Price not greatest concern in medical travel

Although the price difference between procedures performed in the United States and in developing countries might suggest that U.S. payers could gain if they extend their coverage to include treatments abroad, there are a number of factors holding back the flood of medical travelers.

They include the inaccessibility of networks of providers in some medical-travel destinations, the lack of sufficient transparent worldwide data on the quality of health care, the inconvenience of travel, and the desire to undergo medical procedures in familiar settings. The findings are published in a report issued by McKinsey called “Mapping the Market for Medical Travel.” The report also says that most medical travelers seek high quality and faster service, not lower costs.

“If U.S. payers embrace medical tourism, within three to five years, medical tourism will grow substantially,” says Paul D. Mango, a McKinsey director and coauthor of the report. “The medical tourism market, without the U.S. involved, is stable at best and vulnerable at worst.” Medical travelers from the United States report that they would consider “receiving treatment abroad if it saved them at least $10,000, after accounting for treatment and travel costs,” says Mango.

Opportunity for payers

If payers covered medical travel, the potential U.S. market would probably range from 500,000 to 700,000 patients a year, compared to 5,000 to 10,000 today. The report suggests that if this were the case, the savings might be on the order of $20 billion.

Source: The McKinsey Quarterly, May 2008

Career Opportunities

HAP, a subsidiary of Henry Ford Health System, is a nonprofit health plan providing coverage to individuals, companies and organizations. This executive develops strategies to meet membership and revenue targets through products, pricing, market segmentation and advertising.  Aligns business among Business Development, Commercial Sales, Medicare and Public Sector Programs and Product Development. Seeks to enhance and be responsible for business development and expansion through the development of an effective product portfolio, strong interpersonal relationships and service excellence.

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