Tag Archives: Lisa Beichl

A disruptive change in healthcare?

Medical tourism has gotten a lot of ink. International healthcare expert Lisa Beichl explains how it is now becoming more accepted:

A $250,000 heart surgery in the United States costs approximately US$15,000 in India, including airfare and accommodations. As a result, a number of major U.S. insurance agencies and provider companies are offering coverage for a range of medical procedures performed internationally. It is easy to imagine how this could lay the foundation for a growing treatment alternative and possibly, depending on variables such as the future of Medicare and the concept of universal coverage, a sea change in the U.S. healthcare industry.

Going abroad for inexpensive medical care sounds like a great solution upon first inspection, but there are possible perils:

Important factors such as hospital reporting, medical residency requirements, the use of evidence-based medical guidelines, and even pharmaceutical nomenclature vary worldwide, and so a critical component remains unsolved: how to standardize the way patients, providers, and payers assess and manage the risks associated with this new medical frontier.

Learn more in Lisa’s recent article.

Medical tourism holds promise, risk

Today, the New York Times picked up on an increasingly popular narrative: the cost-driven move to pursue cross-border care (a.k.a. “medical tourism”). Cross-border care has received much attention for its savings potential. For example, from the Times article:

Mr. Schreiner is what’s known in the health care world as a “medical tourist.” No longer covered under his former employer’s insurance and too young to qualify for Medicare, Mr. Schreiner has a private health insurance policy with a steep $10,000 deductible. Not wanting to spend all of that on the $14,000 his operation would have cost stateside, he paid only $3,900 in hospital and doctor’s bills in Costa Rica.

The concept may be compelling, but there are risks. Health consumers are still limited in their ability to compare quality of care in different countries, though sound evidence is emerging. Lisa Beichl, international healthcare expert with the Milliman Care Guidelines, discusses this dynamic in a recent issue of Health Perspectives.