Monday, June 30, 2008

Surgery in India=$20 billion/yr savings for US patients

While the docs and hospitals have been concerned about competition from Minute Clinics, they may have missed an even bigger threat....medical tourism. But ain't competition grand if you are a consumer!! These foreign providers know they have to provide top notch service at a substantial savings.

Top-notch care, a fraction of the cost
That’s certainly been the case for Mason, 43, whose $20,000 body lift in Panama last July included about $7,500 for surgery to remove a large flap of skin from her abdomen, a procedure called a panniculectomy. Because the excess flesh led to potentially dangerous skin infections, the surgery was deemed a medically necessary procedure, one that could be covered by her federal Blue Cross health insurance plan.

Mason paid the bill herself for the rest of the surgery, including breast augmentation and thigh lifts. Because her surgeries would have totaled $50,000 to $75,000 back home, she contracted with Planet Hospital, a California-based medical tourism service, to research the alternatives abroad.

Planet Hospital, which also arranged care for Ryerson and Davies, has been offering medical tourism services since 2002. Of the nearly 2,000 patients they've served, nearly three dozen have had some or all of their care covered by insurance, said Rudy Rupak, president and founder.