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Reducing Costs, Not Care: Medical Travel to New Zealand Can Help Alleviate Rising U.S. Healthcare Expenses for Insurers and Self-funded Employers

Medtral New Zealand offers complete medical travel packages for North American patients seeking a viable, safe alternative to expensive healthcare treatment.

Long Beach, Calif. (PRWEB) April 8, 2009 -- With U.S. health costs expected to rise 5.5 percent reaching a staggering 2.5 trillion this year, health insurers, self-insured employers, groups and individuals are more than ever seeking to reduce expenses without sacrificing viable care or access to services.

Part of the solution to controlling escalating health costs in the U.S. could lie with the growing trend of medical travel. By the end of last year, more than 750,000 Americans had traveled for medical treatment, and the global recession is expected to generate even more interest in the practice this year.

Medtral New Zealand provides a complete medical travel package for North American patients - including airfare, hospital stay, treatment, staff, accommodations aftercare and a contingency insurance policy to cover the small risk of an adverse event - all at a fraction of what it would cost in the U.S. for the equivalent procedure.

Medtral New Zealand offers top-notch medical care and world-class non-acute surgical treatment in an English speaking, first world country. The hospitals employed by Medtral are all internationally accredited and adhere to stringent quality standards equivalent to those in the U.S.

"We are able to offer equivalent services at substantially lower costs than the U.S. because our overheads are much lower and the cost structures in our medical system are very different to those in the U.S.," said Edward Watson, MD, Medtral's executive chairman and founder.

Watson said they have been in discussions with large insurance companies that are seeking to reduce costs. In the past year, Medtral has signed partnership deals with Pinnacle Health, a Boston-area preferred provider organization providing healthcare services to self-funded employers, and California-based Global Medical Conexions, a leader in the self-funded group health field.

The potential financial savings medical travel offers large health insurers and self-insured health funds is enormous when considering the striking cost differences in health procedure costs between the U.S. and New Zealand. For example, a mitral heart valve replacement that can cost up to $140,000 if done in the U.S., costs $24,500 in New Zealand. Other costs for common procedures Medtral provides include: hip replacement for $11,500 inclusive of high quality implants (U.S. price: $75,000-$100,000), robotic prostatectomy for $20,000 (U.S. cost: more than $100,000), a radical hysterectomy for $8,500 ($60,000 in U.S.) and coronary artery bypass for $22,500 compared with a U.S. price of $125,000. Even after adding airfares and accommodation costs to these procedure costs the total travel and treatment package costs provided by Medtral New Zealand often come out at around 30-40% of the equivalent procedure cost alone in the US

Additionally, with the recent currency exchange rate for New Zealand, medical procedures cost 15-20 percent less that they did several months ago.

"Our price includes everything not just the procedure," said Watson. "Other medical travel organizations operating in a first-world environment would be hard pressed to match our overall package."

New Zealand is certain to be a leader in medical travel destinations for Americans. This is hardly surprising with health costs expected to top $8,000 per person this year according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The New York-based Commonwealth Fund has identified New Zealand as having one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Furthermore, Watson stresses that the environment New Zealand offers medical travelers is underscored by some intriguing facts in the areas of crime and safety. These include:

  • In the recent Global Peace Index, New Zealand finished among the most peaceful countries at No. 4. The U.S. is ranked 97.
  • According to the Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends, New Zealand has a murder rate among the lowest in the world, ranking the 10th lowest out of 62 countries. The U.S. ranks 24th.
  • New Zealand also has low rates for the superbugs - MRSA and VRE as well as HIV. Its blood supply is considered among the safest in the world.

"New Zealand is sophisticated, diverse and multicultural, but it is the friendliness, honesty and openness of our people that will stay with you," added Watson. "We offer a clean, attractive, green, safe and peaceful and a political stable environment that promotes healing and offers excellent tourism opportunities."

Medtral New Zealand's services include joint replacement, hip resurfacing, cardiac surgery, robotic prostatectomy and more. Medtral was the first medical travel company to offer contingency insurance to cover the risk of major surgical complications.

About Medtral: Medtral New Zealand is the leading provider of medical travel in New Zealand for North American patients, providing world-class, non-acute care and treatment in some of the country's finest private hospitals. Headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, Medtral New Zealand ( can be reached at 1866-206-3582.


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