Beyond Incentives – Seven Strategies to Drive Utilization of Your Medical Travel Benefit Plan

Beyond Incentives – Seven Strategies to Drive Utilization of Your Medical Travel Benefit Plan

Medical Travel Benefits

You may have noticed that many U.S. employers are investigating whether they can reduce health care expenses by using medical travel. But how does this work? Can your business reduce healthcare costs by using foreign providers? The answer is complicated.

Medical travel is the practice of patients receiving care for certain procedures in foreign countries. Medical travel professionals have built networks of distinguished providers in India, Costa Rica, Singapore and Thailand who are accredited and serving American patients. These providers offer the same procedures by similarly qualified surgeons at state of the art hospitals for 30% to 50% off of negotiated in the U.S.

Employers and medical travel professionals are putting their heads together to design health plans that allow employees to travel for care and save. The employers who are embracing medical travel generally either go at it alone or collaborate with a medical travel company to design a benefit add on. Medical travel companies and other industry experts have a lot of experience and expertise to contribute to this process and should be consulted while building a medical travel benefit.

Here’s why. Medical travel experts generally focus on financial incentives to drive utilization of foreign providers. However, your business will see better results if you invest early in the process to understand the employee population. By analyzing your employee demographics and understanding health consumer behavior, you can design a plan that connects with your target beneficiary group and changes their behavior.

The Anatomy of a Medical Travel Benefit Package

Health care consumers, both individuals and groups, are demanding competitive prices, more transparency and better quality care. Beneficiaries and patients have become health care consumers. The movement is called consumer-driven health care. Employers that offer health benefits are responding to this phenomenon with packages that let beneficiaries to take greater responsibility for their care and consumption decisions.

Global health benefits (as it is referred to by some in the industry) generally follow the health care consumerism model of high deductibles, behavior-inducing co-payments, and a health savings account. Global health benefits go one step further and offer financial incentives for patients who travel abroad for certain procedures.

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