Here is a comment from a plan administrator in California that is so positive about medical tourism, that I had to share it with the blog readers and with those who read my posts from LinkedIn.
I administer a plan serving farmworkers, mostly in California, predominantly Mexican and Mexican American, predominantly Spanish speaking. We have long used providers of medical and dental services and some pharmacy services on the border in Mexico at negotiated rates well below US rates. One thing I noticed a couple of years ago – at a large travel convention in Los Angeles next to the meetings I attended there were two booths – one from Mexicali Tourism Board or Bureau and another from Tijuana. Both had several hotels – on both sides of the border promoting that they would provide transportation to and from various medical facilities – in other words, the medical providers and the lodging businesses were allied in promoting medical tourism to their respective areas. Later at a meeting in Palm Desert I ended up sitting next to a woman representing hotels in the Palm Springs area and suggested she may want to talk with the providers in her area about a similar marketing promotion. I agree that obtaining more transparent pricing from providers is critical – but it really is not that difficult to negotiate – at least with the Mexico based providers we have dealt with. My dominant population often prefers to travel to Mexico just for medical services – partly for the financial savings but also for “peace of mind” reasons – the providers speak the language, may have served them or family and/or friends in the past and there is a much greater sense of ease in such circumstances. I think US employers will find it worth the time to consider medical tourism options.