Sunday, August 4, 2013

Medical Tourism May Lead to Massive Savings


 My opinion: I think this story indicates that healthcare in America is indeed overpriced for absurd reasons, and at many levels.  It's not just the doctors' fees that are high, but the price of a joint in America costs the same as the entire procedure abroad, including travel expenses.  Though there are indeed legitimate reasons for price hikes in healthcare, such as the research needed for new inventions, perhaps the healthcare industry has taken advantage of this.  Now, to help deal with the costs, medical tourism companies are sprouting up throughout America to help individuals get affordable care abroad.  Given the proximity of both Canada and Mexico, it is possible that healthcare in these countries will be booming if such tourism companies take off.  But I also am wondering if the article is misleading.  Aren't there some doctors who cost less, as well as surgical parts?  Also, is it possible to have these synthetic body parts purchased in Europe for a lower price and then shipped to America?  And will Americans start focusing more on emergency health procedures that are more immediate, as patients cannot take the time to travel elsewhere for this kind of care?  Feel free to comment.


Dr. Rory Wright, an orthopedist, displays two modern hip joint options at the Orthopedic Hospital of Wisconsin in Glendale, Wis. Wright says joint makers in the U.S. keep prices high “because they can,
Dr. Rory Wright, an orthopedist, displays two modern hip joint options at the Orthopedic Hospital of Wisconsin in Glendale, Wis. Wright says joint makers in the U.S. keep prices high “because they can," not because of research and development or liability costs.
Narayan Mahon / New York Times News Service

Implant costs drive medical tourism

By Elisabeth Rosenthal / New York Times News Service
Published: August 04. 2013 4:00AM PST WARSAW, Ind. — Michael Shopenn’s artificial hip was made by a company based in this remote town, a global center of joint manufacturing. But he had to fly to Europe to have it installed.
Shopenn, 67, an architectural photographer and avid snowboarder, had been in such pain from arthritis that he could not stand long enough to make coffee, let alone work. He had health insurance, but it would not cover a joint replacement because his degenerative disease was related to an old sports injury, thus considered a pre-existing condition.
Desperate to find an affordable solution, he reached out to a sailing buddy with friends at a medical device manufacturer, which arranged to provide his local hospital with an implant at what was described as the “list price" of $13,000, with no markup. But when the hospital’s finance office estimated that the hospital charges would run another $65,000, not including the surgeon’s fee, he knew he had to think outside the box.
“Very leery" of going to a developing country like India or Thailand, which both draw medical tourists, he chose to have his hip replaced in 2007 at a private hospital outside Brussels for $13,660.
That price included not only a hip joint, made by Warsaw, Ind.-based Zimmer Holdings, but also all doctors’ fees, operating room charges, crutches, medicine, a hospital room for five days, a week in rehab and a round-trip ticket from America.

From: http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20130804/NEWS0107/308040395/

No comments:

Post a Comment