Thursday, November 13, 2008

Medical Tourism is Here

It was only a matter of time until health costs in the U.S. rose so high that we would outsource health care. That time is here.

WellPoint, the nation's largest health benefits company has announced a new product that allows its patients to travel to India to receive care. Starting in January, 2009, "members planning to undergo certain procedures can enjoy access to an extended network of respected hospitals and health care providers in India. By electing to use the international benefit, members can receive care at accredited facilities at lower out- of- pocket costs that could result in thousands of dollars of savings."

They go on to say a dedicated case manager will coordinate all medical arrangements, including scheduling and concierge travel services. All travel arrangements are booked and paid for, for both the member and a traveling companion. The case manager also arranges any post operative follow up care.

Certain medical tourism facilities in India and Thailand have quality outcomes that rival the United States. Their doctors are trained at fine institutions like Harvard and Johns Hopkins.
The facilities are accredited (without all of the unnecessary United States bureaucracy that drives up costs).

How do they do it? They have less government interference, practically no lawsuits, lower cost structures, no unions, low wages and better customer service.

You may not like it, but that is a fact.

How about a vacation and a knee replacement?


tracey said...

Wow. Just wow. Did you see this coming?

Healthnut said...

Medical tourism has been going on for at least 4 years now. In the long run, it will bring down the costs of malpractice insurance for US doctors. But if something does goes wrong, the patient is out of luck.

"India's medical tourism: a tale of tainted blood, stolen kidneys and riches offshore"

Healthnut said...

No wonder the insurance industry is adamant about pushing this forward.

A coronary bypass:

US - $130k
India - $6650 to $9300

tracy said...

Elaine (on "Seinfeld")".....and here i am in India, with all my idiot friends."
Well, maybe the hospital food is good...i do love Indian cusine...and, i always d i d want to go to India...but was hoping to make it to Israel first....

kesha said...

Medical Tourism, Health care tours or the idea of visiting to a new destination for health treatment and visiting some favorite tourist places at the same time sounds very relaxing and refreshing. But traveling to new places and finding a suitable hotel to stay and a right physician to get treated is very difficult and challenging issue.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I subscribe to surgeons who own their surgeries (and patients). What happens with post-op visits and if something goes wrong? Also, good luck with any legal remedy. This is good for insurance, but is it good for patients? No. I've got a better idea for controlling costs wellpoint (and all other insurance plans). How about standardized and simple insurance forms in your industry so we don't have to employee people just to deal with your morass of paperwork. How about overhead rates of less than 25% (industry standard). How about a truly non-profit model such that "profits" go back to the company instead of to stockholders. How about compensation for your exexutives more like the rest of the world (outside the US) instead of like 19th century railroad barons. The CEO made 23.9 million in 2006 (Mr. Glasscock’s pay includes a salary of $1.3 million, $4.2 million in stock, $11.7 in options, and another $6.7 million in assorted goodies that include perks such as using the corporate plane to attend board meetings of another public company). What a crock.

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