Costa Rica Medical Tourism News – Some companies in the U.S. are paying all of the expenses related to sending their workers overseas for medical procedures in an effort to save money on the healthcare benefits they offer. Could this be the new face of healthcare?
One person benefiting from such an option is a 39-year-old mother of two from North Carolina who needs a gastric sleeve surgery. With a family history of diabetes and heart trouble, this surgery could save Joy’s life. The problem is that even though she has insurance, on her $28,000 a year salary she can’t afford the roughly $3,000 in out of pocket costs that would have to be paid personally. She has put off the surgery as to not wipe out her family’s savings right before Christmas.
Her company gave her a viable option that saves everyone money. She is on her way to Costa Rica where she has a ten day, all expenses included, stay in a 4 star resort to prepare and recover from her operation. Joining her is a fellow coworker, Gary. He is going for a knee replacement at the same private hospital. While he was prepared to have to deal with knee pain because of the cost of the procedure, he is glad to have this option. It means he will be able to do more of what he wants to do during his retirement and without slowing his wife down.
They both did their research and found out that their doctors are fully trained and even did some additional courses in the U.S.A. The director of benefits for HSM Solutions, Tim Isenhower, explained that the U.S. has some of the highest costs and highest error rates in the world. He also explained that the incentive offered by his company comes with a private hospital room and a personal assistant to be your friend and translator the whole time. After the procedure you get a nurse to come once a day to check on you at the hotel. He expects that once Obamacare goes into effect the number of medical tourists will skyrocket as individuals and companies look to reduce costs. To date, an average of 1 million Americans go abroad as medical tourists annually.
Joy’s friend called her a “lucky dog” because she gets a paid vacation and to be relieved of her health concern for free. Joy was a little nervous, but glad that the company lets you back out at any time. Gary was happy to use the cell phone they provided for him to keep in touch with his wife.
A reporter followed them and saw that much of the equipment used was made in the U.S. A partial knee replacement device costs $45,000 in the States and only $3,000 in Costa Rica, though it’s from the same company.
The last benefit is that when the patients return home they receive a check for $2,500 because the company shares a percentage of the savings with them.
So as the government places Obamacare into effect in the USA tonight, Costa Rica’s medical tourism business is celebrating the dawn of a new age. Expect the medical tourist numbers to jump by at least 50% as Obamacare is fully instated in the USA.