How Our Medical Tourism Price Estimator Work:-
a) Affordability is one of the driving forces behind Medical Tourism.
b) Exact pricing is one of the most difficult things to pin down even at Health Vacations.
c) Most hospitals don’t like to publish their prices online.
d)There are still numerous other factors that make it difficult to determine how much specific procedures actually cost in individual countries
• How advanced is your condition?
• How old are you?
• Will your operation require additional hospitalization?
• Will you need an interpreter?
• Will you require an escort to and from the hospital/airport?
• What is the current exchange rate between your currency and the local currency?
• Is it the busy season right now?
• Are you getting several procedures done at once?
• Is this a premiere hospital?
• Is this a large medical facility or a private practice?
• Are you booking this procedure through a medical tourism company?
• Is this medical facility in a major city or in a more rural setting?
Dynamic, Ongoing Process
- Even the best pricing estimates will eventually become obsolete unless they are constantly updated. Thus, we constantly seek new ways to keep our information as up-to-date as possible.
- As we accept more partners around the world, we are able to incorporate more accurate data.
- We never stop scouring the Internet for additional pricing points.
- As everyone is familiar with health care accounting and finance knows, the relationship between the price charged and the payment that a provider will accept is quite variable. Providers routinely accept discounted payments from Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance plans. And many providers are actually willing to accept payments of less than posted charges from self-pay patients. To get this kind of a deal a patient (or family member) must ask for such before having treatment and must be willing to commit to reasonable terms and a clear payment arrangement. Furthermore, a physician or hospital will be much more agreeable to this arrangement if a patient makes a meaningful deposit at the time terms are discussed.
- If someone needs hip replacement surgery and decides to go to India or Costa Rica, analysis suggests that overall savings are about 75%.
- The pricing issue can be handled with the concept of ‘price banding’ to provide consistent prices for different therapies and surgeries, which must be legalized by the government, along with accreditation.
- Additionally, hospitals can get certified on limiting high charges to foreigners as part of a dual pricing-system while offering lower prices to domestic patients.
- Advertising health tourism must be done in a more professional way by the doctors visiting foreign countries, tourist companies, foreign travel agents, and international websites of government tourism. These strategies can minimize the issues of transparency and create a positive picture about the quality standards in the minds of foreign visitors.
- In recent years a number of factors have caused the beginnings of a change in the view of price as a key part of the overall marketing mix. These factors include :
- A continued growth in the number of consumers with no health insurance (though many of these individuals are employed).
- A steady increase in the number of individuals covered by Consumer Directed Health Plans (HSA’s) and high deductible plans – both of which put much more financial responsibility on the enrollee.
- Changes in healthcare technology that have increased the level of direct to consumer services (laser eye surgery, complementary medicine, fast CT scans, etc.).
- An increase in the level of “medical tourism” – consumers traveling overseas to well qualified facilities in Thailand, Singapore, India, etc. The primary motivator for this medical tourism is the cost – sometimes only 25% of the cost of the same service in the United States.
- Consumer research across the United States that shows that an average of 15% of consumers (with a range of 8% to 24%) have “price shopped” a health care service in the year prior to the survey. This level increases among younger adults, who are more likely to have no insurance or a high deductible plan.
So what should hospitals and other providers be doing now to develop a more pro-active position toward the use of price as a marketing strategy? Some recommendations include:
- Get familiar with transparency and price issues in the health care field at a national and local level.
- Get a handle on local market factors – Level of working uninsured; level of employers offering high deductible plans; the degree to which consumers are price shopping for health services, etc.
- Get a handle on internal factors – How many price inquiries are coming in, where are they going to and how are they being handled. Are there any services that are “ready” for pricing strategies (e.g. – more retail/elective in nature).
- Get a handle on what the competition is doing – and not just other hospitals in your market.
- Examine opportunities to develop a more organized, strategic approach to using price as a marketing tool – is there a service that is “ready for prime time” and could be a candidate for a more pro-active pricing approach? Is it time to develop an on-line price information tool?