Cypress U | October 30th, 2018
Since lowering healthcare costs depends largely on the costs of different facilities, why should members be limited by where they live?
Brokers and employers see lots of hospital bills with jaw-dropping charges. It’s becoming more and more important that the member be educated on their options in order to lower costs – medical travel is one of these options. Medical tourism gives patients access to the best facilities across the United States.
Why is this so important? When a patient is told they need a procedure, their doctor will suggest where to get the surgery, and they’ll likely go to that location, since most don’t know why they would go somewhere else. Ambitious patients might even look at a PPO list, but when they’re looking at all those names, how are they supposed to know which facility would be the best for their needs? It’s easy to see how a patient could potentially judge the quality of care at a facility based on the cost of the procedure, and end up getting worse care for their money.
This is where a Domestic Medical Tourism program can help.This program supplements an employer’s health plan, featuring providers who have been pre-vetted for quality, and putting in an agreement to operate at discounted, fixed-rate pricing, often as much as 40-50%. What does this mean for the patient? A better outcome for both the cost, and their total experience.
The Domestic distinction means that all of the travel options remain within the United States. This makes it an easier sell to the patients, since there is generally a higher level of trust regarding the quality of the facility and care it offers. This doesn’t mean that the savings aren’t significant: domestic programs achieve savings that rival the most cost-effective international programs.
In order for medical tourism to be a good option, the surgery first has to make sense financially. This largely depends on the cost estimates put out by the local hospitals. Often times, the higher cost facilities are the ones in the smaller, more rural communities. This presents an opportunity for travel for a lot of members who live outside of populated areas.
Then, the person must quality medically. Obviously, the individual needs to be able to travel safely in order for this solution to hold any water. One of the no-brainer procedure categories for medical travel is orthopedic surgery. Hip and knee replacement, spinal surgeries, joint, surgeries; these are all expensive procedures that have much better outcomes if performed by the right specialist
To help guide the member through the process, a medical concierge is in contact with them from choosing a provider, throughout the travel process, right through recovery. The concierge makes all the necessary arrangements for airline bookings, lodging, recovery, and rehab.
By using this program, employers know exactly what a procedure will cost before the surgery is completed, and typically experience savings much higher than what a PPO program offers. They’re happy because of the savings, and the members are happy knowing they are receiving high quality care from providers with 100% coverage, often with no out-of-pocket expenses.
This is, of course, presented to the patient only as an option. they aren’t obligated to take advantage of travel. However, if utilized, the benefits of the medical travel option are huge for both the patient and their employer – higher quality facilities, valuable second opinions from specialists, and free procedures & cash incentives for the patient just to name a few.