from the staff as well as visits from qualified medical personnel to attend to post-surgery needs. It’s hard to argue with the logic: if you’re going to be bed-bound for a few days or longer, why not splurge some of the savings on an ocean view, room service, and mani-pedi?