Category: General Guide

Medical Tourism in India

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People generally travel to India for medical procedures such as, cardiac bypass, hip replacement, dental implants, eye surgery, and IVF. It is particularly well-known for cardiac, orthopedic, dental, and eye surgeries at low prices that are sometimes as low as 1/10th of their total cost in the US or UK.

Medical Tourism in India 

India is a popular destination for medical tourists these days. The exorbitant costs of some medical procedures, especially those that aren’t covered by insurance policies in the USA and the NHS in Britain, are unaffordable to most people in these countries. Lately, these high costs have led to the emergence and rapid growth of medical tourism. Most of the medical tourism destinations offer excellent care and medical amenities at a price that is sometimes as low as a third of the cost of the same procedure in your home country. For quite some time now, India has remained a top medical destination among other such countries. Of course, there are some options closer home such as Mexico, Spain, Portugal, etc. that are still cheaper than the US or UK. But, the upside to getting a medical procedure in India is that even after the amount you spend on air travel and accommodation, you still manage to save more than half of what you would spend otherwise. Most importantly, Indian set-ups cater to their patients with utmost care, latest technologies, state of the art equipment, clean accommodations, an increased compliance with international standards, and well-qualified English speaking doctors and staff. In fact, it is fairly safe to say that India is the most promising and cheapest destination for medical tourism today.

People generally travel to India for medical procedures such as, cardiac bypass, hip replacement, dental implants, eye surgery, and IVF. It is particularly well-known for cardiac, orthopedic, dental, and eye surgeries at low prices that are sometimes as low as 1/10th of their total cost in the US or UK. For instance, Cardiac bypass costs around $5200 in India, whereas the same procedure costs a whopping $106,000 in the US. However, these low costs do not necessarily entail low standards. India received an estimated 850,000 medical tourists in 2011 alone, and 40% of the women from the US seeking fertility care. Apart from medical reasons, this country also attracts several tourists to its scenic and culturally rich heritage spots. Here’s everything about India that you need to know as a medical tourist and even otherwise.

Top Destinations:

The major cities in India offering such facilities are Mumbai, Chennai, and Delhi. There are around 18 hospitals in India accredited by the JCI. The leading hospitals are Fortis and Apollo that have branches throughout India, Leelavati at Mumbai, Max Balaji, AIMS, Escorts, and BL Kapoor at New Delhi, and Malar at Chennai, etc. Out of these destinations, Chennai gets almost 45% of the health tourists travelling to India. As for fertility clinics, there are around 3000 such set-ups all over the country.

How safe are the Indian Set-ups?

The Indian Medical association is the governing body of the Indian Medical Practitioners. In the recent years, the IMA and the Indian Government have worked to integrate the Indian medical system in compliance with international standards. The hospitals and clinics catering to the medical tourists have state of the art technologies, equipments, and the latest medicines too. When you check the medical credentials of your doctors, make sure they have a valid registration number from the MCI. The ICMR governed by the Union Health Ministry regulates medical research in India. Indian medical students are conferred the basic MBBS degree after 5 years of clinical studies, examinations, and a year of Housemanship or internship. A 3-year postgraduate degree of MD for clinical subjects and MS for surgical subjects follows the MBBS degree. In addition, there is the DNB offered by the national board of examiners. Degrees such as McH and DM are 1-year super speciality degrees offered to doctors holding a MD/MS/DNB/FCPS. Apart from these guidelines, the medical set-ups comply with international hygiene standards and are well equipped with intensive care units to tackle emergencies.

Legal Issues:

Understanding the Law and legal matters in India are of importance mainly if you require IVF with donor eggs or sperms and surrogacy. The flexible surrogacy laws in India are one of the many reasons that attract more and more couples requiring such facilities to this country. The Indian Supreme Court legalized commercial surrogacy in 2008, which has considerably reduced the legal woes of couples wanting such procedures. Such arrangements also circumvent the legal red tape and ill-defined laws clouding surrogacy in the US.

Cost of treatments in India:


Cost in $


In vitro fertilization




Heart Bypass


Heart valve replacement




Hip replacement/Hip resurfacing


Knee Replacement


Dental Implants


Lasik (both eyes)


Breast Implants




Face Lift


Gastric Bypass


Tummy Tuck




How do you get there?

You can easily get a Medical visa to India. However, this visa comes stamped with a FRRO or Foreigners Regional Registration Office stamp. Although, such visas require registration at the Foreigners Regional Registration Office within 14 days of your arrival in the country, they provide a longer stay and multiple entries for medical procedures unlike a tourist visa. Most Medical tourism clinics have help desks to help their patients with this registration. Some countries are also eligible for on-arrival-visas that allow a 30-day stay for medical procedures. You can also use this link to apply for an Indian visa online. Check with your clinic if they offer an airport pick-up facility too, as most of them do.

Some general tips:

·         Language: English is widely used in the medical industry, but if you do not speak English or any of the Indian languages, ask for an interpreter. Most clinics have this facility.

·         Cuisine: Authentic Indian food is spicy and is not always suitable for the western palate. However, Indian cities today have excellent eateries and international chains offering international cuisines. It isn’t very difficult to spot a McDonald’s, Starbucks, or Dominoes in the Indian cities today. Avoid eating food from hawkers and street-side stalls, as they can cause infections such as hepatitis and gastroenteritis.

·         Accommodation: You can speak to your hospital about accommodation close to the clinic or even handle the bookings yourself. There are hosts of 3-star to 5-star hotels that should fit your budget to select from.

·         Climate: India has a tropical climate, with three seasonal variations. June to September is the monsoon season, with heavy rains and storms. Avoid travelling to India around this time. Although, there are many tourist spots worth visiting in this weather, it may not be feasible for medical purposes. February to May is summer time in India with temperatures soaring up to 400C. If the heat doesn’t bother you, you could get a glorious tan along with your medical procedure around this time. Nevertheless, keep some sunscreen and sunburn ointments handy. October to January is the winter season and the most pleasant time to visit this country.

·         Tourist sites: There is no dearth of tourist places in this scenic, gothic, and culturally rich country. Mumbai and Goa offer a variety of idyllic beaches, old forts, ports, and buildings, remnants of its days as a British colony. Up north a little away from Delhi, you have the hill stations set in the scenic Himalayas.

Hence, you can get your medical treatment, visit the plentiful and attractive tourist spots, and yet manage to save a lot of money by choosing India for your health requirements. Seems like a win-win in every possible way. 

Tags: medical tourism, medical tourism guide, medical tourism in india, medical tourism guide to india

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