Jim’s Take

Medical Tourism – a Win/Win for Every Employer.

This article from the Washington Examiner points out the differences in medical cost achieved by making the three-hour drive between the middle of Maine (I’m guessing at the location) and Boston.

For a hip replacement, the difference is $28,000. Knee surgeries are $10,600 cheaper.

That same story occurs again and again all over the US.  Price isn’t, of course, enough.  You must have quality, too, but in most cases the less expensive facility has better quality, too, because they do more procedures.

The problem is that the article, except when it touches on certificate of need laws, which protects no one except incumbent hospitals, talks primarily about cost, when quality ought to be the primary subject.

We believe in both lower prices and higher quality outcomes.  And we’ve discovered – assuming we’re willing to do the work for our clients – that you can achieve both.

What you need to do is find an Explorer Scout … well, a “travel guide,” a “concierge,” a resource that knows who’s good and who’s affordable.  Find a way to insert that person into the patient care management protocols of the plan.

Then you must be willing to “share the wealth” with the affected employee. You need to be willing to say to her, “Look, you can go wherever you want, but if you insist in staying here in the Frozen Butt part of Maine, you’re facing a $2,000 deductible.  If you’re willing to go to Boston – all expenses paid – you’re going to get a $0 out of pocket experience.”

When you achieve that,

  • employees get better care, which will make them happy;
  • they get a memorable experience, which will give them something to brag to neighbors about;
  • they achieve a no-cost treatment for something they figured would cost thousands.

They are psychically rewarded.  You just get lower health care costs, what is probably a happy within-the-company booster of your plan, and an employee who returns to work faster and more energized than you would have thought possible.

Think about it.

Better yet, ask us about it.