Outsource your Medical Care

Another interesting turn in the ‘get it somewhere less expensive’ department:

MSNBC – India draws ‘medical tourists’
…Last year, an estimated 150,000 foreigners visited India for medical procedures, and the number is increasing at the rate of about 15 percent a year, according to Zakariah Ahmed, a health care specialist at the Confederation of Indian Industries.

Eager to cash in on the trend, posh private hospitals are beginning to offer services tailored for foreign patients, such as airport pickups, Internet-equipped private rooms and package deals that combine, for example, tummy-tuck surgery with several nights in a maharajah’s palace. Some hospitals are pushing treatment regimens that augment standard medicine with yoga and other forms of traditional Indian healing.

The article is about an individual who, when faced with a $200K bill for a heart valve replacement went to India to have the procedure for $10K, including airfare. Hard to argure with that.

My first thought was that ‘my job’s safe, good luck outsourcing your emergency care’. Then I realized, with enough of this, my hospital would close, and wouldn’t need an ER.

I wonder what kind of medmal they face in India. Heh.


  1. Justin Tsai says:

    I think the demand on EDs are pretty much fixed. If they outsource non-emergent, important procedures enough, what will probably happen is this:
    You have stand alone emergency clinics (heavily subsidized by the government), and maybe one or two major hospitals to do immediate interventional care per city, kinda like how we have tertiary and quatinary centers now. ED doc decides you need surgery NOW, you get stabilized and slapped on an ambulance to the nearest hospital proper. Non emergent stuff gets you a plane ticket to India. And if you require immediate surgical intervention for an aortic aneyurism or something? Well, you’re kinda f-ed there.

    So here’s the $64,000 question: If a patient is sent to India for an semi-elective procedure and something goes wrong, can the patient sue the insurance company? Cuz if they can sue and win, I don’t see insurance companies outsourcing medical procedures anytime soon…

  2. This is really an old story, “medical tourism” in Thailand has been popular for years for both traditional medical procedures as well as non-traditional procedures, i.e. a male manager of a large hotel went off on a sabbatical and came back as a ?her?.

    When I was living in Bangkok I loved my doctor and especially my dentist, both U.S. trained and working with state of the art equipment. Prices were incredibly cheap compared to the U.S. and the treatment were as professional as any I could expect to receive in the U.S.

    One of my coworkers developed a serious, but survivable, cancer and had over a year of repeated surgeries, in-patient treatments and chemo and his bill was less than $20K.

    Afterward, he return home to England, but returned a few years later after a re-occurrence. The social health system in England apparently put him on a 6 mos waiting list and he didn’t think he could wait that long.

    A few months of treatments (I don’t remember what it cost, but recall that I thought it was minimal) and he was good as new, or as good as could be.

    I heard he died a few years after that but don?t know what from (he was in his 70?s when he began treatment initially)

    I would not think twice about returning to Thailand for a procedure that my insurance wouldn?t pay for or if I was uninsured.

    India, on the other hand, does not instill confidence