Medical tourism in the eyes of insurance companies

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Yi Sam Yang (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site:
Lydia Gan

Abstract: : The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of issues that insurance companies face in the consideration of offering health plan for medical services abroad. In the health care sector, one of the most notable developments in recent years has been the rise of medical tourism. Medical tourism is the phenomenon that people are seeking health care outside their own country. Many researches on this phenomenon have primarily focused on the perspective of the individual patients and their motivation to go abroad, and on legal perspectives. This paper focuses on the perspective of the private insurance companies in their decisions to join the globalization of health care. Although many instances demonstrate potential for cost-saving when insurance companies offer their customers the options of having surgery abroad, a closer examination of other aspects of medical tourism shows that careful consideration is required in their decisions to offer such health plans. Apart from the rationale of cost-saving, other motivations such as increased demand, sufficient quality, supportive government policy and beneficial liability rules can be found. At the same time there are concerns about some disadvantages that may discourage insurance companies to join the bandwagon; these may include insecurity about the actual demand, risk costs like insecurity about quality and travel, and the question of ethics. The conclusion of the paper shows that medical tourism industry is too complex to assume that any insurance company can easily follow the development and even participate in it.

Additional Information

PURC Symposium 2011
Language: English
Date: 2011
Medical tourism, insurance, surgery

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