Jeff Schult Interview

This ABC News interview with Jeff Schult, author of Beauty from Afar - A Medical Tourist's Guide to Quality and Affordable Cosmetic Care Outside the US, gives some good insights and overview into medical tourism, particularly the cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery, and dental care with which he has experience.


Driven by the increasing cost of medical treatment in the US, and steep health insurance rates, more Americans are taking advantage of THE burgeoning health tourism industry. This phenomenon started with people taking a vacation in the sun and having minor cosmetic surgery, but now offers a wide range of procedures, from dental work to open heart surgery.

Many traditional ‘sun and sea’ hotspots are now investing billions of dollars in this trade, constantly seeking to grow and improve their share of the market.

As stated in the ABC news program, Money Matters, the savings can be dramatic. A heart operation costing $100 000 in the US costs only $7000 in India. A $40, 000 dollar hip replacement can be performed for half of that price in France. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are taking advantage of this, unable to afford quality health care in their own country.

The author, Jeff Schult, is a veteran of health tourism, having had complex dental techniques performed in Costa Rica. He was positive about the whole experience and has since written a guidebook, helping other needy Americans find good value health care abroad, without compromising on quality.

In his book, “Beauty from Afar – A Medical Tourist’s Guide to Quality and Affordable Cosmetic Care Outside the US”, Schult offers an in depth analysis of this well-established pioneering market.

In the ABC interview1, he elaborates on what he calls “The Global Hospital”
In his experience, the best way to find information about the options for medical tourism is to research the options online, subscribing to appropriate mailing lists and forums. As he states in the interview;

“We can now find out as much about doctors online as in the US.”
Qualifications in most of the popular destinations are as stringent in the US, because governments do not want to risk jeopardizing a billion dollar trade, so have tightened up legislation.

Whilst price is always a concern when researching the best deal, it should never be at the cost of safety. Medical facilities, in most countries, are based in metropolitan areas, and so the standards are usually as high as in North America.

If you are meticulous in your research, then there should be no problem, but if something does not feel right about a facility, trust your instincts and go elsewhere. The one major downside of having procedures abroad is that litigation is difficult.

Surgery is never guaranteed to be safe, but that applies in the US as much as abroad, and doctors do not want negative publicity, so will always strive for perfection. If you follow Schult’s guidelines, then you will minimize the risk of having a traumatic experience, and be able to live the dream of combining sun and surgery.