Insurers Seek Savings By Offering Coverage For Care In Other Countries

More insurers are offering networks of doctors overseas and in other countries for their policyholders as a way to save money as lawmakers struggle with how to drive down costs, The Associated Press/USA Today reports.

"As Washington searches for ways to tame the country's escalating health care costs, more insurers are offering networks of surgeons and dentists in places like India and Costa Rica, where costs can be as much as 80% less than in America. Until recently, most Americans traveling abroad for cheaper non-emergency medical care were either uninsured or wealthy." But this profile is changing. "Now, they are more likely to be people covered by private insurers, which are looking to keep costs from spiraling out of control. The four largest commercial U.S. health insurers — with enrollments totaling nearly 100 million people — have either launched pilot programs offering overseas travel or explored it. Several smaller insurers and brokers also have introduced travel options for hundreds of employers around the country" (Murphy, 8/23).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.