由 Joan Trombetti
, Writer | November 24, 2008
The health insurer Wellpoint is testing a new program that gives covered patients the option of going to India for elective surgery at no expense to the patient or traveling companion.
A printing company in Wisconsin whose managers have been looking for ways to curb rising health care costs is testing the program, monitoring every aspect of it closely to make sure everyone is satisfied and there are good clinical outcomes.
The potential savings are significant. For example knee surgery that could cost $70,000 - $80,000 in the United States can be performed in India for $8,000 to $10,000, including follow-up and rehabilitation. If other insurers follow Wellpoint, the trend ultimately may pressure hospitals in the U.S. to be more competitive.
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The pilot program arranges for patients to be picked up at the airport and provides special meals to prevent food-borne illnesses. The program complies with the American Medical Association guidelines on medical tourism and uses hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International.
Read a special report on medical tourism in the November 2008 issue of DOTmed Business News, now online at: