Obamacare Increasing Medical Tourism

This year will see a huge increase in Americans seeking medical care outside of the United States due to the changes in insurance plans driven by President Obama’s signature healthcare reform law. In 2014, approximately one million Americans will travel abroad for health care services. Last year’s numbers totaled 750,000 people.

Dental procedures are the most frequently sought after foreign medical care. Coronary bypasses and bariatric operations are tied for second and cosmetic surgery ranks third. In fourth place is orthopedic procedures, most notably hip and knee replacements. These categories comprise about 82 percent of the procedures that are done out of the country.

Obamacare plans are the driver with their notoriously high deductibles ($10,000 in the bronze family plan). The new healthcare law has mandated so many changes to insurances that some procedures are simply no longer covered under employer insurance plans. This lack of coverage is what is driving more Americans to get those particular procedures done outside of the United States.

Due to location, Canada is the most popular place for Americans to seek medical care and they are likely to see more Americans over the years. Studies are showing that the exodus of Americans seeking medical care abroad is expected to increase 25 to 35 percent per year! Perhaps the most interesting trend is that some employers are not only picking up the cost for overseas health care, but may even add a cash bonus for the employee as an incentive. As we have seen time and again, the healthcare reform law in the United States is full of misaligned incentives.


Contact ABISA, a consultancy specializing in solo and small group practice management. Visit us at ABISALLC.com.

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