Amputating medical costs by ‘offshoring’ the work

In Biz, Smartness on January 2, 2008 at 5:07 pm

AP has a “newsfeature” about medical tourism — where people go out of the country to have surgery and whatnot — coming up, but, as usual, it hasn’t appeared on its Web version. So I scouted around to see if maybe it had already run online elsewhere (it hadn’t) and ran across this interesting idea: Businesses more or less bypassing “normal” insurance and just paying for employees to have medical work done overseas.

Victor Lazarro, CEO of BridgeHealth International, a fledgling company … is making a push to market medical tourism directly to employers who are seeing their health premiums skyrocket. In many cases, he said, it’s cheaper for a company to waive a person’s deductible and co-insurance payments and just pay to have a procedure performed — travel costs included — in countries such as Singapore, Thailand or Costa Rica.

It’s an interesting thought. I know a woman who went to Costa Rica to have extensive dental work done. Of course, one wonders what recourse one has if one gets work done in Thailand and something goes awry. A significant part of the reason medical costs are so high in the U.S. is malpractice insurance, is it not?Apparently, most folks going overseas for medicine are doing elective surgery — tummy tucks ‘n’ such — that aren’t covered by insurance. But it’s an interesting thought about bypassing insurance for “medically necessary” procedures.Hey, if publishers can “offshore” their editing work, underpaid journos should be able to “offshore” their expenses, too, hm?

  1. The cost advantages that these overseas countries offer topped with their high quality health care services are going to keep the medical tourism industry flourishing.

    Self-insured small and medium sized busiensses have a lot to benefit from medical tourism as well as dental tourism.

    Transparency of hospital and surgeon profiles are vital for the success of this slowly yet gradually rising industry. Patients traveling half the world want to know as much as they can about the hosptial they will be getting their treatment at and the surgeon who will be treating them.

    For more information about doctor and hospital profiles, you may log on to http://www.healthbase.com.

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