The primary advantage in medical tourism is cost. You can save a lot of money when you choose to have cosmetic surgery done in the Philippines. Because of the favorable exchange rate (as of March 2007, it is $1= P49), both local and foreign patients who otherwise couldn’t afford cosmetic surgery can benefit from the lower overhead costs and professional fees. Surgeon’s fees, anesthesiologist’s fees, and facility costs are much lower. Thus, procedures can be performed at a fraction of the amount you would spend on the same procedure in the US or Europe. Cost savings are significant for cosmetic surgery procedures. For example, the average cost for liposuction (one area) in the United States is $2500-4500. In the Philippines, the procedure can cost only $800 for the first area and $500 for succeeding areas. For breast augmentation, the average cost in the United States is $6,000-8,000, while in the Philippines, the procedure can cost as little as $2,500 to $4,600.
Aside from the favorable exchange rate, cosmetic surgery is also much more affordable in the Philippines than in the United States because overhead costs in the U.S. are very high because of health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and medical malpractice insurance policies that are very expensive. It is not uncommon for U.S. patients to sue their doctors and hospitals. Thus, even if a patient’s surgery goes well, with no complications, the patient still have to pay high fees to cover these overhead costs. As a medical tourist in the Philippines, you don’t have to pay for malpractice insurance costs, legal fees, and settlements. Your money actually goes to the plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists and other health workers who are treating you.
If you are considering medical travel, you may ask, “What if the surgery doesn’t go well?” In reality, things can go wrong in surgical procedures, whether or not your surgeon has medical insurance. Malpractice insurance at the time of your surgery doesn’t affect your outcome. In the Philippines, plastic surgeons know that their reputation is at stake. They know that they must give you quality service and results. Otherwise, word will spread and other patients won’t come to them. This is the incentive they have to keep offering high standards and quality results.