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CONTENTS

My Medical Tourism Experience

Star Hospitals Launches Sophisticated Medical Tourism Web Site

Medical Travel... But I don't have a passport!!

Is Your Medical Trip Tax Deductible?

Star Hospitals.net and India-based Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, LTD poised to work with U.S. insurance companies

Seeing the World Through New Eyes - Lasic Surgery

Medtral New Zealand announces strategic partnership with California-based Global Medical Conexions

Domestic Medical Tourism

Hot Spot Destinations
Argentina
Philippines
Turkey

Latest News in Medical Travel

Hot Spot Destinations

Argentina

One of the top destinations for cosmetic/dental procedures

Beautiful vacation destination for pre-surgery and during recuperation

Shorter flight times compared to Europe and Asian medical tourism destinations

For more information on medical travel to Argentina, visit http://www.plenitas.com.


Philippines

Attracts an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 medical tourists a year

Home to two JCI-accredited hospitals, including St. Luke's Medical Center

Cosmetic, dental, cardiac, orthopedics and other procedures available from experienced specialists

For further information on medical travel to the Philippines, visit http://www.philippinemedicaltourism.info.

Turkey

Many procedures performed at 21 state-of-the-art JCI accredited hospitals

Two facilities are affiliated with U.S. institutions: Johns Hopkins and HarvardMedical Center

A popular destination for cosmetic and dental procedures, specialists also provide quality care in bariatrics, neurosurgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, urology and more.

More information on medical travel to Turkey can be found by visiting http://www.bridgehealthinternational.com.

Latest news in medical tourism:

Medical Tourism: Everybody's Guide to Affordable World-Class Medical Travel
Oct. 1 - U.S. News & World Report
Last year, more than 180,000 Americans packed their bags and headed overseas for nearly every imaginable type of medical treatment: tummy tucks in Brazil, heart valve replacements in Thailand, hip resurfacing surgeries in India, addiction recovery in Antigua, fertility diagnosis and treatments in South Africa, thalassotherapy in Hungary, or restorative dentistry in Mexico.

13 Smart Questions and Quick Answers About Medical Tourism
Oct. 1 - U.S. News & World Report
More than a million patients worldwide visit hospitals and clinics each year in countries other than their own. Here are 13 questions frequently asked by medical travelers—and the answers you need to know before you decide whether to journey abroad for medical care.

7 Reasons to Consider Traveling for Medical Care
Oct. 1 - U.S. News & World Report
The new phenomenon of medical tourism—or international health travel—has received a good deal of wide-eyed attention of late.

Bring on the Medical Tourism
Sept. 30 - National Center for Policy Analysis
At least 500,000 Americans travel to other countries for their medical care annually, an industry that grossed about $60 billion worldwide in 2006. Revenue from medical tourism is expected to rise to $100 billion by 2012, says a 2007 report by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

Paying Workers to Go Abroad for Health Care
Sept. 30 - The Wall Street Journal
Insured Americans are starting to see some unusual options in their health-provider networks: doctors and hospitals in Singapore, Costa Rica and other foreign destinations.

Health plans begin to cover medical tourism
Sept. 30 - FierceHealthcare
For years, U.S. employers have been looking for ways to save money on healthcare costs by having their employees' high-ticket procedures done far more cheaply offshore.Those who have attempted this, to date, have made the overseas travel entirely voluntary, and have even offered their employees a cut of what can be very substantial savings.

Singapore hospitals lure Calgary patients with lower fees, sightseeing
Sept.29 - CBC News
A Singapore company is holding seminars in Calgary, offering patients who are on years-long waiting lists quick hip and knee replacement surgeries — and some sightseeing.

Woman has vacation, checkup in India
Sept. 28 - Florida Today
Titusville resident Sandra Roberts spent her month long vacation in India sightseeing along the grand avenues of the capital city, New Delhi, and unwinding in a northern region of the country known as Little Tibet.

Controversial 'stem cell tourism' attracts ailing Americans
Sept. 24 - The Capital Times
To many scientists, those promoting what is sometimes referred to as "stem cell tourism" are nothing more than the 21st century's version of the snake oil salesman.

Medical tourism boost
Sept. 24 - Cairns.com
It's big business in Asia, and despite the fact thousands of Australians are taking part, medical tourism is still very much in its infancy in Australia.

The Medical Tourist
Sept. 24 - The Jerusalem Report
When Anna Sherevenko, an angelic-looking blonde, blue-eyed, one-and-a-half-year-old was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, her physicians in St. Petersburg, Russia, recommended a bone marrow transplant.

Goa the land of sun, sand and surgeries
Sept. 23 - NDTV.com -
Sun, sea and surgeries - medical tourism has been steadily adding to international tourist arrivals in the holiday state Goa for close to five years now.

Medical tourism represents a $2.1 billion business, study shows
Sept. 23 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The same economics that outsourced call centers and manufacturing jobs overseas may soon hit health care in a big way. 

Medical tourism may be a temporary boom
Sept. 22 - Forth Worth Business Press
It seems like a fairly straightforward question: Would an uninsured patient rather pay $130,000 for a heart bypass in the United States or pay about $10,000 for the same procedure in India, where the entire medical staff has been trained in the U.S. and the hospital meets standards set by the Joint Commission International?

India Emerging as International Medical Tourism Hub
Sept. 22 - MedIndia.com
India continues to make rapid strides in medical tourism. Analysts view medical tourism as a most promising segment, but many areas of concern need to be addressed.

Tropicalia book: Thriller writer takes on medical tourism
Sept. 21 - news-press.com
The good Dr. Robin Cook well knows that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. After all, he's been coating very serious medical ethics debates in fast, fun, escapist thrillers for more than three decades since "Coma" first stopped our hearts.

Medical Tourism May Take a Hit
Sept. 19 - The Times of India
Hospitals in Goa engaged in medical tourism forsee a 50% fall in arrival of foreigners this season. Alarmed by initial trends, some hospitals are planning new schemes to attract walk-in foreign tourists.

Orlando summit targets ways to pull in ‘medical tourism'
Sept. 19 - Orlando Sentinel
"Medical tourism" is the new buzzword in Orlando.  Representatives from Orlando's health-care and tourism industries met Thursday for the first time to discuss ways of drawing more visitors to Orlando by promoting assets such as the "medical city" under development in southeast Orlando.

Five-star fertility? Australia IVF centre adds resort
Sept. 17 - Reuters
Australian fertility specialists aim to ease the stress out of making babies by combining their clinic with a five-star luxury resort, complete with a spa and masseurs.

Have illness, will travel: the growth of domestic medicine
Sept. 15 - Bizmology

The phenomenon of medical tourism (the practice of traveling outside one's own community for medical care) has been much talked of but also maybe a little overhyped. It's usually discussed in the context of Americans going abroad — say to Mexico or Singapore — for cheaper surgeries and other care.

Dear Medical Traveler,

Welcome toYour Medical Travel, your personal resource for tips and information on the newest opportunities in medical tourism.

Visit http://blog.themedicalroadshow.comfor the latest information on medical tourism from theMedical Travel RoadShow and Your Health Expos.

Questions? Comments? Contact Amy Rohrbeck at editor@yourmedicaltravel.com.

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My Medical Tourism Experience


If you would like to share your medical tourismexperience with ourreaders, please contact Amy Rohrbeck at editor@yourmedicaltravel.com.

Michael Horowitz / GA
Emergency appendectomy
Was taken to Parkway's (www.parkwayhealth.com) Mount Elizabeth Hospital

Michael Horowitz, M.D., MBA, is an expert in the field of medical tourism. When on business in Singapore, the Founder and President of Medical Insights International, a medical tourism consulting company which researches and analyzes the medical tourism industry, found himself in need of an emergency appendectomy. His laparoscopic surgery was performed at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, which is part of Parkway Health's network of hospitals.

"My comfort level was quite high," says Horowitz. "The entire staff went above and beyond what you would expect to get in a U.S. hospital. I felt very safe with the care and I would not hesitate to have care there in the future."

Bill Upton / MD
Cardiac stress test and by-pass surgery
Traveled to Singapore's Parkway Health (www.parkwayhealth.com) hospital from military station in the United Arab Emirates

Bill Upton, Lt. Colonel (retired), U.S. Air Force, was stationed in the United Arab Emirates when he suffered a minor heart attack and needed by-pass surgery.

Despite having the choice of any hospital in the United States -- either through the Air Force or his U.S.-based employer -- Upton chose to go to Singapore for a cardiac stress test. After this positive experience, Upton decided to stay in Singapore for the surgery for several reasons: the doctors were U.S.- or UK/European- trained; they followed all U.S. best practice procedures and protocols; the surgical team was highly proficient; and the surgery cost half what it would have cost in the United States.

When he spoke of the care he received there, Upton stated, "U.S. trained doctors, U.S. standards, great team, and low price, what's not to like?"

Upton's wife Nancy also commented on Parkway's quality care, adding "If anything ever happens to me, I've asked my husband to bring me to Singapore for medical treatment."

Star Hospitals Launches Sophisticated Medical Tourism Web Site

Star Hospitals.net introduces their new Web site to cure high costs and long wait times associated with North American healthcare 

Star Hospitals (www.starhospitals.net), a North American medical tourism service, is helping millions worldwide gain access to high quality, timely, and affordable medical treatment overseas with the launch of its new Web site: www.starhospitals.net

The Web site goes a step beyond the company's present call center, which is operated by doctors, physician assistants, paramedics, physiotherapists, and other medical professionals by   creating a password protected folder to ensure absolute privacy.  With its password protected folder feature, Star Hospitals.net assures the security of its users' sensitive medical information. This electronic folder guarantees that all medical records are accessible only to the user and Star Hospital administrators.

This site is an instant resource for concise and up-to-the-minute information related to medical travel – including a Frequently Asked Questions page, a look at procedures and facilities, patient testimonials, travel tips, corporate program information, cost comparisons, companion program and what to expect from aftercare.  In addition to a wealth of information, www.starhospitals.net also allows patients the opportunity to engage in a "live chat" with facility doctors.  These doctors can answer questions and address any concerns patients may have about traveling overseas for healthcare.

Because Star Hospitals understands the importance of a companion while traveling for medical treatment, they have dedicated a page on their site to feature their extensive companion programs.  Detailed descriptions of these programs can be found at www.starhospitals.net.

"This new Web site was created to ensure that those interested in medical travel receive the answer they are looking for, whether it is someone interested in learning what medical tourism is all about or someone looking to book one of the many procedures Star Hospitals offers," we help people make informed decision says Kumar Jagadeesan, vice president of Star Hospitals.net.  "With the current state of the economy, more people than ever are looking at medical travel as a high quality, cost-effective medical option that offers a wide choice of procedures without the wait."

Star Hospitals.net is utilizing their new Web site to announce that the majority of their hospitals are accredited or working toward accreditation by the Joint Commission International (JCI), the National Accreditation Board of Hospitals (NABH), the International Standards Organization (ISO), and/or other facilities in India, Singapore, and Thailand.  A link is provided so users can easily view pertinent details and navigate to the coordinating hospitals' respective Web site.

 "Starhospitals.net provides a quick and educational way to learn more about medical procedures and surgeries abroad that could save users 60 to 80 percent of the cost of a similar procedure in their native country," Jagadeesan adds. "Anyone who goes to the site will learn that medical travel is a realistic alternative for patients looking for quality treatment that is affordable and, depending on the treatment, offers the chance for a relaxing vacation."

Medical Travel... But I don't have a passport!!

Domestic, smaller.jpgDuring tough economic times, more Americans have been thinking about traveling abroad for medical care. Patients without adequate health insurance, or patients looking to having an elective procedure at a lower cost, are leaving the country for surgery - and a break from the constant reminder of the financial crisis.

With current air and safety regulations, people traveling outside of the U.S. must obtain a valid passport. Usually, to obtain a passport for the first time, U.S. citizens must go to a passport center with two passport-sized photos, photo identification and proof of citizenship.  After you've filled out the applications and provided the necessary ID, your information is sent along to the National Passport Information Center for processing, which generally takes 3 to 6 weeks, if not longer.

If travelers have enough time before their trip, the National Passport information Center offers an expedited package, in which you will receive your passport in two weeks. The expedited service costs an extra $60 fee, plus overnight delivery costs.

So what happens if you're surgery is sooner than two weeks? The Web site www.rushmypassport.com boasts passport turnarounds from 8-14 business days to 24-hour service, costing anywhere from an additional $99 - $299 (plus shipping) on top of the $135 U.S. Department of State fee.

If you plan on having your procedure in Canada or Mexico, patients also have the option of saving money by applying for a new passport card.  Though passport cards cannot currently be expedited, a first-time applicant can apply for a passport card for $45. According to the U.S. Department of State Web site, "The passport card facilitates entry and expedites document processing at U.S. land and sea ports-of-entry," and cannot be used as a valid passport for air travel.

For more up-to-date information on international travel requirements, travel alerts and warnings, visit http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html.

Excerpted from Patients Beyond Borders: Everybody's Guide to Affordable, World-Class Medical Travel; Second Edition, by Josef Woodman. © 2008. All Rights Reserved

Is Your Medical Trip Tax Deductible?

Author's Note: In addition to the considerable cost-savings inherent in traveling abroad for treatment, patients may be further gratified to learn that under the right circumstances, a medical trip may be tax-deductible.  The below excerpt, from Patients Beyond Borders Second Edition, tells you how:
What do tortillas, taxi rides, and treatments have in common?  All these expenses may be tax deductible as part of your health travel. Depending upon your income level and cost of treatment, some or most of your health journey can be itemized as a straight deduction from your adjusted gross income.

In brief, if you're itemizing your deductions, and if IRS-authorized medical treatment and related expenses amount to more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, you're allowed to deduct the remainder of those expenses, whether they were incurred in Toledo, Ohio, or Toledo, Spain.

For example, if your adjusted gross income is $90,000, then any allowed medical expense over $6,750 ($90,000 x 7.5%) becomes a straight deduction. Suppose, for example, that your medical trip cost you a total of $14,000 including treatment, travel, lodging, and, of course, a two-week surgeon-recommended stay in a five star beachfront recuperation resort. For that trip, you could deduct $7,250 ($14,000 - $6,750) from your adjusted gross income.

Examples of typical tax-deductible items include:

  • any treatment normally covered by a health insurance plan
  • transportation expenses, including air, plane, train, boat or car travel
  • lodging and in-treatment meals
  • recovery hotels, surgical retreats, and recuperation resorts

Of course, your expenses must be directly related to your treatment, and many specific items are disallowed.

Be sure to save all your receipts. That's often easier said than done in foreign lands. Hotel and treatment bills are sometimes not computer-generated overseas, and just try getting a receipt from a three wheel taxi operator in New Delhi. Receipts or not, keep a detailed expense log, noting time, date, purpose, and amount paid. Ask for letters and other documentation from your in-country healthcare provider, particularly any recommendations made for outside lodging, special diets, and other services.

For more information, you can go straight to the source. Go to www.irs.gov, click on "individual," then search for "medical deductions." You can also call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. Believe it or not, most IRS customer service representatives are friendly and competent, and if you are sufficiently persistent, you'll eventually be put in touch with a medical tax specialist. As always with such matters, you should consult your tax advisor with questions or concerns.

A Typical Medical Expense and Tax Spreadsheet.

When it comes to taxes, we're no experts, nor are we professionally or legally qualified to advise you. That said, readers often ask us how exactly the medical deduction works. Here's our best shot, a theoretical scenario of Robert Thrifty, a patient who traveled to Delhi, India, for hip resurfacing surgery. His allowable expenses went something like this:

  • 90-day Visa to India: $140
  • Immunization: Yellow fever $72
  • Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Treatment: $9,000
  • Hospital Room (four days): $350
  • In-Hospital Meals: $110
  • Recovery Retreat (physician recommended): $1,750
  • Physical Therapy (physician mandated): $200
  • Prescriptions (physician mandated): $65
  • Transportation (airfare): $1,450
  • Transportation (other): $200

Total: $13,357

When Robert sat down to complete his tax return, his initial Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) totaled $83,000.

Adjusted Gross Income: $83,000

In order to calculate his medical deduction, Robert first calculated 7.5 percent of his AGI. (Don't ask us how the IRS came to this figure. It's just the one they use.)

7.5% X $83,000.00 = $6,225

Then, Robert subtracted his $6,225 medical expense baseline from his actual trip costs.

$13,357 - $6,225 = $7,126

Finally, Robert calculated his new, improved Adjusted Gross Income of $75,874:
$83,000 - $7,126 = $75,874

Naturally, if your income were lower or if your allowable health travel expenses were higher, you'd gain even more. But the calculation process is the same in all cases.

If the above is clear as mud, then a good rule of thumb is this: if your Adjusted Gross Income is less than $100,000 and your allowable medical expenses are more than $10,000, then you probably have a tax benefit worth pursuing.

Before you submit your return, consult your tax advisor or the friendly folks at the IRS on this important tax provision.

Star Hospitals.net and India-based Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, LTD poised to work with U.S. insurance companies

Star Hospitals.net, a North American healthcare facilitator, continues to break ground in the booming medical tourism industry in India by partnering with the country's first and most successful health insurance company, Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, LTD.   Through this joint venture the two premier healthcare services will focus on collaborating with a U.S. or Canadian-based health insurance company to offer comprehensive, affordable medical care in an international setting. 

Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, LTD is currently exploring the opportunity to partner with a U.S. or Canadian-based insurance company by following the re-insurance route.  It is proposed that companies in the United States and Canada will design and market country-specific policies, Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, LTD will be responsible for claims servicing and support in India. 

"This joint business venture will be solidified through a re-insurance contract which can be further broadened to include claims servicing, domestic travel, and travel arrangements," says Mr. Jaganathan, M.D. and CEO of Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, LTD. The company will work on behalf of the patient's overseas insurer to manage claims and payment in India under the "Claims Control Clause." 

Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, LTD, is India's premier health insurance company, providing not only basic health insurance but also specialized insurance for diabetics, HIV patients, and families with aging relatives. 

Previous to Star Hospitals' alliance with Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, LTD, the company coordinated everything from travel arrangements to medical care at one of the JCI/NABH/ISO accredited hospitals in the Star Hospitals network.  Now, with the possibility of a U.S. or Canadian-based health insurance company working with a Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, LTD, quality, affordable healthcare seems a closer reality for millions.

"Star Hospitals.net hopes this venture will strengthen our efforts to include as many options as possible for our patients," Kumar Jagadeesan, president of Star Hospitals.net stresses.  "We want to make certain that every aspect is taken care of so our patient's medical travel experience is affordable, complete, and stress-free."

Star Hospitals.net specializes in coordinating travel, pre- and post-operative accommodation arrangements, completing hospital registration prior to the patient's arrival in India, and arranging tourism and sightseeing activities.  A companion program is available for anyone accompanying the patient.

For a consultation please call our toll free number 1-888-782-7012 and speak to a doctor or visit www.starhospitals.net.

Seeing the World Through New Eyes

People in the U.S. often worry about one part of their health that isn't always covered by their insurance: VISION. Today, there are many opportunities to access vision care at lower cost outside the country. A growing number of individuals turn to LASIK eye surgery for permanent vision correction.

LASIK Eye Surgery

According to The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), more than 700,000 patients have LASIK surgery in the U.S. each year, with more than 16.3 million patients having had LASIK worldwide to date.

LASIK eye surgery is performed to reduce a person's dependency on corrective eyewear or contact lenses. The procedure is straightforward and lasts about 30 minutes. LASIK uses a computer-guided laser to reshape the surface of the cornea so that it correctly focuses light on the retina.

People who have undergone LASIK surgery report little to no discomfort. While recuperation differs in every case, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides patients with the following guidelines:

after eye surgery

LASIK surgery is routinely performed by an ophthalmologist, a medical eye doctor, who is licensed to perform this specialized surgery. In the U.S., LASIK is now the most popular eye surgery procedure. While many newspaper, radio and TV advertisements tout LASIK procedures for $499, www.allaboutvision.com reports LASIK eye surgeries can cost anywhere from $1,500-$3,000 per eye.

Average Cost for LASIK Surgery
Country Cost
United States $2,100
Mexico $600
Turkey $513

Now there are less expensive options for accessing LASIK surgery outside the United States. For example, BridgeHealth International (www.bridgehealthinternational.com) offers packages to patients traveling for LASIK procedures to countries like Costa Rica, Mexico, India, Panama, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey. On average, LASIK surgery outside of the U.S. can be performed for $1,200-$1,400 for both eyes.

Glaucoma

Another costly vision issue is treatment for glaucoma. Glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. according to the World Health Organization, is a disease that causes a person to gradually lose sight. Nicknamed the "sneak thief of sight," glaucoma can affect patients of any age or nationality. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, the following groups are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma:

  • African Americans - Glaucoma is six to eight times more likely to develop in African Americans than Caucasians.
  • People over the age of 60
  • People who have a family history of glaucoma
  • Steroid Users - A 1997 study by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) found a 40% increase in the incidence of glaucoma in adults who require approximately 14 to 35 puffs of steroid inhaler to control severe asthma.
  • People who have suffered from an eye injury - Sports related injuries, like in baseball or boxing, where one suffers a blunt eye injury can lead to glaucoma.

In an attempt to start the healing process, patients are given medicated eye drops, which can costs upwards of $2,000. As drops do not successfully ease the suffering 100 percent of the time, patients may then have to spend even more money on the surgery itself. As glaucoma usually affects people over the age of 40, patients saving up for retirement may be especially challenged to cover the cost of care - especially if they do have adequate insurance coverage.

Surgeries for glaucoma in the U.S. cost approximately $5,000. But many patients can save money on this important surgery by traveling abroad, where the same procedures cost anywhere from $700-$2,000.

As eye procedures take time to heal and may be done in two phases, patients should be sure to understand how long they will be in the care of a physician outside the U.S. Always ask for a referral from past patients and inquire how many procedures the doctor has performed before having the surgery at home or abroad.

For more information on ophthalmologic procedures, visit the following Web sites:

Medtral New Zealand announces strategic partnership with California-based Global Medical Conexions

Medtral New Zealand (www.medtral.com), providing affordable, world-class healthcare with all-inclusive travel and medical treatment packages, today announced a strategic partnership with California-based Global Medical Conexions (GMCx, www.globalmedconex.com), a leader in the self-funded group health field.  GMCx maintains an International Select Provider Organization (ISPO) consisting of the highest quality physician and hospital partners in the healthcare field and will add Medtral hospitals to its network.

"This strategic alliance will serve the interests of both organizations because the addition of medical travel to New Zealand opens opportunities for Medtral to expand its client base while providing our clients with the best and most attractively priced options for medical travel," says Bob Repke, president of Global Medical Conexions. "New Zealand is an ideal choice for self-insured companies seeking to reduce healthcare costs while maintaining or improving the quality of healthcare for their members or employees. New Zealand is a first world, English-speaking country with very high quality medicine and a clean, green environment that is ideal for recuperation. Additionally, the affordability of the travel and treatment packages is unparalleled." 

Medtral New Zealand services include: travel, accommodation, hospital procedures, and post-operative care at New Zealand's premier private medical facilities. Adhering to Quality Health New Zealand (QHNZ) and International Society of Quality (ISQua) accreditation standards, Medtral New Zealand's network of hospitals provides a world-class experience and service for North American patients.

"Global Medical Conexions is at the forefront of this industry and well-positioned to bring New Zealand hospitals to U.S. employers," says Steve Nichols, managing director of Medtral New Zealand. "We expect that self-funded employers will respond favorably to this opportunity and make New Zealand a top-of-mind medical travel option for employees."

Nichols projects that by offering medical travel to New Zealand as a health benefit, GMCx member employers will realize significant cost savings while ensuring excellent standards of quality.

"Patients will be able to enjoy the beauty and vitality of New Zealand during their recovery from surgery and pay far less for care," adds Nichols. "Medtral New Zealand streamlines the entire medical travel process for all parties -- patients, employers, and payers.  We approach each individual with an all-inclusive experience that includes working with U.S. doctors to complete pre-operative diagnostic tests as well as arranging the Visa application, pre-flight procedures, accommodations, specialist consultations, the medical procedure itself, and aftercare."

Domestic Medical Tourism

With media now highlighting domestic medical tourism - one of the oldest forms of medical tourism - individuals are rekindling their interest in traveling within their home countries for medical consultations and procedures.

For years, patients have traveled across state borders and flown to the opposite coast with the hope of finding better care, getting a second opinion or discovering a possible cure.  Hospitals and centers of excellence continue to lure domestic medical tourists and are even stepping up their marketing. 

Employers are now starting to explore these options, seeking relief from the current financial pressures but still feeling a bit uneasy about sending their employees overseas for medical care at reduced costs. Today, they are starting to offer incentives to employees to travel within the U.S. and access care from more affordable providers.   Employers report that many U.S. hospitals are matching the cost of care overseas and it makes sense to send people to other parts of the country - even after covering the costs of the employees' travel and care.

As a cost-effective solution for employers, the value-based healthcare company Healthplace America offers members Healthplace Benefit™, which makes specialists from across the country available to employees without having to worry about deductibles, co-pays or coinsurance. Patients also receive concierge service which will arrange transportation, medical appointments and accommodations, much like a medical tourism company.

Domestic, smaller.jpg

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Healthplace America's network currently consists of 15 hospitals, and plans on expanding to the East Coast.

As domestic medical tourism gains attention, hospitals may begin marketing to patients out of state, and offering luxury accommodations - comparable to the ones touted at medical centers worldwide. RX Health Quotes says some hospitals have begun preparing for this new boom:

  • The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas owns a hotel (operated by Marriott) for patients and their families. There is a nurse on site to draw blood, and the two facilities are connected by a walkway.
  • (Washington) Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is also planning a new hotel-type facility for patients and families.
  • (Ohio) Cleveland Clinic offers medical concierge service, and will arrange medical appointments, transportation, and hotel rooms.

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Copyright © 2008 Your Medical Travel is published by CPR Communications.
Information in this newsletter should not be considered as medical advice.