Implementation of a Consumer Directed Global Healthcare Plan
Before promoting Global Health Care as a treatment option, plan sponsors need to consider the following issues:
Quality of Care
U.S. employers promoting Global Health Care should seek accredited and board-certified medical providers to reduce liability exposure. Nevertheless, plan sponsors need to keep in mind that medical treatment outcomes in the U.S. vary substantially across accredited hospitals. Studies show a wide variation in mortality and complication rates for accredited hospitals, even in the same city. So despite the best efforts to work with only “quality” medical providers, there will is always a risk of treatment complications.
Continuity of Care
Post-operative treatment should never be overlooked when planning a Global Health Care benefit package. Plan sponsors need to explore how patients can coordinate with a local physician for after-treatment care. American physicians may be reluctant to take clinical responsibility for patients when surgery is performed in another country. Complications may develop after the patient has been discharged and may require additional medical care.
The following factors are identified and applied as savings potential:
- Treatments exceeding $6,000 in the U.S. will show a positive cost to benefit analysis.
- Treatments must be elective and scheduled.
- Savings will be reduced by travel costs, any financial incentives to the patient, vendor fees, administrative costs, optional trip cancellation or complication insurance, and any companion travel expenses.
- A savings calculation cannot be applied to an entire group plan for every employee and procedure because there will be a limited initial acceptance by employees.
- Absenteeism may be increased related to the time required for pre-treatment evaluation and post-procedure recovery time.
A Global Health Care plan is a development of public perception in addition to a consumer-directed approach. Incorporating medical travel options to an existing health benefits program with education and wellness is the correct initial and long term approach to employee acceptance and perception.
A company needs to learn the difficult lesson that medical care should not be viewed as a commodity. A company can redesign its medical plan to financially reward covered members who seek a quality cost-effective alternative.