Why it may be cheaper to fly your employee to Europe for their Appendectomy

Why it may be cheaper to fly your employee to Europe for their Appendectomy

There are plenty of reasons to brag about living in America, like the fact that we have the most innovative beers on the planet (sorry Germany). Or that our Hollywoodblockbusters are second to none. However, healthcare costs in the good‘ol US of A is not something to boast about, it is the most expensive place to get healthcare in the world.

There are 4 primary reasons for this: hospitalization,pharmaceuticals, physician and administration.

Let’s tackle hospitalization first.

Consider this: If you have an employee in need of an Appendectomy, to receive hospital care in the US it would cost $29,426. That SAME procedure in Europe costs in the neighborhood of $3,000-$4,000. You can literally send your employee on a 10 day trip to Europe to have the procedure done for less than it would cost you to have it done at home.

Don’t believe it?

Here are the numbers:

  • Round trip ticket to Europe + rental car + 8 nights in ahotel = $2,113.52*
  • Appendectomy: $4,000.
  • Total: $6,113.52

Sending your employee across the pond will save you $23,312.48.

Yeah, but the high cost must equate to better results right?

Nope.

Americans aren’t living any longer than the British or the French.

There are two widely unknown reasons the American hospital system is so inflated.

Reason 1: The charge master Charge masters are the internal lists of hospital servicefees (think everything from delivering a baby to giving a patient anAspirin). These charges are created bythe hospital and are determined relative to a discounted percentage of that fee(so why not bloat the hell out of them?). Some patients have reported paying $5.00 for an Aspirin and upward of$1,000 for a toothbrush. Crazy right? Yeah, well good luck trying to avoid it.Unless you live in California, the price point of said tooth brush is a SECRETand will likely differ significantly from hospital to hospital. It is nearlyimpossible to price compare to find the best deals.

Reason 2: PPO “discounts” If you are an employer, you likely purchase hospitalservices through a preferred provider organization (well that sounds nice).While you think the PPO would negotiate down these charge master prices, thinkagain. Your PPO doesn’t have any reason to negote a fair price. They get paidper employee per month and so their only incentive is the number of people theyhave suckered into thinking they provide real discounts rather than actuallyproviding them. With a PPO you are still paying 200-450 percent of whatMedicare pays.

I don’t know about you, but dropping my PPO and opting for a Reference Based Reimbursement is sounding pretty darn good right now. Either that, or dusting off the ‘ol passport.
*prices based on Travelocity.com services from New York to London