Market Watch |
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin (Anthem) today announced a new international medical tourism pilot product that will allow members to access benefits for certain common elective procedures at designated facilities in India. Beginning in January 2009, Anthem will pilot the program with Serigraph Inc., a Wisconsin-based global provider of printed decorating solutions.
Under the pilot program, Serigraph members planning to undergo certain procedures can enjoy access to an extended network of respected hospitals and health care providers in India. By electing to use the international benefit, members can receive care at accredited facilities at lower out-of-pocket costs for common non-emergency procedures that could result in thousands of dollars in total savings. The pilot program includes coverage of certain common non-emergency procedures such as major joint replacement, upper and lower back fusion, and other procedures that have significant cost differences between domestic and international providers.
"Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin is committed to finding innovative solutions to our nation's health care challenges, and we are continually evaluating new concepts," said Dr. Michael Jaeger, managing medical director for Anthem in Wisconsin. "Increasingly, our employer clients have expressed interest in accessing foreign providers as a means to reduce their claim expenditures, because they see medical tourism as a promising option for improving access to affordable, quality health care.
"We're proud to partner with Serigraph, a leader in workplace benefits innovation, on this pilot and believe the plan design we've structured will not only empower members to be more involved in the care they receive, but also help employers better manage their health care costs."
Members who choose to access this international option will have a dedicated case manager who will coordinate all medical arrangements, including scheduling and concierge travel service. All travel arrangements will be booked and paid for, for both the member and a travel companion. The case manager will also help make arrangements for any necessary post-operative care upon the member's return to the United States.