Medical Tourism in America

From John C. Goodman’s new book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, we learn that there is, in fact, a medical tourism market in the United States. In fact, even Americans can partake in it:

Moreover, you do not have to be a foreigner to benefit from domestic medical tourism. Colorado-based BridgeHealth International offers US employer plans a specialty network with flat fees for surgeries paid in advance that are 15 percent to 50 percent less than a typical network. North American Surgery, Inc., has negotiated deep discounts with 22 surgery centers, hospitals and clinics across the United States as an alternative to foreign travel for low-cost surgeries. As noted, the “cash” price for a hip replacement in the network is $16,000 to $19,000, making it competitive with facilities in India and Singapore.

One reason why so little is known about the domestic medical tourism market is that hospitals prefer that most of their patients not know about it. The reason: they are often offering the traveling patient package prices not available to local patients. That occurs because the hospital is only competing on price for the patients who travel.

(via Alex Tabarrok)

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