Saturday, January 29, 2011

Medical Tourism & Costa Rican Economy

Medical Tourism continues to go rapidly here in Costa Rica. It is a reason why so many poeple come to visit Costa Rica and sometimes even end up buying real estate here in Costa Rica. There are three hospitals that have really helped in attracting people looking for lower price medical care. These three hospitals are approved by the international agency of "Joint Commision International" (JCI) which is an organization that develops care standards around the world.
They are the Clinica Biblica, La Catolica, & CIMA Hospitals, all in the San Jose area.

I was thinking about a recent article in the TicoTimes and you begin to see the importance of medical tourism to the economy of Costa Rica. The fact that medical tourism is growing at a very fast rate just means good things to come.

In 2009 there were an estimated 30,000 medical tourist and that is not including a good number that went to smaller private clinics and were not registered in one of the large three JCI approved hospitals. With each tourist that comes lets take into account that at sometime during their care they have one companion. The total now is 60,000 related medical tourist per year as of 2009. You might be thinking that the 60,000 medical tourist only make up 1/20th more or less of the total tourist who visit Costa Rica each year that come through during the Costa Rica dry season. Although the medical treatment is much cheaper here in Costa Rica each medical tourist is spending a good chunk of change more than per person on a Costa Rica Family Vacation.

Medical Care Numbers in Costa Rica

The medical tourist traveling for dental purposes which might be dental implants or crowns might spend $700 - $1000's (About the same as an eco-tourist) here in Costa Rica for treatment and dental patients make up only 36% of the medical tourist. What tops the list is the Orthopedic surgeries to get back into that active lifestyle which might be a $12,000 knee replacement (In the US a knee replacement cost $50,000). This is a very large investment into the economy if more and more medical tourist are coming each year and spending this kind of money it really begins to add up quick just as it has from your average eco-tourist, Costa Rica adventures, surfers, and now your big spender medical tourist.

So you can see the importance of the medical tourism to the economy of Costa Rica. Although you do not see the numbers up in the millions for how many medical tourist visit each year it is the ratio of the amount of money they are spending. All you ever here is how cheap medical care is which is true here in Costa Rica but you have to take into account when you look at these patients as tourist they are "Big Spenders". Just an interesting way to look at medical tourism industry and get excited about the economy of Costa Rica. If you have visited Costa Rica for some medical treatment maybe now it is time to visit Costa Rica a second time for some Real Estate shopping.

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Stats & Numbers taken from recent TicoTimes Article Jan. 28th 2011

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