India: Solution to US Health Crisis

Uninsured find cheap, top-flight care there; your HMO could be next
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2008 2:32 PM CDT
A surgery is underway inside the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, parked at the Calcutta airport, February 17, 2005.    (DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)
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(Newser) – India is a top destination for uninsured Americans needing major surgery, the Chicago Tribune reports, with prices up to 85% lower than US rates. Last year, India welcomed 150,000 medical tourists, the Chicago Tribune reports—and now, HMOs want a piece of those savings. “Employers may soon follow in the footsteps of individuals,” a recent American Medical Association report concluded.

Procedures that would cost hundreds of thousands here cost tens of thousands there, and though there are risks—like weaker malpractice laws—care quality is generally high. “If you want to live, this is where you come,” said one satisfied patient. Already, several Fortune 500 companies are considering bonuses for employees willing to export their treatment.