- US health insurers will start to provide coverage for medical tourism in 2008. Mini-med plans and small employers -not big health plans and blue chip companies-- will lead the way.
- State governments will begin to embrace medical tourism by 2010.
- Opposition to medical tourism by US physicians will be relatively modest.
- Medical tourism won't have a major, direct impact on US health care costs, but the secondary impact will be substantial.
I broadly agree with the paper's expressed opinions, forecasts and predictions. They did a good job crystallizing a lot of the wisdom into those predictions. About the prospects of places attracting US medical tourists here are my views:
Because of pricing I don't think Singapore will ever be a popular destination for Americans, though it may serve a richer clientele from neighboring areas and the Middle East. My bets are on India followed by Malaysia, Thailand, and may be China and Philippines for serious procedures; and Costa Rica / other Latin American countries for the dental / cosmetic procedures, and a few major surgeries for people who don't want to travel too far.
One development is notable in the context of a weakening dollar. A lot of places like in Europe that earlier cost half as much as treatment in the US are no longer financially viable destinations for the cost conscious, so the places like India offering much cheaper treatment will attract proportionately more traffic.