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Why Employers are Paying for High Quality Medical Tourism

Posted by skymedicus STAFF on 7/26/2017 12:15 PM | Last Modified: September 26, 2017

As reported by Fortune Magazine, healthcare costs are projected to rise 6.5 percent over the next year -- which is higher than the rate of inflation. It’s a worrisome trend that has prompted the principal of PwC’s Global Human Resource Services group to warn: “The bad news is health care does cost employers a lot of money, and the idea that they are just going to absorb a 6.5% increase when CPI is at a much lower rate is unlikely, so they will continue to cost shift.”

Yet, the news isn’t all bad. That’s because instead of shifting the rising cost burden to their employees, some progressive employers are opting to pay for high quality medical tourism – which is a win for them, and even bigger victory for their employees.

In some cases, employers are opting to cover the costs directly, since medical tourism can be dramatically less costly than having the same surgery or treatment performed in the U.S. For example, weight loss surgery (a.k.a. bariatric surgery) for obese employees can cost upwards of $50,000 in the U.S., but less than $10,000 in Mexico, Costa Rica, and several other countries. Other popular procedures include dental treatments, hip replacement surgery, heart surgery, and the list goes on.

Other employers, however, are opting to export a kind of HMO-type model by picking a low-cost, high quality hospital abroad, and agreeing to cover all costs. And while employees can choose another hospital or facility (i.e. one outside of the network), they’re responsible for any extra costs. As noted by the National Center for Policy Analysis, several large employers have already opted for this approach, including the Cleveland Clinic, the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania, and perhaps most surprisingly given their history of not necessarily being on the leading-edge of employee-centric programs, Walmart.

Ultimately, the reasons why employers are paying for high quality medical tourism are simple to understand: 

  • The cost savings are substantial and far more than the 6.5 percent rise in healthcare costs. Average savings can be anywhere from 30-70 percent.
  • It’s a proven healthcare alternative that millions of people across the US take advantage of each year. Medical tourism isn’t new. It’s just getting more popular as more people learn about it (thanks largely to the internet).
  • It’s a win for all involved – including an employee’s local doctor, who wants their patient to be healthy and safe. If the best and sometimes only way for that to happen is for patients to head to Mexico or elsewhere abroad instead of their local hospital, then that’s how it has to be.  

Learn More

To learn more about medical tourism and see if it’s an option that makes sense for you or someone you care about, contact the SkyMedicus team today. Your consultation with us is free.

For more information about medical tourism and things you need to consider to have a safe and successful trip, download our FREE eBook:

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Topics: Medical Tourism

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