As per a story in NYT, Wellpoint, a big health insurer in US, is testing a new program that provides patients the option of going to India for medical surgery. The plan includes no out of pocket expenses for the patient and includes free travel for the patient and a companion.
The cost savings are just too big to ignore – knee surgery that costs about $70k in the US costs around $8k in India.
For those who are familiar with it, it wont shock them when I say that the health sector in the US is pretty darn screwed up. Wait times to get an appointment with a family doctor can run into several months. For specialists, the case is even worse. Several people of Indian origin have already been doing this — visiting India for major medical procedure, assuming that its a non emergency medical situation.
This is big news for startups and entrepreneurs in the field of medical tourism. Hopefully, other insurers also start testing out such programs and who knows, medical tourism in India might witness a huge boom.