New Hip Destination

New Hip Destination
By Marc Peruzzi & Pieter van Noordennen
May 21, 2009

Medical tourism for the everyman

After a career on the business side of the medical industry, Steven Lash was intrigued when he saw a May 2006 story in Time magazine, headlined “Outsourcing Your Heart.” He mulled over the idea, but could never figure out how to turn medical tourism into a moneymaker. “All the articles were talking about people who got terrific care internationally,” says Lash, 50. “But these were all people who didn’t have insurance. I didn’t see that as a good business model because what’s to stop them from traveling to buy their health-care on their own?”

Then, the epiphany: Roughly 17 percent of employer-sponsored health insurance policies now offer health reimbursement accounts (HRAs), which let employers pay into a tax-deductible fund that employees can tap to pay for health-care costs.

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