So why are the Big Health insurers against Canadian style Health insurance?

The following story was posted in AP News today. My question is if insurers don't want an Obama Healthcare System that is socialized and a far cry from the "Best medical system in the world", then why are insurers content to send the insured overseas for "knee-replacements" and "heart... show more The following story was posted in AP News today. My question is if insurers don't want an Obama Healthcare System that is socialized and a far cry from the "Best medical system in the world", then why are insurers content to send the insured overseas for "knee-replacements" and "heart by-pass" operations? I'm for Obama's plan and KEEPING AMERICAN JOBS HERE !!! (i.e. doctors, nurses and support staff). Screw the insurance companies as they have us for so long !


Insurers aim to save from overseas medical tourism

Costa Rican Dr. Luis Obando prepares to perform a root canal on Bill Jones, of Dallas, Texas, at Meza Dental Care in San Jose, Costa Rica. Jones said he elected to have the surgery in Costa Rica because he was able to save substantially compared to what he would have had to pay in the USA.
Enlarge image Enlarge By Kent Gilbert, AP
Costa Rican Dr. Luis Obando prepares to perform a root canal on Bill Jones, of Dallas, Texas, at Meza Dental Care in San Jose, Costa Rica. Jones said he elected to have the surgery in Costa Rica because he was able to save substantially compared to what he would have had to pay in the USA.

COSTS, SAVINGS

Medical tourism trips offer steep savings, but they don't pack enough financial might to play a key role in President Obama's push to lower U.S. health care costs.

Medical travel cost U.S. health care providers about $5.1 billion in business in 2007, according to estimates by Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. While significant, that amounts to less than 1% of the $2.36 trillion spent on health care in the United States that year.

Medical tourism can yield savings of as much as 80% on some procedures compared to care in the United States. But traveling isn't for everyone and these trips are generally not an option for emergencies. A patient's willingness to travel for non-emergency care often depends on the savings at stake. With a low deductible and no incentives from an insurer or employer to travel, a patient may have little motivation to make a trip.

Any result from the Washington reform push is unlikely to affect medical tourism, Keckley said, because it won't lower costs enough to erase price gaps with foreign care providers.

By Tom Murphy, The Associated Press
Elizabeth Kunz left her dentist's office this spring with a mouth full of problems and no way to pay for them.

The South Carolina resident went out of her way, literally, to find a solution, which turned out to be in Central America. Her trip to the tropics is part of a health insurance experiment for trimming medical costs: overseas care.

As Washington searches for ways to tame the country's escalating health care costs, more insurers are offering networks of surgeons and dentists in places like India and Costa Rica, where costs can be as much as 80% less than in America.

Until recently, most Americans traveling abroad for cheaper non-emergency medical care were either uninsured or wealthy. But the profile of medical tourists is changing. Now, they are more likely to be people covered by private insurers, which are looking to keep costs from spiraling out of control.

The four largest commercial U.S. health insurers — with enrollments totaling nearly 100 million people — have either launched pilot programs offering overseas travel or explored it. Several smaller insurers and brokers also have introduced travel options for hundreds of employers around the country.
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Growth has been slow in part because some patients and employers have concerns about care quality and legal responsibility if something goes wrong. Plus, patients who have traditional plans with low deductibles may have little incentive to take a trip.

But a growing number of consumers with high-deductible plans, which make patients pay more out of pocket, could make these trips more inviting.

In the meantime, the insurance industry's embrace of overseas care has had a pleasant side effect at home: some U.S. care providers are offering price breaks to counter the foreign competition.

This domestic competition and the slumping economy have led to slower growth for medical tourism over the past year, as patients put off elective procedures that involve big out of pocket costs, said Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

Last year, the center estimated that 6 million Americans would make medical tourism trips in 2010. But Keckley has since shaved that projection to about 1.6 million people. Still, that more than doubles the roughly 750,000 Americans who traveled abroad in 2007, the last year for which Deloitte had actual numbers.

Keckley expects the medical tourism industry to recover, as more health insur
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