News for the Hospitality Executive
Medical Tourism: Are Major Changes
in Health Care Afoot?
|NEENAH, Wis.-November 18, 2008 - According to a recent
survey conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, the practice
of “medical tourism” – traveling internationally for medical care – will
explode over the next few years. In fact, the survey forecasts that the
number of people turning to medical tourism will increase from 750,000
to 6 million by 2010.
Patricia Look, an HR benefits subject matter expert with J. J. Keller & Associates, points out that the concept of medical tourism has been around for a number of years; however, escalating health care costs in the United States have caused it to become more accepted and even favored by some employers and insurers.
“While there are many factors to consider,” states Look, “cost seems to be the biggest. It’s easy to see the draw … when a heart bypass procedure that costs $130,000 in the U.S. can be done at an accredited hospital in Singapore for $18,500 or in India for $10,000, for example.”
So, what does this mean to our understanding of health care? “Change is in the air,” says Look. “The American Medical Association (AMA) has acknowledged the impact of medical tourism on the health care industry by issuing guidelines for employers, insurance companies and other entities that facilitate or incentivize medical care outside the U.S.” Look goes on to mention three trends already emerging:
“A major concern of consumers considering medical tourism is the in-depth research required on all the intricacies involved,” suggests Look. “That’s why new businesses have sprung up to assist consumers in this task.” Look notes five such new businesses in her recently published white paper. She says many of these companies will perform the entire planning process for the consumer … do all the necessary research; determine the best location or health care provider; arrange for air travel, transportation and hospital/hotel stay; and even assign the consumer a U.S. contact person.
“No one knows for sure if medical tourism is here to stay or just a phase,” concludes Look. “But one thing is for sure, employers and insurers are pushing toward lower cost alternatives.”
About J. J. Keller
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.
|Also See:||Health Hotels - Logical Progression in Medical Tourism? / Barry Napier / May 2007|
|India's Medical Tourism Segment Enjoying Brisk Growth; Nearly 1,180,000 Patients from Around the World Visited India for Treatment in 2004 / July 2005|