Looking Abroad for Health Savings

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

No matter what Congress does with health care legislation in the next few weeks, one thing is already clear: the result will not do much to control the climbing costs of medical care in the United States.

And that is why many employers and insurance companies may seek savings by encouraging patients to travel abroad for treatment.

Offshore medical care is usually significantly less expensive than in the United States, and the wait times are often shorter. A heart operation that might cost $130,000 in this country could cost $18,500 in Singapore or $10,000 in India.

Estimates of the number of Americans traveling abroad for treatment - "medical tourism", some call it - vary widely, from 75,000 to 750,000 last year. But many experts consider it a growth industry.