Medical Tourism: Global Competition in Healthcare Global competition is emerging in the health care industry. Wealthy patients from developing countries have long traveled to developed countries for high quality medical care. Now, a growing number of less-affluent patients from developed countries are traveling to regions once characterized as “third world.” These patients are seeking high quality medical care at affordable prices. Reports on the number of patients traveling abroad for health care are scattered, but all tell the same story. An estimated 500,000 Americans traveled abroad for treatment in 2005. A majority traveled to Mexico and other Latin American countries; but Americans were also among the estimated 250,000 foreign patients who sought care in Singapore, the 500,000 in India and as many as 1 million in Thailand. The cost savings for patients seeking medical care abroad can be significant.