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Medical tourism gets a boost after rupee fall

Chennai, Aug 23 () : Medical Tourism in South India and more so in Chennai will see a surge with the rupee fall. This time the patients would also be from US as President Barack Obama health care initiative – the US Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, becomes fully operational in 2014.

Fortis Healthcare group posted a 25% increase in patients coming from abroad and in the coming years it expects a 30% growth. It has a steady growth in Americans coming for treatment.

The biggest beneficiary of medical tourism is Apollo Hospitals network. The majority of the patients comes from South East Asian countries who form 36% and next two regions are the Middle East and Africa with 26% each while Europe and US contribute only 3% . This number would go up.

US insurance companies are eyeing India since the charges are less and there is very little waiting time for surgery. India attracted one million patients from abroad and globally US tops the country that gets the lion’s share of the $100 billion medical tourism pie. India gets 3% of the market share.

Big chains in India are approved and certified by Joint Commission International. Last year, a survey comparing the cost of treatment in India and US showed the difference. In India, a heart bypass surgery costs $7000 while in US it can be as high as $133,000 and low as $70,000. The same surgery in Thailand is $22,000 and in South Korea it is $31,750.

Knee replacement in India is $9200 and in Thailand it is $11,500 and in South Korea it is $11,800. The rupee fall has given India’s medical tourism better edge over the rivals Thailand, South Korea and Philippines since the currencies of these countries lost by 4% against the dollar while Indian currency dipped by 16%. The rupee fall effect will be seen after two months which marks the start of the season when travellers come to India combining leisure with treatment.

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