Hospitals and brokers both areslowly coming to understand that bundling services and providingdirect contracting can help hold the line on costs, attractingpatients and employers. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Medical tourism, a practice that showed great promise ten years ago, is drawingattention from employers again—but the focus is now on traveling inthe U.S. to high-quality, high-volume medical facilities.

Part one of this series looked at the history of medical tourism and how it wasaffected by the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010.This article will look at how the industry has adapted to changesin the marketplace, and how employers are once again experimentingwith the concept as a cost-saving measure.

Shifting the focus

The demand for traveling to surgical centers in other countrieswas growing a decade ago, when pre-existing condition clauses and otherinsurance exclusions meant that some Americans had to look outsidethe U.S. health system for certain medical procedures. Someemployers and insurers launched programs to cater to this market. Medical tourism companiessprang up, anticipating continued growth in demand.

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