A Survey of Consumers’ Perceptions Toward Medical Tourism (2012 Study)

42 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2013

See all articles by Lydia L. Gan

Lydia L. Gan

University of North Carolina at Pembroke; Medical Tourism Research Center

James R. Frederick

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Pembroke - Medical Tourism Research Center

Date Written: March 3, 2013

Abstract

This paper studies the factors that influence an American's decision to seek medical treatment outside the United States, known as "medical tourism." Street-intercept sampling was conducted in eight urban and rural locations in North Carolina in three stages between June 2010 and March 2012. Respondents provided 597 samples, which included socio-economic data and data about their attitudes toward medical tourism. By means of principal components analysis, the attitude data were reduced to three factors – risk, social-related, and vacation. The paper tests several hypotheses about Americans' motivation to use medical tourism by regressing these three factors to thirteen health-related, travel-related, and socio-economic variables. Among the paper's major findings are: (1) The Medicare recipients are more sensitive to risk factors than holders of other insurance types but they are less sensitive to social-related factors than their counterparts; (2) the middle income groups are more motivated by risk factors than the lower income or the higher income groups but they are less motivated by social-related factors than the two extreme income earners; (3) in contrast, the Blacks are less sensitive than other ethnic groups to risk factors but are more sensitive than others to social-related factors; (4) the older consumers are more likely than the younger ones to be motivated by social-related factors to travel for treatment, and surprisingly, the young adults are more motivated by risk factors than other older age groups; (5) the single respondents are less motivated by social-related factors to travel than other marital status; (6) the less educated consumers are less motivated by risk or social-related factors than the well-educated. Medical tourism has the potential to ease the strain on the healthcare systems of developed countries and to restrain healthcare inflation. How well it does this will depend on how policy makers address these factors.

Keywords: Medical tourism, health tourism, motivations, demographics, Medicare

JEL Classification: I11, J12

Suggested Citation

Gan, Lydia L. and Frederick, James R., A Survey of Consumers’ Perceptions Toward Medical Tourism (2012 Study) (March 3, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2232201 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2232201

Lydia L. Gan (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina at Pembroke ( email )

P.O. Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
United States
9107754265 (Phone)
9105216750 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uncp.edu/business/

Medical Tourism Research Center ( email )

P O Box 1510
One University Drive
Pembroke, NC 28372
United States
910-521-6592 (Phone)
910-521-6750 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uncp.edu/mtrc/

James R. Frederick

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Pembroke - Medical Tourism Research Center ( email )

P O Box 1510
One University Drive
Pembroke, NC 28372
United States

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