As healthcare costs in the West continue to skyrocket, it is not unthinkable that insurance companies would provide corporate-sponsored plans (across industries — including financial services) that provide incentives for patients to utilize medical tourism. For example, an insurance company may provide 90% coverage for an open-heart surgery in India (leaving the patient to pay $870 out of pocket) or 80% coverage for an open heart surgery in the U.S. (leaving the patient to pay $6,000 out of pocket).
Medical tourism could generate $2 billion annually by 2012, according to a report that appeared on the Indian Web site Medindia.com. In 2006, almost 500,000 people from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Australia and other countries came to India for medical procedures. To promote medical tourism, the Indian government introduced a new category of a medical visa for foreigners who visit the country for the purpose of medical treatment.
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