Category Archives: Paralysis by Analysis

Medical Tourism and Workers’ Comp: What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

Happy New Year everyone!

For my first post of the year, I want to re-post an article published yesterday by my fellow medical tourism blogger, Maria Maldonado of Trip4Care.

Maria has written an excellent article outlining the benefits of medical tourism for an employer’s health plan, so naturally the same can be said for workers’ comp, especially with regard to self-insured or even opt-out employers.

Here is Maria’s article in its entirety:

Medical Tourism: A Component of Your Health Insurance Plan?

Given that medical tourism is an option chosen by many to get procedures not typically covered by insurance, it may come as a surprise that medical tourism is also something that is growing in popularity as an additional health insurance benefit—especially for self-insured companies. Let’s take a look at the reasons behind this trend.

Why Employers and Health Insurers Are Opting to Add Medical Tourism to their Health Plans

There are actually quite a lot of reasons why employers and health insurers alike are opting to add medical tourism benefits to their health plans. Let’s take a look at some of these:

  • The employer saves money. This is especially true for employers who opt to “self-insure” (i.e. the employer acts as an insurer, and pays the employee medical expenses rather than providing a separate insurance plan).
    • Since many procedures can be completed internationally for a fraction of the cost of the same procedure at home (even including the cost of travel), this is one of the biggest drivers behind the trend, for both self-insured organizations and other insurers.
  • The employees get more options. Giving employees additional benefits like this can be used as a recruiting tool, helping organizations to secure talent.
  • The employees have the choice to travel– possibly at no personal cost – for some treatments, and may be able to take a vacation at the same time. The option for coupling international travel with a medical treatment can be a major benefit for some employees.
  • Technology makes this process easier than in the past. With the wealth of information available at the click of a button today, it’s easier than ever to research the procedures that are available internationally and gain trust. Additionally, there are companies like Trip4Care that can facilitate all aspects of a medical tourism trip, making administration simple for the organization.
  • Employees do not sacrifice health outcomes. Naturally, companies who opt to take this route should take care to ensure to partner with companies offering the highest standard of care. In this way, everyone benefits and costs are kept low.
  • Keeping employer costs low also benefits the employee in the form of low premiums. It stands to reason that if costs are kept low throughout the group, there will be less rationale for premium price hikes. Another win-win.
  • Keeping costs low benefits, the employee through lower shared expenses too. Whether the healthcare plan’s coinsurance is 20%, 30%, or more, it all adds up. Keeping total expenses down for the patient is beneficial for everyone. Besides the obvious cost savings, this can reduce the stress involved for employees who have to seek medical care—reducing the financial burden can relieve some of the anxiety.
  • From an employer cost-savings standpoint, another option is to pass along the travel portion of the cost to the employee. This saves the company money while still keeping costs down overall. (Obviously this is lesser of a benefit for the employee, but the employee will often still come out ahead in terms of total expenditures as compared to having the procedure at home.)
  • Adding medical tourism coverage could make providing dental care more affordable. Dental procedures are a perfect example of a procedure that can often be sought internationally for less money than at home; employers offering dental coverage can take advantage of that.
  • Treatment wait times may be shorter. In cases where an employee may be subject to a lengthy wait list for a treatment at home, medical tourism options may give the flexibility to avoid that wait list and get treatment faster. This is yet another benefit for employees and employers alike.

Self-insured companies have the flexibility to do this right away. While this trend may take some time to take hold, it’s always great news to hear that more options will be available to more patients—allowing individuals to have more choices in their healthcare.

It has been pointed out in the past that doing this for either health care or workers’ comp is too complex and too costly; but as I have said many times before, we went to the moon more than once, and that was infinitely more complex and more dangerous than sending employees to another country for medical care.

I have defended my idea in the following posts:

The Faith of My Conviction: Integrating Medical Tourism into Workers’ Compensation is Possible and is not a Pipe Dream

Clearing the Air: My Defense of Implementing Medical Tourism into Workers’ Compensation

“We’re No. 1!”, NOT! — Why the US Health Care System is Not the Best in the World and Why Implementing Medical Tourism into Workers’ Comp Could Improve Outcomes

Why Medical Tourism for Workers’ Comp is an idea whose time has come

Tell Me Again Why Medical Tourism in Workers’ Comp is a Bad Idea?

Nothing is Impossible

Paralysis by Analysis: Or the Only Thing We Have to Fear Is, Fear Itself

So when people tell me this idea is ridiculous and a non-starter, or that I have no credibility, or some other lame excuse why it won’t be considered, I go back to the points made in these seven articles above, and many others I have written that says it is possible. It’s just our lack of vision that makes it so.

The only things preventing it are the complexities of the health care or workers’ comp systems that are harming the systems, making them more expensive than they should be, people defending the status quo so that entrenched interests continue to game their respective systems to the detriment of the patient bases they service, and to those who would like to change them for the better.

We have seen this in our tax code, our politics, and many other facets of life. But it does not have to be that way. We can make things much simpler, but it requires employers, carriers and others to do so. Saying it can’t be done or it is too expensive only makes things worse.

We went to the moon; no one ever said it was too expensive to go, too complex to go, too dangerous to go. We went, and we went many times, but in the end, the naysayers and right-wing penny-pinchers who were really diverting that money into the pockets of the wealthy, shut down our space program, so that now we have to hitch rides on Russian rockets.

That’s what we get for saying it is too complex. That’s why the supercollider is in Europe and not in Texas. We have given up and given in. The world is changing, globalizing. Let’s not blow that too.

In other words, what’s good for the health care goose, should be good for the workers’ comp gander.

Here’s is the link to Maria’s article:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/medical-tourism-component-your-health-insurance-plan-maria-maldonado

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Too Many Cooks

We are all familiar with the old adage, “Too many cooks spoil the broth”.

Whether we are preparing a meal, or thinking outside the box in order to help employers to save money, the way benefits are provided, whether as group health under employee benefit plans, or as workers’ comp benefits, proves the adage true, time and again.

In my conversations with various individuals in the health care and workers’ comp industries, I have found that there are always too many cooks spoiling the broth of both employee benefits and workers comp insurance.

Yet, despite all reason and analysis of the various ills that plague the American health care system, and the workers’ comp system, there seems to be no end of fingers and hands in the pot.

Surely, none of us would want to go to a restaurant knowing that the food we just ordered had passed through the hands of a half a dozen or more, “cooks”.

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece titled, “Paralysis by Analysis: Or the Only Thing We Have to Fear Is, Fear Itself,” in which I said that that there are dozens of reasons (or maybe they are excuses) given by various individuals I have conversations with, as to why medical travel is not feasible or even profitable.

I also said that we stop doing things once we analyze it to death; or, to put it another way, overthink about something to the point of paralysis, either out of fear or as the point of this article, too many cooks are spoiling the broth.

But does it have to be that way?

No, it doesn’t, but that does not matter, at least not to the cooks. They will always find a way to put their fingers in the soup, put their hand on the scale, add too much spice, and underestimate the feasibility of trying a new recipe.

So rather than stepping out of the kitchen altogether, and leave the chef to doing the cooking, and leave the patron to eat the meal, they prevent the cooking process to go forward.

In my writing, I never said I had all the answers, but at least I don’t overthink or overanalyze the issue to the point of paralysis.

But I do see the need to bring in those who get it, and want to add some flavor to the broth, so that not only will the chef be happy with the meal, so too will the person who eats it.

I just don’t like too many cooks, that’s all.

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I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com.

Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, check out my website, FutureComp Consulting, and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com. Share this article, or leave a comment below.

Paralysis by Analysis: Or the Only Thing We Have to Fear Is, Fear Itself

Having now written this blog for more than two and a half years, I find that when I discuss the issue of medical travel, either for workers’ comp or for general health care, that there are dozens of reasons (or maybe they are excuses) given by various individuals I have conversations with, as to why medical travel is not feasible or even profitable.

Being an intelligent, well-educated person, I know that this country has put men and women into orbit, landed on the Moon, and have sent unmanned space crafts to every single planet and planetoid in our system, as well as sent two probes out of the solar system and into deep space.

And yet, as complicated as these space missions were, no one ever said it was impossible, no one ever said it would never work, no one ever said it was not profitable, and no one ever said there was no incentive in it for this one or that one, etc., ad infinitum.

However, that is not the case with medical travel. There always seems to be some kind of reason, some kind of caveat, and some kind of negative excuse given against this idea. And mostly, it concerns what some lawyer would do to an employer, or other entity that puts the fear of a lawsuit or economic ruin if this were to be attempted.

But it is not just lawyers who are at fault here for the fear that I am sensing. Laws and regulations designed to deal with all aspects of the health care and benefits fields, not to mention the statutes and regs in workers’ comp, are to blame for what a career counselor I knew years ago here in Florida, used to tell unemployed people at the weekly workshop.

He was a retired engineer, and in his field, they talked a lot about “paralysis by analysis”, and how we stop doing things once we analyze it to death. This was true in the engineering field, and is true in doing a job search, and even implementing medical travel into either health care or work comp.

We are so used to being afraid of doing new things, we are so afraid of doing something different and out of the norm, that one has to wonder why any of us get out of bed in the morning, or leave the house for that matter, fearing that something terrible is going to happen.

As pertains to medical care, of course bad things can happen. They can happen in the hospital across town, or on the way to the hospital, but we don’t avoid it because of what might happen. The same is true for medical travel. The same complications and negative outcomes can occur here that they are afraid of might happen over there.

Then there is the legal liability excuse. Damn, if I had to worry about legal liability, I would not take my car out of the garage.

And here again, we come back to the issue of lawyers and lawsuits, etc. As many of you may know, my father died last September, and since then, and earlier that year, we had to deal with lawyers to handle family matters in the event one or both of my parents passed away.

The first lawyer we used is the best friend of my first cousin, and was the person who drew up several legal documents for my parents in the past. The second lawyer was referred to me by the first lawyer after my father died, and I was using him up until April, when my brother decided to go with someone who was referred to him by a fourth lawyer he sat next to on the plane to Miami when my brother came for a short visit.

I have known many lawyers in my life, as no doubt many of you have, and on the whole, they are not a bad lot. But some of them are just out for the money and to prevent progress on a whole range of fronts, including health care and workers’ comp.

I have worked for and under two lawyers in my career in claims. Both of them did not leave me with a good feeling for insurance lawyers, so when I hear that employers are afraid to consider medical travel to save money on expensive surgeries, or that some large organization in the labor world might sue an employer or a union, because benefits are negotiated in collective bargaining agreements, then it tells me that people are afraid that it might work.

Instead, the lawyers force employers and insurers to spend more money because it is in a contract, or they want to use American medical providers, etc.; when it has been clearly proven that ours is the most expensive health care system in the world.

FDR said in his first inaugural address that the only thing we have to fear is, fear itself. It would seem that in the case of medical travel, it is not fear itself we fear. We fear lawyers and lawsuits, we fear what others might say or do, we fear that employees will like to go abroad because the care is better, we fear that employers will save money which rightfully belongs to those who are profiting from the status quo, and most importantly, we fear that we aren’t the best in everything, except in self-delusion and in paralysis by analysis.

We can do better.

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I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com. Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp. Connect with me on LinkedIn and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com. Share this article, or leave a comment below.