Medical Tourism Growing but Trends Changing

NCPA Research Shows New Health Care Cost-Cutting Options


(DALLAS-Sept. 22, 2010) -  As insurers and employers look for ways to cut health care costs, medical tourism - both abroad and within the U.S. - is an increasingly popular option for expensive procedures and care, according to a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). 

Full text of Medical Tourism: Have Insurance Card, Will Travel is here: http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Medical-Tourism-Have-Insurance-Card-Will-Travel.pdf

"Medical tourism started out as a cost-cutting option for uninsured patients.  Now, it's becoming more common for employers to require employees to go to designated hospitals and penalizing them is they don't," said analysis author and NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick.

Medical tourism is no longer limited to going out-of-country for care.  Dr. Herrick, who has tracked medical tourism trends for many years, notes in his research that health plans are now negotiating discounted care for employees at hospitals and clinics within the U.S.  This is also encouraging more competition on price and quality of care, through a negotiated lower cost called "selective contracting."

Herrick added, "Medical tourism is our best chance to inject some badly-needed competition in the U.S. health care system."

Dr. Herrick can also answer questions about how the new Affordable Care Act will impact the rapidly expanding medical tourism market.

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