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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: May 5, 2009
WellPoint Introduces International Medical Tourism Pilot Program

WellPoint Inc.  launched a new international medical tourism pilot program that will allow members to access benefits for certain common elective procedures at designated facilities in India.

WellPoint’s affiliated health plan in Wisconsin  piloted the program with Serigraph Inc., a Wisconsin-based global provider of printed decorating solutions.

Under the pilot program, Serigraph members planning to undergo certain procedures can enjoy access to an extended network of respected hospitals and healthcare providers in India. By electing to use the international benefit, members can receive care at accredited facilities at lower out-of-pocket costs for common non-emergency procedures that could result in thousands of dollars in total savings.

The pilot program includes coverage of certain common non-emergency procedures such as major joint replacement, upper and lower back fusion and other procedures that have significant cost differences between domestic and international providers.

"WellPoint is committed to finding innovative solutions to our nation’s healthcare challenges and we continually evaluate new concepts. More and more employer clients have been asking about access to foreign providers as a means of reducing their claim expenditures," said Dr. Sam Nussbaum, chief medical officer for WellPoint. "Medical tourism is a promising option for improving access to affordable, quality healthcare. This program’s innovative plan design empowers members to be more involved in the care they receive and we are pleased to work with Serigraph."

Members who choose to access this international option will have a dedicated case manager who will coordinate all medical arrangements, including scheduling and concierge travel service. All travel arrangements will be booked and paid for, for both the member and a travel companion. The case manager will also help make arrangements for any necessary post-operative care upon the member’s return to the United States.

All hospitals within the international program are accredited by the Joint Commission International, whose accreditation standards are based on international consensus standards and set uniform, achievable expectations for structures, processes and outcomes for hospitals. The program also complies with American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines for medical tourism.

Addresses: WellPoint Inc., 120 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204; (317) 562-6000, serigraph Inc., 3801East Decorah Rd., West Bend, WI 53095; (262) 335-7200,

  This article was taken from:
The Executive Report on Managed Care

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