7 Things You Need to Know About Medical Tourism

7 Things You Need to Know About Medical Tourism

Health care has become so expensive in the United States that a growing number of Americans (and their employers) are finding it more cost efficient to fly across the globe for certain medical procedures. The savings are so great — and the quality high enough — that a handful of American insurance companies are now encouraging the practice and covering the travel and treatment costs.

“Medical tourism” was valued at about $439 billion last year in a new report by Visa and Oxford Economics, which projected that it could grow 25 percent a year over the next decade. This year, an estimated 1.4 million Americans will leave the country for a medical procedure, according to Patients Beyond Borders.

In addition to traveling in order to save money, some medical tourists plan trips because they want to have a treatment that’s not approved in the United States or because they’ll have a shorter wait by going abroad.

If you’re considering joining them, here’s what you need to know:

America's Favorite Supermarkets Ranked

America’s top supermarket chains are busy competing with each other and with non-traditional food retailers such as farmers’ markets, online outlets and even dollar stores to claim the loyalty of everyday grocery shoppers.

They are adding new locations at a rapid rate and experimenting with new formats and private brands to defend their place in an increasingly complex and competitive market. So, which supermarket is America’s favorite?

Using company ratings from the Temkin Group, The Fiscal Times created its own ranking of America’s favorite U.S. supermarkets among the 24 largest chains.

TFT’s ranking uses Temkin Group’s experience, customer service, trust and forgiveness ratings for 2016. Temkin asked consumers to rate the success, effort and emotions associated with their experiences at each supermarket. The customer service ratings asked consumers to rate how satisfied they were with the service at each store. The forgiveness ratings asked consumers how likely they would be to forgive a company after it made a mistake. And the trust ratings asked consumers to measure how much they trust each store.

After analyzing the data, with greater weight placed on the experience and customer service ratings, one supermarket stood out above the others: Publix. The Florida-based chain has over 1,000 stores throughout the Southeast. At the other end of the spectrum, Walmart stood out for its low ratings from consumers. It seems that the mega-retailer has some work to do when it comes to customer satisfaction.

The Best Towns Where You Can Find a Beach Bargin

If your Fourth of July beach vacation has you thinking about getting permanent digs by the ocean, you’re not alone. Four in 10 buyers of vacation homes purchase property near a beach, according to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors.

While prices in many shore communities are up, it’s still possible to find a deal on a beach house, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.

To come up with the best beach town bargains, RealtyTrac considered all cities bordering the ocean with a population of less than 50,000 and an average summer temperature of between 60 and 80 degrees. The report also looked at air quality, density of registered criminal offenders and median home prices.

Here are the Best Towns Where You Can Find a Beach Bargain.

America's Favorite Car Brands Ranked

New car sales are hitting record levels thanks to cheap gas and low auto loan rates.

U.S. auto sales through June increased 1.5 percent to 8.65 million, outpacing last year’s record volume of 8.5 million sales for the same period. Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Subaru posted increases for the month, while sales were down at General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen.

As sales soar, which car brands do Americans like the most? The Fiscal Times analyzed company ratings from the Temkin Group to rank the public perception of 17 car brands.

TFT’s ranking incorporates the Temkin Group’s experience, customer service, trust and forgiveness ratings for 2016, with greater weight placed on the experience and customer service ratings.

Our analysis finds that the ultra-luxury Mercedes-Benz brand, a division of German company Daimler, tops all others, with No. 1 rankings for customer service, trust and forgiveness. Overall, foreign-made cars do quite well, claiming seven of the top 10 spots.

America's Favorite Airlines Ranked

There are many reasons Americans grumble about flying these days, from fees for checked bags and onboard snacks to cramped quarters in the economy section. Even so, some airlines must be doing better than others, right?

The Fiscal Times took a closer look by using company ratings from the Temkin Group to rank the eight largest U.S. airlines.

Apple's $14.5 Billion European Tax Mess Explained

The European Commission said Tuesday that Apple must pay Ireland $14.5 billion in back taxes, ruling that the Irish government gave the tech giant illegal state aid in the form of special tax breaks over more than 20 years. Apple will appeal the decision, which could have major repurcussions for U.S. companies doing business in Europe. Watch the video above for more about the landmark decision.