Medical Tourism Within the US?

Side Note: For many years now, we have heard about Americans ordering their medications from foreign countries because they are cheaper. And, we are all familiar with the idea of “medical tourism” –individuals (usually Americans) traveling abroad to get more affordable health care. But, what about a new trend in medicine that has Americans traveling within their own country to get more affordable care? This new kind of medical tourism has Americans comparing prices and traveling within the US to find better deals than those in their hometown.

With this new market developing, it seems that not everyone is adventuresome when it comes saving money on their health care –even if it means saving hundreds or thousands of dollars by leaving the country. There are many reasons that patients may not feel comfortable getting their health care in a foreign country. There may simply be a fundamental fear of a communication error, and therefore a medical error. There may be concerns that if the procedure doesn’t have a positive outcome, the individual is very far from home and his or her family. And, patients may worry that they may not have repercussions if a medical error does take place –other countries may not have as sturdy of a medical malpractice system and/or foreign physicians may not have med mal coverage.

The article below states that by traveling within the US alone, patients can save 20-40 percent on medical costs. Not too shabby. And, domestic medical tourism companies are starting to pop up –all to make the process as easy as possible. In an era that has physicians considering leaving their states to find more livable practice conditions, like lower physician liability policy rates and more physician-friendly tort reform, it doesn’t surprise us that patients are now starting to leave their states to find more affordable health care. Tell me we don’t have a broken health care system.

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USA: Domestic medical tourism gaining momentum
Posted: June 17, 2011 on imtj.com

Medical tourism to foreign countries is not appealing to everyone. Long flights bring the risk of DVT and American doctors are often hesitant to give follow up treatment to somebody who went overseas, for medical liability insurance reasons. As healthcare costs can vary wildly within a state or across the country, people can save 20% to 40% by flying from one state to another.

The rather ad hoc domestic medical tourism industry is gaining momentum with websites where individuals and employers can compare local medical costs, packaged offerings from hospitals similar to what is available overseas, and an increasing number of agencies either specializing in this area or adding it as an option to going abroad.

You may find the full article here.

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