Health Financing/Insurance

US insurers keen on Indian tie ups

Keen to take advantage of low-cost healthcare in India, US insurance firms are drawing up attractive medical tourism packages with Indian hospitals to facilitate travel and treatment for its citizens there. A few firms have already started offering 30-40 per cent discount on their annual health insurance premium for those going to India for treatment. Some are also adding tourism and shopping to their packages and arranging affordable accomodations for friends and relatives. Many of American insurers are setting up liaison offices in India so that it is easier for them to send their clients for major surgeries in India. The issue figured prominently during the first meeting of the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) of the US-India Trade Policy Forum held in New York in September. A cost comparison, makes it abundantly clear. While a coronary bypass surgery in the US costs $60,000, it costs a mere $6,600 in India. A single knee replacement costs at least $22,000 in the US, while it is $6,500 in India. A bone marrow transplant is $250,000 in the US, while Indian hospitals do it for $26,000. Rhinoplasty (nose job) costs $10,000 in the US, and just $2,000 in India. Even the common dental root canal treatment is a prohibitive $1,000 in the US and just $100 in India.Around 60 million people in the US do not have medical insurance. Even those who have it cannot afford the expensive surgical procedures.

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