Insurers Driving Acceptance of Medical Tourism
The medical tourism business began as an option for plastic surgery patients seeking low-cost cosmetic procedures, but now an increasing number of patients are traveling abroad for medically necessary surgeries, NBC's "Nightly News" reports.
Surgical procedures in some countries can cost as little as one-third of the U.S. price, which makes travel an attractive option for uninsured patients who require high-cost surgeries such as joint replacements or heart bypasses. Lower costs are prompting some insurance companies to encourage members to travel abroad for surgical care.
Jonathan Weiner of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said traveling abroad might be the only alternative to forgoing care for patients who cannot afford the price of surgery in the U.S. (Fratangelo, "Nightly News," NBC, 5/15).
Video of the segment is available online.