Friday, January 06, 2012

Why global health insurance brokers should promote medical tourism

The world is shrinking; and many companies have become large multinationals , with over 10000 employees and a presence in countries all across the globe. Providing employee benefits is one of their key responsibilities, and since this has become such a challenging task, they outsource this to companies which specialise in administering and harmonising these benefits. Typically, they use a single health insurance broker to provide life insurance and health insurance coverage to all their employees across the globe.

Since there such a huge price differential between elective high ticket surgical procedures performed in India and the US ( for example, for knee replacement), I was wondering why health insurance brokers do not take advantage of this and offer medical tourism packages as part of their service offerings.

Let's take the example of a GE employee in Washington DC who needs hip replacement. If the cost for this in a Washington hospital is US $ 50000; and a hospital in India can do the exact same surgery using the same artificial hip manufactured by Johnson and Johnson, for US $ 10000, wouldn't it make sense to fly the employee down to India for this surgery ?

Health insurance brokers are very well positioned to be able to identify hospitals all across the world which meet JCAHO standards, thus ensuring safety, while saving money as well. In fact, the quality of care at some of these "focussed factories" would be far better than what would be available in the "local" US hospital !

Smart patients are already taking advantage of the superb cost effective care medical tourism service packages offer them on an individual basis. Why don't corporates learn from them, and make good use of these lessons ?
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  1. Anonymous4:06 PM

    Medical tourism is on the raise and many global medical insurance providers are encouraging people to travel abroad as it works out cheaper.

    Really well written article Dr.
    Thought I'd comment. Thank you!

  2. Medical tourism will help improve and diversify offered health insurance deals. They should push through with this.

  3. I have seen medical facilities partnering with both travel boards and medical plans for expats to cater to the out of the country going patients who seeks out cheaper rates compared to their country's rates.

  4. It's about choosing a more cost-effective treatment. Health is a priority when it comes to these matters.


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