ECONOMY

Untapped health tourism

Foreigners seeking medical care at one of Greece’s private hospitals are a potential source of visitors for the country, according to a report. «Greece’s private hospitals can attract foreign patients looking for reasonable prices and quality doctors, especially in the area of plastic surgery and in vitro fertilization treatment,» National Bank said in a report published yesterday. On a global level, patients traveling abroad for medical treatment are expected to spend $100 billion in 2012, up from $60 billion in 2006. Most Greeks who go abroad for healthcare do so to receive treatment at orthopedic centers and oncology clinics. The possible entry of new players into the market and spending cuts by pension funds struggling under massive deficits are among the threats to profit margins in private healthcare, said the report. Private hospitals have been increasing their market share in Greece due to the «dysfunction» of the public healthcare system, it added.