Medical tourism used to be Americans free lancing their procedures in a foreign country with many unknowns—except that it would be cheaper than healthcare in the US.
GDP Advisors co-founder Seth Denson explained there are two types of medical tourism. Offshore medical tourism is a way for employers to manage the supply chain of healthcare by sending patients to places like Mexico, Turks, Caicos and Cayman Islands to receive a treatment at a negotiated bundled price.
"Oftentimes, this treatment is actually performed by American doctors who will in turn fly to these countries because the cost of delivering that care is so much lower and they don't have to deal with all the insurance red tape that they would here in the United States," said Denson.
The other type, onshore, is done through different hospital systems throughout the United States where doctors perform a procedure better than any other place because they're specialized.
He said businesses go offshore for the buy various goods from other countries for a lower cost, now it's happening in healthcare.
"Many employers are looking as to where they can get care at a lower cost. They're effectively managing the supply chain of healthcare. And, one way of doing that is medical tourism," said Denson.
He said more employers are turning to self-funding where they pay the claims out of their own pocket, but use an insurance company to process claims on the back end.
Denson added the medical tourism trend will continue as more employers realize the true cost of healthcare system and a need new ways to manage their costs.
He warned if patients go offshore, make sure it's part of a health plan that can be covered under an insurance in case of complications.