Middlemen take uncertainty out of medical tourism

Medical tourism has become one of our favorite topics here at FierceHealthcare. In the past several months, we've reported on several instances of Americans going outside the country to receive medical care that is comparable--and far less expensive--than what they would get in the states. Those without insurance, or patients interested in elective or cosmetic surgery, are the most likely to head abroad, where they can pay a fraction of the price.

But with medical tourism comes obvious medical and legal risks. And though middlemen usually get a bad rap, this is one time when patients would be wise to consult with an outside expert rather than trying to go it alone. "In the United States, several small companies have sprung up to act as middlemen, helping U.S. consumers find doctors abroad," notes the Miami Herald. These companies help patients work within a recommend network of doctors and hospitals. They also vet patients to make sure they're not too ill for the journey, or that they're not overly-ambitious with their cosmetic surgery. Perhaps due to their intervention, the number of bad outcomes from overseas medical treatment has declined in the last several years.