Monday, November 2nd, 2009
Category: Insurance Training
What’s better for the insurance industry than having customers want health insurance policies? Having customers who want to take those policies and travel overseas for medical care in a new wave of popular travel designated as ‘medical tourism’. Medical procedures and tests are much cheaper overseas, namely in Thailand, which is causing many people to leave port on a vacation for medical and personal purposes alike. Why do insurance companies like this idea? Because that means that they’ll have to pay less to cover the costs of the medical treatments that their insured patients seek.
Imagine paying upwards of $10,000 for a simple surgical procedure here in the United States. Now imagine going to Thailand and having that same procedure done. The odds are good that you would save on average about 60-75% on that procedure. That means that instead of paying $10,000 for the procedure, or even only $8,000 (80%), the insurance companies would pay much closer to $3,000 for the procedure, even if they footed the entire bill. Medical tourism has been popular for quite some time among those without insurance, but now even those with insurance are giving it a shot, and insurance companies are eating it up.
While the President is trying to reform healthcare, people are flocking overseas to get healthcare from other countries that already have better practices in place. The great thing about medical tourism is that you can get just about anything done with the same experienced professionals and high tech equipment in a different country for a fraction of the cost. For both the insured and uninsured, it is a perfect solution to medical costs. However, it’s also a great excuse to visit another country and get a chance to see a new place, all while getting medical and dental work done for pennies on the dollar.
Doctors and surgeons overseas are being incorporated into many insurance companies’ lists of approved providers, allowing patients to travel the world to get more affordable medical treatments. While it might seem like this is defeating American health care and taking jobs away from our doctors, the mass number of people who don’t embark on medical tourism are still keeping the industry alive. The four largest insurance companies either have launched pilot programs or have actually explored the option. Before long, insurance companies will practically be begging people to go overseas. That is, of course, unless someone does something to fix the skyrocketing prices of healthcare in the U.S.
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