Employers increasingly tapping medical tourism for cost savings

by Jessica Fraser ,  Newstarget | 2006-11-06

(NaturalNews) About 500,000 Americans traveled overseas last year to undergo surgeries that cost two to three times more in the United States, according to the National Coalition on Health Care.

Medical tourism has taken off in the last few years, with American employer-sponsored health insurance premiums skyrocketing 87 percent over the last six years. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that American family health coverage currently costs about $11,500 a year, with workers spending nearly $3,000 out of their own pockets annually.

Recently, 60-year-old Oklahoma resident Dodie Gilmore became one of the first Americans to be sent overseas for surgery by her employer. Gilmore needed hip surgery, but found that the procedure would cost up to $40,000 if performed in the United States, which her privately purchased health plan would likely not cover.

Gilmore researched overseas hospitals, and found that the Max Super Specialty Hospital in India would charge just $7,000 for the procedure. Gilmore's boss offered to foot the bill, which totaled $12,000, including hotel and airfare.

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