More and more US companies are offering their workers health plans with the option of traveling to a Latin American country for medical treatment, as unveiled today during the “Latin American Health Tourism Summit” held in Los Angeles.
The manager explained that the rise of medical tourism is due, among other factors, to the implementation of Obamacare. The presidential health program increased the pressure on corporations and generated additional costs for these, which forced them to seek cheaper alternatives and to look abroad.“Five percent of US employers are offering their employees medical tourism plans. The growth in two years of these programs has been exponential,“ said Massimo Manzi, executive director of the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rican Medicine (PROMED), in an interview with EFE.
“There are medical programs that encourage employees to travel to Costa Rica or Latin America for care. Travel expenses are covered by the employer, the surgery also, and there is no copayment or deductible like there would be in the United States,” said Manzi.
Some companies go so far as to issue a check to workers who help to “save money” by choosing treatments in another country.
Costa Rica’s Ambassador to the United States Román Macaya, who attended the summit, told EFE that several US companies have already chosen Costa Rica as a medical destination for the high quality of healthcare services offered.
“Not having an army has allowed us to invest in education and health for decades. We have excellent, highly skilled professionals who offer quality medical services,” said the diplomat.
The summit has about 500 participants from 15 countries and is led by “The Latino Coalition” (TLC), a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles.
TLC executive director, Hector Barreto, said the demand for medical tourism will increase in the future to meet the needs of the growing Latino community.
“Employees will prefer to go to a country they know – and which is perhaps even their country of origin – for treatment because they are more familiar with the culture, and this can end up saving thousands of dollars,” said Barreto