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Does Obamacare Cover Medical Tourism?

Posted by skymedicus STAFF on 7/21/2017 2:01 PM | Last Modified: September 26, 2017

Now that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- a.k.a. Obamacare – has come into effect, many people are wondering: Does Obamacare cover medical tourism?

The answer to this question is complex, because there is no provision of the ACA that prohibits or denies coverage for surgery abroad. However, at the moment, the ACA doesn’t cover many of the medical tourism industry’s most popular treatments, such as bariatric surgery (a.k.a. weight loss surgery), cosmetic and plastic surgery, dentistry, in-vitro fertilization, and so on. 

Medical Savings Abound with Medical Tourism

Nevertheless, a growing number of people are confidently heading abroad to countries like Costa Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Thailand and many other destinations, and getting tremendous value for their money – whether it’s out-of-pocket, or they’re spending HSA dollars. For example, the same nuclear stress test that costs $7500 in the U.S. can cost less than $1000 abroad – and this includes all consultations, cardiologist fees, and radiologist fees. So not only are people saving vast amounts of money, but they’re getting access to high quality healthcare.  

As you can imagine, heading overseas for treatment is being strongly encouraged by many insurance companies and employers, since it means lower costs. As the publisher of Medical Travel Today, Laura Carabello offers her opinion in a feature article for The Institute for Healthcare Consumerism:

I forecast that insurance companies will cover international medical bills, especially for more complicated procedures such as heart operations and cancer treatment, and alternative therapies such as stem cell treatments not available in the U.S.” 

Carabello further pointed out that the country’s growing senior population will invariably lead to longer wait times and reduced access to physicians and specialists – which will further fuel the interest and demand for medical tourism, regardless of whether it is fully or partially covered by Obamacare in the years to come. 

The Bottom Line 

As noted, many of the medical tourism industry’s most popular treatments aren’t covered by Obamacare.

However, the enormous cost difference between treatments performed in the U.S. vs. abroad – which generally range from 30 percent to as high as 80 percent or more – means that more and more people will be taking advantage of medical tourism. It’s not just a viable alternative, but in many cases, it’s by far the smarter choice. 

To learn more about medical tourism and how you can take advantage of the significant cost savings – while accessing high quality health care that meets or exceeds U.S. standards – contact the experts at SkyMedicus today.

Download our free eBook on the 10 things to know about Medical Tourism

Topics: Medical Tourism

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