Expected to reach $100 billion by 2012
In response to the growing trend in overseas travel for medical treatments, Travelsavers announced “Well-Being Travel” at their recent global conference in Boca Raton.
Studies show that in the U.S., medical tourism represents a $20 billion market, which is expected to reach $100 billion by 2012. In order to tap into the lucrative and growing trend, Travelsavers has partnered with Companion Global Healthcare, a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina.
Because of the potential ethical and liability issues associated with medical issues, Travelsavers spent 2 years investigating the opportunity, visiting facilities around the world, and interviewing various companies which offer medical consulting for this growing niche. The result is an association with Companion Global Healthcare and the formation of Well-Being Travel.
Executive Vice President of Well-Being Travel, Anne Marie Moebes, was careful to explain that Travelsavers franchisees tapping into this trend will not be selling medical services. Rather, they have the opportunity to fulfill the travel portion, while offering the services of Companion Global Healthcare as the go-to resource for medical tourism. The global organization provides the relationships, technology, marketing, networking and educational opportunities to help travel agents.
“With health care reform in the U.S. further driving up medical costs, people are looking for alternative solutions,” said Anne Marie Moebes “And in Canada, although there is universal health care, many Canadians don’t want to wait months for a hip replacement and look for solutions outside the country.”
“We recognize medical travel is an emerging trend in health care and are pleased to be associated with Well-Being Travel,” said David Boucher, President and CEO of Companion Global Healthcare, Inc. points out that “Many travel agents are already booking trips for medical travelers, but this niche within the travel industry has just recently been given a name. Our alliance formalizes the process and brings more business opportunities to travel agents.”
The overseas medical services are offered at state-of-art hospitals in Thailand, India and Turkey. Returning patients describe the experience akin to having stayed at a 4 star hotel. And the cost is approximately one tenth of the cost of having the same procedure in the U.S.
In addition to these core services, Well-Being Travel will soon be offering medical travel packages including air and hotel. And, the company has already begun planning a medical expo that will bring together the medical industry and destinations around the globe in a new partnership.