Benefit managers can take certain steps to ensure that integrating a medical tourism option into an employer-sponsored health plan is successful and worthwhile.
The first step is to "analyze the potential impact that offering the benefit might have," said Jay Savan, a Towers Perrin principal based in St. Louis. "If you have a lot of hourly employees standing on their feet all day, you might have a lot of musculoskeletal issues," he said. In that case, allowing employees the opportunity to go to a quality institution abroad where surgery costs significantly less may be a big boost to the bottom line, he said.
Secondly, "diagnose the issue," Mr. Savan advised. Determine whether there are non-emergency elective procedures that are in the top five to 10 cost drivers for the company and the plan participants, he said. Then identify procedures that would be appropriate to offer outside the United States.