U.S. Healthplans cover "Surgical tourists" to Thailand


COLUMBIA, S.C. - A new option for overseas medical treatment available to all BlueCross(R) BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice(R) HealthPlan of South Carolina members now allows those previously lured to Thailand to receive affordable surgical treatment coverage by their health plans.

With the cost of surgery escalating rapidly in the United States, Thailand has quickly become a low-cost affordable alternative for U.S. citizens.  And for 50 million U.S. citizens without health insurance, those with high medical deductibles and those whose procedures aren't covered due to pre-existing conditions, it has become a very real option.

In 2005, the show "60 Minutes" featured the Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.  The Bumrungrad hospital with a Starbucks in the lobby and an Italian restaurant on the top floor, looked more like a 5-star hotel than a third-world country hospital.  With new, plush carpets in the lobby, courteous receptionists wearing silk tailored suits and luxurious rooms, it offered everything from cosmetic surgery and cancer treatments to life-saving surgery.  Last year it treated over 450,000 foreign patients, more than any other hospital in the world.

Internationally famous for it's warm weather, beaches and tourism, Thailand is quickly becoming a leading destination for medical tourism. And at one-eight the cost for medical procedures, a $40,000 heart bypass surgery cost only $5,000 there.

Companion Global Healthcare recently affiliated with JCI-accredited Bumrungrad International Hospital, as the first hospital in its overseas network, and with World Access for travel services.

And through Columbia, S.C.-based Companion Global Healthcare Inc., BlueCross and BlueChoice HealthPlan members interested in medical procedures at U.S.- accredited facilities overseas have a single launch point for appointments, information, travel services and access to aftercare.

The Companion Global Healthcare model is the first of its kind in South Carolina and among the first in the United States. S.C. BlueCross and BlueChoice HealthPlan members have access to the program.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina are headquartered in Columbia, S.C. BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina is a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, and both are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

BlueChoice is a registered mark of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


Articles in this issue:


  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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