Paper-mill technician Carl Garrett has volunteered to be a guinea pig for a program that his company hopes will save thousands of dollars in medical expenses. He needs to have two surgeries but rather than having them in the U.S. and pay $100,000, he'll travel to India where he can have the procedures done for only $20,000. Because he's saving his company thousands of dollars, he'll get a share of that savings as well as a two-day tour of the country before his surgery.
Last year, 150,000 "medical tourists" traveled abroad for inexpensive medical procedures. As patients and employers (particularly small business owners) struggle with sky-high healthcare costs, they're looking overseas to countries such as India, Thailand, and Indonesia that offer medical procedures at a fraction of the price. Thus far, medical tourism has been confined mostly to patients undergoing surgery, most often cosmetic surgery. Only a few hundred have had serious procedures abroad. But The Christian Science Monitor observes that Carl Garrett is moving beyond medical tourism into a new trend of global healthcare. Critics say that such programs are dangerous since malpractice laws are limited in other countries and traveling after surgery is stressful for the patient. But for many smaller companies struggling under the weight of medical coverage, providing healthcare overseas might be the only feasible option.
- read this article from the Christian Science Monitor