As a father to nine daughters, electrician Rodney Larson always looks for ways to cut costs. So in 2008 when he was told he needed triple bypass surgery—totaling $80,000 or more—he shopped around.
Larson, 56, of Boyd, Minn., searched the Internet and found a hospital that would do the surgery for $13,200. The facility, Galichia Heart Hospital in Wichita, Kan., participates in a domestic medical tourism program run by Healthbase Online.
Located in Boston, Healthbase is one of a handful of companies reaching out to U.S. hospitals to provide specialty surgeries at much lower costs than traditional providers. The company also offers international medical tourism—in which patients travel abroad for procedures—but is finding a market for U.S. specialty hospitals.
Most patients who use medical tourism companies are uninsured and must pay upfront for procedures. Larson liked the one-pay option.
“They saved me a lot of money, but the point is, it was excellent care,” he says.
Angela Bryant Starke is a writer based in Knoxville, Tenn.