Top 5 spots for medical tourism

Approximately 1.4 million Americans are expected to travel outside the U.S. for medical care in 2016, according to Patients Beyond Borders.

Medical tourism has gained popularity in recent years as people across the world look to access less expensive or better quality medical treatment.

From Asia to Latin America, below are five of the most popular medical tourism destinations, according to The Huffington Post.

1. Costa Rica. The World Health Organization ranked Costa Rica's healthcare system slightly above that of the U.S. this year. About 15 percent of international tourists visit the country specifically for medical services, according to the article. The average savings in healthcare expenses for Americans is significant. A knee replacement in Costa Rica costs on average $9,500 compared to $34,000 in the U.S.

2. Colombia. Between 2012 and 2013, medical tourism in Colombia spiked by more than 60 percent. Approximately 50,000 medical tourists spent an estimated $216 million in the Colombia healthcare system in 2013. Eight hospitals in Medellin ranked among the top 43 medical facilities in Latin America last year, according to America Economia.

3. Mexico. Mexico's combination of U.S.-trained physicians, modern hospitals, low prices and proximity to the U.S. has made the country a popular medical destination for U.S. residents. In fact, several private U.S. hospital chains own or have affiliated with hospitals in Mexico, including the International Hospital Corporation of Dallas and CHRISTUS Health in Irving, Texas.

4. Malaysia. Medical tourism has taken off in Malaysia and gained fame globally for its affordable medical prices. About 80 percent of all medical tourists in Malaysia come from neighboring countries, including Thailand and Singapore, and more than 80 percent of all medical tourists in the world visited Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore in 2012. Eight Malaysian hospitals have earned Joint Commission International certification

5. Thailand. The World Health Organization ranked Thailand among the world's 50 best healthcare systems this year. Many physicians undergo specialized training abroad (typically in the U.S. and Europe) and Thai hospitals are staffed with translators to assist foreigners if they have problems communicating with medical professionals.

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