ABSTRACT

Rising health-care costs, ageing of baby boomers, and loss of employer-based insurance coverage by consumers in advanced economies all have one thing in common: they are catalysts to the rising popularity of travelling outside the country’s border for medical care, commonly known as ‘medical tourism’ or ‘medical outsourcing’ (see Chapter 1; see also Hall 2011). Some view this as a negative trend, posing a threat to the domestic health-care providers by capturing significant market share for particular medical procedures, even though a study found it has negligible impact on the US health-care industry, responsible for only less than 2 per cent of non-cosmetic health-care expenditure (Milstein and Smith, 2006). However, Keckley and Underwood (2008, 2009) projected that the medical tourism industry in the United States would grow from three-quarter million travellers in 2007 to 1.6 million by 2012 and to 10 million by 2017 with the corresponding spending doubling from a projected annual US$15 billion in 2012 to US$30 billion per year by 2017 (Keckley and Underwood 2008). It is therefore not surprising that some see the opportunity to take advantage of the globalisation of health care.