Thursday, May 22, 2014

A New Twist on an Old(er) Idea?

We've been blogging about Medical Tourism for going on 8 years. Generally, we've referred to two "flavors:"

1 - Foreign nationals taking advantage of what they perceive to be superior health care here in the US, and

2 - Americans traveling abroad for less expensive treatment, ostensibly as good as what's available here.

But there seems to be a new and growing trend: inter-state medical tourism.


Here's the idea:

"The phenomenon of this new trend in medical travel -- inter-state to Centers of Excellence (COEs) throughout the country and inbound to the U.S. – is largely the result of the impact of U.S. health reforms, employer receptivity to introducing a medical travel benefit, consumer willingness to travel to other parts of the United States to access quality care with improved outcomes, and increased demand for more cost-effective care"

Nate's discussed this idea before, that higher cost doesn't necessarily translate to better outcome. And there's a growing sense among employers that this is an area that can be addressed. Currently, it appears that only self-funded plans will be able to easily add this benefit, but one wonders if there'll be a move among the fully-insured crowd to do so.

One obstacle, of course, is the ObamaTax and its requirement for plan conformity. Perhaps this could be marketed as an "ancillary" benefit, available to groups (maybe even individuals) who are willing to pay for it.
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