Visitors from north here to study medical tourism options

Tourism officials report that 11 executives of North American insurance firms are in Costa Rica to take a look at the prospects for medical tourism here.

This is the fourth familiarization tour of Costa Rica for those who may be sending directly or indirectly medical tourists here. Insurance companies like the idea because the cost of medical care is less here.

Costa Rica is competing with other countries to host medical tourists. So far several dental firms have developed successful medical tourism programs at U.S. standards.

Countries like India and Philippines also are aggressive marketers, as is México. Costa Rica has an advantage because it is closer to the United States and Canada, the principal sources of medical tourists, and many professionals here have had U.S. training.

Several of the hospitals also are U.S. certified.

Several private groups have emerged to evaluate quality and provide local certification, too.

The visiting executives will be visiting some of them, including the major hospitals and Clínica Dental New Smile, said the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

The institute identified some of the visitors as being from National Benefit Builders Inc., Clear Choice Benefits and Affiliated Benefit Solutions.

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