The Real Cost of Medical Tourism

By Bloomberg Rankings and Nikhil Hutheesing - 2012-10-24T14:18:10Z

Photograph by Shaun Mader/ via AP Images

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Gastric Bypass

Gastric BypassBariatric surgery has helped the likes of Al Roker and Star Jones lose more than 100 pounds each. Not all U.S. insurance companies cover such surgeries, so if you're a good candidate for the procedure, one avenue to explore is Mexico. "Mexico has a bigger obesity problem than the U.S.," says Steven Lash, CEO of health-care company Satori World Medical, an agency that helps organize medical travel. "The doctors there are very used to performing weight-loss surgeries." Medical Tourism Association's Edelheit agrees but warns that "many Americans are sent back to the U.S. a day after surgery" and that complications can come up. He says they would be better off if they recuperated longer in the hospital. One option: Hospital Galenia in Cancun, which is approved by the Joint Commission International.

$32,972: Cost of gastric bypass surgery in the U.S.
$10,950: Cost in Mexico

Closer to home:
$12,500: Cost in Costa Rica