Health Trend: Out of Town Surgery

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – What happens if your in-network health care provider can’t handle that gall-bladder procedure or knee surgery at a price you and your plan can afford?

As with some other expenses, you may need to take the planes, trains and automobiles approach to get a good deal and have your medical care taken care of. One company, BridgeHealth Medical, Inc. is helping consumers do just that.

The company, based in Greenwood Village, Colo., provides what you might call “brokered” mobile medical care.

BridgeHealth Medical works at getting you the best price on your surgery or other medical procedure, whether it will be performed locally or out of town. The company “partners” with hospitals and urgent care centers to locate the most cost-effective medical center for your needs, so if the facility happens to be out of town, Bridgeport will step in and assist with the travel needed to reach an out-of-the-area hospital.

According to BridgeHealth, by linking up with a “medical travel facilitator” companies can accomplish the following:

•    Save 30% – 50% per case, so instead of spending $45,000 for knee replacement, the cost of operation through medical travel facilitators is $20,000.

•    Choose from a selection of top quality providers both in the U.S. and abroad.

•    Obtain medical services provided by a program with superior quality results: fewer surgical complications and returns to surgery, as well as lower rates of post-surgical infection.

These are significant benefits. If BridgeHealth can do what it claims, consumers would benefit from lower health insurance costs (many insurers will waive premiums when a customer travels for a less costly procedure), as would employers and health insurance companies.

And most major medical procedures are covered under “mobile” medical care, not just the simple ones:

•    Heart bypass and valve surgery
•    Heart pacemaker and defibrillator placement
•    Knee and hip joint replacement
•    Shoulder reconstruction and other major orthopedic procedures
•    Spinal fusion and spinal decompression
•    Laparoscopic prostate surgery
•    Tumor treatment
•    Weight-loss surgery

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