Medical Tourism for Insured Patients at a Glance

by The Associated Press ,  The New York Times | 2009-08-23

Health insurers trying to tame rising medical costs have started offering medical care in other countries as a money-saving solution. Here are some things to consider if your insurer offers these trips.

How high is your deductible? Travel can make little sense if insurance is already covering most of your bill for care closer to home. But it may be worthwhile if you have a high-deductible plan that means you have to fork over several thousand dollars out of your pocket.

Are there any incentives? Some insurers will waive the deductible if you agree to take the trip because the savings to them is so great. Employers also may provide time off for the travel, and some programs will pick up travel costs too.

What kind of savings can you find abroad? Medical tourism can cost 80 percent less, not counting travel costs, depending on the procedure. Dental work, hip and knee replacements, heart bypasses and cosmetic procedures are common procedures for medical tourists.

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