Smart HR teams have begun using medical tourism as an employee benefit. Medical tourism refers to traveling outside the state or country to get medical attention.
Jumping on this growing trend has helped many businesses cut medical expenses. In addition, employees love it because they love to travel.
Medical Tourism as an Employee Benefit Saves Money
In 2019, no country's inhabitants outspent those of the United States, in terms of health care expenses. Americans, on average, each spent $11,072 for medical costs that year.
Per capita expenses in all other countries, by contrast, came to fewer than five figures each. In fact, the numbers for people in most countries never topped even one half that spent by Americans.
In 2018, Americans shelled out some hefty premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance: $6,896 for single coverage and $19,616 for family coverage. Not only that, but the average premium for each, respectively, increased by 3 and 5 percent the next year.
The average worker with single coverage pays 18 percent of the premium cost. Meanwhile, those with family coverage pay 29 percent. That means that employers have been picking up the balance: 71 to 82 percent.
So, to stay afloat, American business administrators must find healthcare savings. Cost savings from medical tourism have spurred many HR teams to consider it as an option.
For example, savings estimates on foreign procedures vary from 20 to 90 percent. Meanwhile, for domestic options, Corporate Wellness magazine said, "Employers are catching on, realizing they can reduce costs by 20 percent to 40 percent - more than enough to cover travel expenses."
The cost of surgeries varies among states. That can make up for travel expenses to a different state, for joint replacement surgery.
By steering workers to facilities with high-quality care and lower prices, employers say they can reduce their costs 20 percent to 40 percent – more than enough to cover the travel expenses.
Kaiser Health News
Employers can provide benefits beyond health insurance through medical tourism. The lower costs allow them to fund procedures not covered by traditional insurance. For example, many employees appreciate travel opportunities for cosmetic or dental care.
Medical Tourism as an Employee Benefit
As businesses look for savings in health insurance costs, employees want more perks. For example, Millenials replacing Baby Boomers in the job market demand better benefits.
So, as business owners look for ways to reduce healthcare costs, they also have to find creative ways to increase employee benefits. Medical tourism provides solutions for both issues. In addition to generating costs savings, employees enjoy other benefits.
Benefits of Traveling for Healthcare
First of all, as the name implies, tourism comes as an obvious benefit. Employees get to travel, and they love travel benefits. By properly presenting the offer to travel for lower rates, they get a vacation bonus.
They have many options to help them enjoy a vacation as they relocate for medical procedures. For example, many patients can enjoy outpatient procedures in an enjoyable vacation environment. Arthroscopies, breast biopsies, burn excisions, cataract surgery, dental restoration, and gastric bypasses do not require overnight hospitalization.
Patients undergoing some of the less intense procedures may really appreciate having a few days off to relax on the beach or tour a city.
Travel itself is therapeutic. So, both employees and employers benefit by sending employees on trips for medical procedures.
Medical Tourism as an Employee Benefit: Local Therapy
In addition, medical tourists can enjoy local therapy opportunities. Some of these may be unavailable or too expensive near home. These include traditional Asian therapies, yoga, meditation, and massage.
Travel Boosts Morale
Providing travel accommodations and itineraries to employees can boost morale. To begin with, most people like to travel.
Employees also like knowing that their employer has already booked their hotel and flights. Instead of worrying about payments and logistics, they can focus on enjoyment. Such benefits, according to Forbes, lead "… to increased employee retention and higher rates of productivity."
Travel Relieves Stress
Also, everyone knows how travel helps relieves stress … a factor critical to a healthy recovery. Getting employees into the habit of traveling can help their long-term health and outlook on the job.
Employees returning from trips also enjoy greater motivation and prestige in the office. They enjoy telling coworkers about their trips, giving everyone a common point of interest. Employees who enjoy each other work better together.
Cultured Employees Contribute More
Finally, exposing employees to a new culture, whether a few states away or across the globe, helps them grow. They come back to work after having seen the world from a new perspective. Cultured employees can contribute more to work by sharing new insights.
Think About Medical Tourism
More and more businesses have adopted medical tourism in recent years. As healthcare costs continue to soar in the U.S., employers see this as an important opportunity to save money and incentivize employees, making for a better workplace. An experienced insurance broker can tell you how to use medical tourism as an employee benefit to fit into your business's healthcare coverage.