Surgery costs represent one-third of the total annual medical spending of $2.3 trillion, yet–unlike pharmacy benefits or disease benefits–they are almost completely unmanaged. Given this, surgery costs represent the largest untapped source of potential health savings.
As a result, expanded access to high-quality, high-value surgical providers through medical travel is the most promising consumer-driven product on the market. It is poised to become the integral benefit option for improving employee health and curbing costs.
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions predicts a 35% annual growth rate for the medical tourism industry in 2010 and beyond. Right now, any broker or consultant offering a way to help control staggering health care costs can reap professional rewards.
For employers, this option offers demonstrable cost control, improvement in quality and outcomes, and increased employee satisfaction. It also gives plan sponsors an opportunity to offer choices for their members, rather than cutting benefits, while improving morale and productivity. Employees can benefit from greater choice, better quality care, and savings on out-of-pocket costs.
“Medical travel” should and does involve more than offering to pay for a patient to fly to a hospital out of town.
A good medical travel provider should offer patients education about the possible benefits–and possible risks–involved with getting surgery, along with concierge services, general member services, and full reporting on claims, outcomes and savings.