Limited Healthcare Benefits Pushing Seniors and Retirees to Medical Travel Alternatives

American workers approaching retirement are facing the same transitional challenges in their state of health and healthcare benefits. Retired seniors and individuals with limited or non-existent healthcare coverage are turning to medical travel and medical travel facilitators like SmartCare Worldwide to gain access to important medical services.

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SmartCare Worldwide, medical travel benefits and facilitators

Houston, TX (PRWEB) August 30, 2013

Many employers in the U.S. have dramatically reduced or terminated their retirement benefits. This combination of weaker public and private retirement programs is putting enormous financial risk on American retirees. For many years, retirees and seniors have looked to Social Security and Medicare as their core benefits in a comprehensive retirement program. Over the past two decades however, inflation and skyrocketing healthcare costs have outpaced these healthcare benefits. Changes in accounting regulations have also made it financially difficult for employers to continue providing healthcare and retirement programs.

SmartCare executive Rick Huntington commented on the issue during a recent interview: “Over the past ten years there’s been a dramatic reduction in the number of physicians practicing and the number of college graduates entering medical school. Oftentimes, doctors leaving their practice are doing so because Medicare reimbursements to physicians and healthcare providers have been reduced substantially on a relative basis to keep the program solvent in the face of escalating healthcare costs. Many retirees in this country have already experienced the difficulty of finding a doctor who still accepts Medicare. The complexity and anticipated reimbursement levels under new healthcare reform laws threaten to exacerbate the problem.”

Most major medical and dental conditions emerge later in life and effective treatments and procedures are generally expensive. Over 80% of the medical expenses Americans are likely to incur in their lifetime will occur during retirement years. An increasing number of U.S. seniors are foregoing medical and dental treatments rather than utilizing funds from their retirement accounts. This could have catastrophic results as health problems never entirely subside, but worsen and become more expensive to treat.

Seniors and retirees are looking for answers. For many, the answer lies in cost-effective healthcare services outside of the United States. Medical tourism, the practice of traveling to another country for medical and dental procedures, has become a common solution to the high cost of healthcare for individuals, especially seniors, in the U.S. Many have discovered that access to high quality, low cost medical and dental care is a short flight away. It’s expected that over one million Americans will utilize medical tourism in 2014 to gain access to medical procedures, treatments and medications that can cost up to 75% less than in the U.S. Many thousands of people have chosen to live their retirement years in Costa Rica. One of the most commonly cited reasons for doing so was to gain access to affordable, high quality healthcare services.

Costa Rica is home to world-class practitioners, surgeons and physicians specializing in Orthopedic, Bariatric and Cosmetic surgeries, but is best known for restorative dentistry. Many of the healthcare services provided in Costa Rica address the specific needs of seniors such as oral surgery, dental implants, orthopedics, cosmetics and joint replacements. Hospitals in Costa Rica are accredited by Joint Commission International, the same governing body that accredits some of the most well known American hospitals, resulting in standards of Costa Rican medical facilities that meet or exceed those in the U.S.

Huntington commented on Costa Rica for medical travel: “We’ve chosen Costa Rica as our primary medical travel destination for many reasons, including their high standards in medical care, the convenience of their English-speaking population and its proximity to the U.S. as just a 3 hour flight from Houston. The proximity is key for many senior medical travelers – In most cases it’s not viable for them to travel across the world. Most healthcare professionals are trained in Europe or the U.S. and they’re able to capitalize on the resources developed in those countries.”

SmartCare executive Shelly Coonrod concluded, “We’re excited that we can offer seniors and retirees real solutions with our medical travel services and facilitation. Complete treatment packages are available to any individuals looking for an answer to lacking or non-existent healthcare coverage. Our on-staff physician, Joanne Huntington M.D., is one of the first points of contact at SmartCare Worldwide for medical travel inquiries. Our team of experts begins by evaluating an individual’s healthcare needs and medical condition, generating quotes, providing treatment plans and even setting up travel arrangements and accommodations.”

About SmartCare Worldwide

SmartCare Worldwide is an innovative medical travel firm with corporate headquarters in Houston, Texas. As medical travel facilitators, SmartCare provides a wide range of flexible medical travel benefits and services for individuals and companies of all sizes, including global enterprises. Our experienced consultants work closely with clients to design and administer the most cost-effective, adaptable medical travel benefits solutions. We provide full implementation and administration of our medical travel benefit product for U.S. employers, SmartChoice, and are committed to providing exemplary, ongoing responsiveness that assures measurable, long-term value in each client relationship.

Corporate contact: Rick Huntington, Principal SmartCare Worldwide, 855.762.8227

Media contact: Victoria Marasco, V2G Interactive, 512.306.1988


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