Medical Tourism to India

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India has emerged as a prime destination for medical tourists from around the globe. The services on offer range from executive health packages to complicated heart surgeries.
Medical travelers come to India from Western nations to take advantage of the low cost of medical procedures, which are 40 to 80 percent lower in comparison to healthcare costs in their home countries.
Medical tourists from Asia and Africa are attracted to India's superior quality in healthcare, accredited medical facilities, and Western-trained qualified medical personnel.

The Healthcare System in India

The low cost of healthcare is not the only driving force of medical tourism in India. The level of healthcare service in the leading hospitals and medical centers are on par to what is being offered in US and UK hospitals and superior to most Asian countries. Patients from Western nations who opt for top notch accredited facilities will receive the same type of medical services in a manner that they are accustomed to, as doctors, nurses and other health professionals are trained and certified to Western standards and practices.
Accreditation standards are controlled locally by the Indian Healthcare Federation, the Indian Medical Tourism Council and the Indian Ministry of Health. Accreditation of hospitals and other healthcare facilities are handled locally by the NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers), which is the constituent board of the QCIN (Quality Council of India). Some hospitals also have international accreditation by the Joint Commission International, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the British Standards Institute, or are affiliated with healthcare organizations and insurance companies in the US and the West.

Top Hospitals in India for Medical Tourism

Over 60 percent of medical tourists in India are catered for by the top private hospitals, although there are state and public healthcare facilities that provide services to private customers as well as for the general public. The top hospitals in India usually provide an end-to-end service that combines personalized services rendered in the hotel industry to top-of-the-line quality healthcare.
  • Apollo Hospitals
    The Apollo Group is the largest corporate healthcare provider in Asia offering first-world facilities in third-world locations. Apollo Hospitals are the first JCI-accredited facilities in India and have grown to several world-class facilities including hospitals in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Punjab and Kolkata. The Apollo Group is also affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Medicine International.
  • Fortis Hospitals
    Fortis Healthcare operates more than 10 hospitals in different locations in India, including New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Three Fortis hospitals are JCI accredited, and most of them are modern, high quality medical facilities.
  • Columbia Asia Hospitals
    A healthcare group with several hospitals in India as well as other Asian countries. Their flagship hospital in India is the Columbia Asia Referral Hospital in Bangalore, which is accredited by the NABH.
  • Wockhardt Hospitals
    With one hospital located in Bangalore and another in Mumbai, the Wockhardt Hospitals are exclusive institutions that are affiliated with the Harvard Medical International, which is the international arm of the Harvard Medical School. Wockhardt is also approved and affiliated by the Blue Cross Blue Shield, a U.S. insurance company providing coverage to US medical travelers.
  • Browse our list of hospitals in India >>.

Common Procedures done in India by Medical Tourists

Hospitals and healthcare facilities in India offer a wide array of procedures and services for medical travelers, which include but are not limited to the following:

Cost of Medical Treatment in India

The following are cost comparisons between Medical procedures in India and equivalent procedures in the United States and the UK:
Price Comparison with the US [source]

Medical Procedures
Procedure US Hospitals India Average Savings
Angioplasty $55,000 - $57,000 $10,000 - $12,000 78% - 81%
Spinal Fusion $60,000 - $62,000 $7,000 - $8,000 85% - 88%
Heart Bypass $120,000 - $130,000 $9,000 - $11,000 91% - 95%
Heart-valve Replacement $150,000 - $160,000 $9,000 - $10,000 94% - 96%
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass $28,000 - $30,000 $10,000 - $12,000 60% - 64%
Hip Replacement $41,000 - $43,000 $8,000 - $10,000 76% - 80%
Mastectomy $39,000 - $41,000 $7,000 - $8,000 80% - 82%
Knee Replacement $38,000 - $40,000 $8,000 - $9,000 87% - 88%
Bone Marrow Transplant $240,000 - $260,000 $68,000 - $70,000 72% - 73%
Liver Transplant $290,000 - $310,000 $68,000 - $70,000 75% - 77%
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Procedure US Hospitals India Average Savings
Face Lift (rhytidectomy) $7,000 - $9,000 $4,000 - $5,000 42% - 44%
Breast Augmentation (Mammoplasty) $5,000 - $8,000 $3,000 - $4,500 40% - 44%
Breast Reduction $4,000 - $6,000 $2,000 - $3,000 48% - 50%
Complete Liposuction (Lipoplasty) $4,000 - $6,500 $2,000 - $3,500 46% - 50%
Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty) $5,500 - $6,500 $1,500 - $2,500 61% - 72%
Gluteal Augmentation $8,000 - $10,000 $4,000 - $5,000 50% - 52%
Eye / Ophthalmology
Procedure US Hospitals India Average Savings
Cataract surgery $1,500 - $2,500 $1,000 - $1,500 33% - 40%
General and Cosmetic Dentistry
Procedure US Hospitals India Average Savings
Root Canal $600 - $1,000 $100 - $150 83% - 85%
Porcelain Crown $600 - $1,000 $80 - $100 87% - 90%
Porcelain Metal Bridge $1,000 - $1,800 $250 - $350 75% - 81%
Dental Implant $2,500 - $3,500 $500 - $800 77% - 80%
Price Comparison with the UK [source]

Medical Procedures
Procedure UK Hospitals India Average Savings
Coronary Angioplasty $13,000 - $15,000 $10,000 - $12,000 20% - 23%
Hip Replacement $13,500 - $14,500 $8,000 - $10,000 31% - 40$
Knee Replacement $16,000 - $17,000 $8,000 - $9,000 47% - 50%
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Procedure UK Hospitals India Average Savings
Face Lift (rhytidectomy) $11,000 - $12,000 $4,000 - $5,000 65% - 75%
Breast Augmentation (Mammoplasty) $7,000 - $8,000 $3,000 - $4,500 50% - 60%
Breast Reduction $8,000 - $9,000 $2,000 - $3,000 67% - 75%
Liposuction (lipoplasty) $5,000 - $6,000 $2,000 - $3,500 42% - 60%
Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty) $5,500 - $6,500 $1,500 - $2,500 61% - 73%
General and Cosmetic Dentistry
Procedure UK Hospitals India Average Savings
Root Canal (per canal) $300 - $400 $100 - $150 62% - 67%
Dental Implants $3,000 - $4,000 $500 - $800 80% - 83%

Malpractice and Liability Laws in India

Doctors in India are responsible for their activities and medical performance under the law. In India, malpractice cases are handled by consumer courts and awards given are restricted only to the actual medical damage incurred.
Medical travelers to India are advised to make use of a specialized insurance company to insure their visit.

Pros

  • Low costs

    Quality healthcare at probably the lowest costs possible
  • Quality healthcare at the top hospitals

    Top hospitals offering high quality medical, healthcare and diagnostic facilities
  • English

    English-speaking and Western-trained doctors and health practitioners
  • Waiting times

    Minimal or no waiting time for medical attention and procedures

Cons

  • Lack of accreditation

    Except for the top hospitals, minor institutions lack proper hospital accreditation systems
  • Malpractice and liability

    Malpractice laws and implementations are still inefficient
  • Surrounding infrastructure

    Infrastructure and facilities in the surrounding communities do not resemble western standards. Once you leave the hospital you are at your own risk.
  • Cultural differences

    Certain cultural aspects as practiced by the locals may come as a culture shock for many foreign visitors. This includes aspects pertaining to religion, culture and even hygiene

Traveling to India

Average estimated travel time in hours
From/To India
New York City 16
Los Angeles 18
Miami 18
Dallas 18
London 7
Paris 10
Rome 9
Dubai 4
Riyadh 5
Bangladesh 2
Pakistan 2
Johannesburg 10
Sydney 13

Entry and Exit Requirements to India

Except for citizens from Nepal and Bhutan, all foreigners from other countries, including the European Union, United States and Canada, require a visa to enter India. India does not allow for "a visa on arrival", thus visas should first be obtained from the Indian Embassy or consulate in the medical travelers country of origin.
Requirements to obtain a visa include: a passport valid for a minimum of 190 days, the visa fee, passport photographs and a completed application form. Supporting documents may be necessary to determine or justify the required length of stay, but for medical cases, a multiple entry for a period of 6 months to one year may be provided.
For more information you may visit Indian Bureau of Immigration

Statistics for Medical Tourism in India

It is estimated that over 450,000 medical tourists traveled to India to seek healthcare in 2007, a tremendous growth from the estimated 150,000 in 2002. Experts agree that India's medical tourism industry is expected to keep growing in the coming years.
Hospitals in India