Medical Tourism and Insurance
As we are fast approaching the upcoming convention World Medical Tourism & Global Health Congress which takes place in San Francisco on September 9-12th we are seeing a change in the way Medical Tourism is viewed by insurance companies employers and governments from around the world. A majority of insurance carriers have begun to accept and embrace the concept that there is high quality of care overseas.
Several US health insurance carriers have already implemented the option of allowing employees or an insured to go overseas for medical care and in return giving the employee or insured an incentive such as waiving deductible and coinsurance. In some cases they are providing added incentives such as a percentage of savings. It is estimated that there may be approximately 100 US employers have already implemented medical tourism and have successfully been sending employees overseas.
For employees who are making under $50000 a year the waiving of a deductible and coinsurance could result in a minimum savings of 10% of their annual income which is enough incentive to get them to travel for medical care. Other countries such as in the United Kingdom through the NHS are considering allowing reimbursement to its covered members at overseas hospitals.
In the Middle East we are seeing many of the Middle East and Gulf Coast insurance carriers traveling overseas to find high quality hospitals to add to its network.As international insurance carriers and employers look at offering coverage at certain hospitals around the world several important factors come into play. Insurance companies are only selecting the top hospitals from around the world. These are hospitals that provide excellent outcomes and a high quality of care.
More importantly insurance companies are looking for hospitals that believe in and provide transparency. Transparency in the areas of quality of care and outcomes is required and more importantly transparency in the area of pricing. Insurance companies want to be able to compare the outcomes hospitals have compared to other hospitals as well as know the actual price that will be charged for medical care.
Also very important to insurance carriers and employees is that the hospital has an established International Patient Department that can overcome the language barrier and any special need the patient has such as religious needs or food limitations. Insurance carriers and employers want to know the hospital has processes in place to accept foreign patients and that preventable problems will not occur.
Hospitals who have a efficient international patient departments will continue to see a steady increase in the flow of international patients. Those that do not have them already may see insurance companies resistant to send patients.One of the target goals of the congress in San Francisco will be to look at what employers and international insurance carriers expect and want from hospitals. This unique insight will show everyone industry participants how to plan for the future of their business in this industry.
If international insurance carriers and employers expectations are met than medical tourism will soon be an accepted practice within international insurance plans.Some of the attendees of our upcoming Medical Tourism convention in San Francisco will be attendees from the following insurance carriers and healthcare companies:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Assurant Health
- Guardian Life Insurance Company
- Symetra Life Insurance Company
- HCC Life Insurance Company
- Fairmont Speciality a Crum & Foster Company
- Aon Consulting
- Wells Fargo (formerly Acordia)
- The Crowne Group
- MoPEB Insurance Trust
- AMF International Health Plans
- Middle East & International Health Insurance Carriers