Medical tourism is doesn't necessarily mean hopping on a plane to Costa Rica for a knee surgery anymore; when the price of care in their neighborhood is too high, recession weary patients are travelling much shorter distances to be treated. Julie Appleby writes for Kaiser Health News and USA Today, describing the phenomenon.

"By steering workers to facilities with high-quality care and lower prices, employers say they can reduce their costs 20 percent to 40 percent — more than enough to cover the travel expenses," Appleby writes. "Employers with domestic travel programs say they save money in part by negotiating a single rate, which includes the fees for surgeons, anesthesiologists and all medical care up until the patient is discharged," she added.

Domestic medical travel is especially popular among large employers, she writes, who are often self-insured.

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