10 March 2009
NZ medical tourism more attractive during American recession
As America's economy continues to struggle during the recession, Americans without private medical insurance are finding it more difficult to afford medical treatment.
However, while the New Zealand dollar is weakened against the American dollar, medical treatment in New Zealand is becoming a more attractive offer for Americans.
According to Earthtimes, New Zealand offers world-class treatment for medical tourists, particularly for the major operations that are unaffordable in the U.S., and would be hoping to nab a large part of the 750,000 strong American market that looks abroad for hospital surgery.
Bob Light, an American citizen who needed a hip replacement last year, chose New Zealand as his destination, and after paying for an airfare, surgery, hospitalisation, accommodation, recuperative care and a contingency insurance policy, his costs came out at a fraction of what they would in America.
Light told reporters, in saving around $100,000 by travelling to New Zealand for his care, he also received unmatched medical treatment.
"The entire experience was beyond any doubt, the best medical experience of my life," he said. "Everything went like clockwork. The hospitals were clean. The staff and doctors were extremely competent and friendly."
Medtral New Zealand, a company that facilitates medical tourism in New Zealand, said New Zealand is an attractive choice for Americans because of its natural and cultural environment, which makes rehabilitation for patients faster, more exciting and more comfortable.
"New Zealand is sophisticated, diverse and multicultural, but it is the friendliness, honesty and openness of our people that will stay with you," said Edward Watson, MD, Medtral's executive chairman and founder. "We offer a clean, attractive, green, safe and peaceful environment that promotes healing and offers excellent tourism opportunities."
Medical tourists to New Zealand from America would need a New Zealand tourist visa in order to enter the country. The visa is a multiple-entry visa and is valid for 18 months; however, the holder of the visa can only stay in the country for a maximum of nine months.
The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.