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Health Benefits Cover Medical Tourism, Alternative Therapies

U.S. employers are beginning to cover medical tourism and alternative medicine as part of their health benefit cost containment efforts.

January 18, 2008
Related Topics: Medical Benefits Law, Benefit Design and Communication, Future Workplace, Latest News
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U.S. employers are beginning to cover medical tourism and alternative medicine as part of their health benefit cost containment efforts, a survey has found.

Medical tourism, which involves seeking lower-cost medical treatment outside the U.S., is now covered by 11 percent of employers surveyed by Brookfield, Wisconsin-based International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

In addition, 80.5 percent of employers currently cover chiropractic care, and 33.5 percent of employers cover acupuncture or acupressure, the IFEBP survey found.

Among other survey findings:

● 99.7 percent offer health care benefits to full-time employees, and 49.9 percent cover part-time workers.

● 99 percent cover adopted and biological children, while 74 percent cover stepchildren and 42 percent cover foster children.

● 92 percent cover opposite-sex spouses, 37.5 percent cover same-sex unmarried domestic partners, 30 percent cover opposite-sex unmarried domestic partners, and 28.8 percent cover same-sex spouses.

The survey, “Health Care Benefits: Eligibility, Coverage and Exclusions,” contains 400 responses from U.S. corporate benefit managers, professional service providers, public employers and multiemployer plans about health care benefit plans. The survey, which also contains 22 sample health care policies and summary plan descriptions, is the latest publication in the IFEBP’s Survey & Sample Series, which was created to allow benefit professionals to compare their plan with others, determine trends and costs and better manage their plans.

To order a copy of the survey, visit www.ifebp.org/books.asp?6412.

Filed by Joanne Wojcik of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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