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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
Date:4/8/2009

xecutive 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 Hum
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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
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