Wellpoint soon will offer some medical travel benefits

  • Article by: CHEN MAY YEE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 13, 2008 - 9:16 PM

Would you get on a plane to India for surgery? What if your employer made it worthwhile?.

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dgb049Nov. 13, 08 9:05 PM

So we have these doc's who spent 10 yrs in med school, and maybe delayed a $1,000,000 dollars of income by paying all this tuition. Let's short circuit the system and ship the patients to a turd world country. This is why the economy is collapsing, we aren't supporting one another. Let's see you sue the Indian doctors if your surgery goes poorly. Wake up people!

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stego1962Nov. 13, 08 9:26 PM

This is outsourcing taken one step further. Not only are Indians coming here and taking jobs from Americans (I have seen it first-hand), we're now being sent over there for medical procedures. No wonder the American economy is such a mess. SUPPORT AMERICAN EMPLOYMENT!

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spooliesNov. 13, 08 9:42 PM

Medical care is participant in the Grand Greed-Off of the USA. I haven't had health insurance most of my 51 years, and can't afford the cash pay at the clinic. Surgery, completely out of the question, and it wouldn't matter if it were down the block or in India. Medical Care has to be a Not-For-Profit business before any procedure is available for any American in America.

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alexostNov. 13, 08 9:46 PM

This is a perfect example of two nations benefiting from international trade. If both parties did not feel they were better off with such a transaction, the transaction would not take place. As stated in the article, the consumer is taking it upon themselves to "short circuit" a dysfunctional domestic health-care (insurance) system. The silver lining in this innovative way to replace worn out joints etc. is that it gives the domestic health care insurance industry incentive to reduce costs thus increasing the availability of "outsourced" medical procedures. Sadly, many Americans think that isolationism is the answer to our economic problems when in fact isolationism actually causes economic problems. Lower cost medical procedures accomplished abroad will reduce medical insurance costs domestically which will benefit all Americans.

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mn_cameraNov. 14, 0812:47 AM

Thailand, Mexico, and other places are destinations for Americans seeking procedures they can't afford here as well. So we have an upper class that can afford anything, a middle class that may go elsewhere for a non-emergency procedure, and working class and below that will never see the benefit of anything like any of this. Truly a civilization to be proud of, isn't it? Health care is a basic human right and needs to be seen as such. And no, I don't give a damn if some of you right-wingers want to call me names. You're dead wrong and that's that. More, you support a system that will gladly let someone suffer or die if helping them isn't profitable enough. And none of that "they can always go to the emergency room" nonsense either. These are necessary, but non-emergency procedures being described in the article.

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holymooseNov. 14, 08 6:41 AM

The U.S. Health system has a lot of problems, but mostly they stem from the disconnect between the patient and the doctor. Doctors do not know how much they charge, and patients do not know how much they pay. Insurance gets in the way, along with poorly managed hospitals and the bloated bureaucracies of Medicare and Medicaid. Quality varies widely, and you are more likely to die from complications following surgery in many U.S. hospitals than in the best hospitals in Asia. The commentators are right that you probably cannot sue your doctor in foreign countries. Is that why we should have our surgeries here, so we can sue someone? Seems to me that is part of the problem, too. I say make medical tourism an option in every plan - if our health care system cannot compete on price or quality, and gives us cost increases every year at twice the rate of inflation, it does not deserve our patronage.

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Art15651Nov. 14, 08 9:23 AM

If you actuall read the article, it is obvious that the "insurer" in this case is Serigraph, not Wellpoint, since it is a self-funded plan. Wellpoint is simply administering claims completely in accordance with the wishes of Serigraph. Serigraph should be the one mentioned in the headline. Kudos to the marketing department at Wellpoint for getting their name mentioned in an article that people are intrigued to read. I'll bet all of the other insurance companies are saying, "Why didn't we think of that!".

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jtgarlandNov. 14, 08 1:22 PM

As noted above, the innovation is by Seriograph, with Wellpoint simply the administrator. It does highlight the huge difference in cost, but does not address issues such as followup care halfway around the world. Higher costs are due to many factors, but chief among them is the 20-30% extra we pay for the inefficiency of multiple, competing insurance carriers. Best way to eliminate most of that is to have a single risk pool for the nation, as with an improved classic Medicare for everyone. That government financed program still allows private delivery, with personal choices by patients and physicians. John T (Jack) Garland, MD retired endocrinologist Minneapolis MN USA

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JSASLUGSNov. 14, 08 1:30 PM

If all of your clients decided to outsource to a foreign country, maybe you would understand what is wrong with this picture.

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dgb049Nov. 14, 08 4:15 PM

There's an awful lot of office workers, shuffling papers - maybe we could scan all these documents, ship them to India, and have those people do the government workers job. No union, no retirement, no healthcare costs. Pay them $6 an hour. Imagine the savings!

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