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Costa Rica, known worldwide for its leadership in ecological preservation, sustainable development and eco-friendly tourism, has led the world once again hosting the 2011 Medical Travel International Business Summit May 2-4, 2011in San José and Guanacaste provinces.

The Summit began May 2-3 with a series of roundtable discussions and expert lectures at the Ramada Plaza Herradura Hotel Convention Center in the capitol city of San José. On May 4, conference attendees traveled to the Hilton Papagayo Hotel in the North Pacific province of Guanacaste, where they participated in medical tourism training workshops, and learn about medical tourism projects in this rapidly growing province.



Why is Medical Tourism Important for Americans?
Currently, 49 million U.S. citizens are not covered by medical insurance and 108 million Americans do not have even basic dental insurance. By 2015, it is estimated that the U.S. will spend 20% of its GNP on medical services, while a staggering 25% of the population will still lack medical insurance.

Medical tourism represents a critical lifeline to uninsured Americans that cannot afford medical care in the U.S, as well as those seeking advanced medical procedures that are not available in U.S hospitals. Medical procedures in many Latin American destinations, including Costa Rica, are routinely one-third the cost of the same procedure in the U.S. Low cost, high quality medical care within a short flight from most major U.S gateways makes medical tourism an important link for those in need of affordable medical procedures and health care.

What Makes Costa Rica a Leader in Medical Tourism?
Costa Rica first gained prominence as a medical hot spot when American citizens began to travel to this popular Central American nation for inexpensive medical procedures… generally 50%-70% less expensive than the same procedures in the US. Medical tourism gained in popularity in Costa Rica as thousands of happy patients returned to the US and spread the word about their high-quality care, English-speaking doctors, and their incredible tropical vacation, all for a fraction of the price of the same procedures in the US. Inexpensive airfares and Costa Rica's location only 3-6 hours by plane from most major U.S gateways has made Costa Rica one of the top medical tourism destinations for North Americans. In fact, some 30,000 “health & medical tourists” visited Costa Rica in 2009.

The most popular medical tourism procedures are:
 Dentistry (36%)
 Orthopedics, Bariatric & Cardiovascular (22%)
 Cosmetic Procedures (12%)
 General Medical Treatments (14%).

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