Corporate Prospecting for Health Travel Patients



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As Health Tourism MOVES FROM B2C to a B2B OPTION,

Maria Todd is frequently hired to help healthcare providers and surgeons grow their medical and dental tourism business through unique and disruptive methods. 

One way to do this is to invite corporate buyers, their TPA, case managers and benefits advisors to visit your facility, tour your destination and capture their undivided attention for a day or more to learn how they can save money, get high quality care, and experience the services you coordinate and provide. 

How much of an investment will it take to pull it off? Think of this as a percentage of revenue on the procedures you offer. If you are offering services such as elective cosmetics, hair transplant, dermal fillers, facelifts, tummy tucks and stem cells, or other non-covered services not paid by the employers’ health plan, let me save you the time to read more, it’s not relevant to what you do. On the other hand, if you offer big ticket, medically necessary procedures (ortho, cardiology, transplants, general surgery, gynecology, urology, infertility, long-stay behavioral health and addiction treatment, and the like read on!)


Design an experience from wheels down to wheels up. 

Put everything from the moment they arrive to the moment they depart on your planning checklist and agenda.

For this event, you control the experience – unless you goof up and blow your opportunity and cash with under-planning.

First things first

You’re auditioning for an opportunity to serve them and help them contain costs. You aren’t arranging a sales opportunity. That comes later.

First you must explain your product, where you are located, how your program works, how much they’ll save if they refer 5-6 cases a year, what’s expected of them and how much you can save from their local healthcare suppliers.

They’ll want to experience the hotel accommodations where their employees will stay. They’ll want to get an idea of restaurants and food and beverage options so that they know how much to budget per diem for incidental expenses and ground transfers. 

They will want to experience the airport and ground transfer options. And they will appreciate meeting and interviewing key medical staff, medical travel coordinators, billers and payment staff, and hear patient testimonials.

What to show and tell

Will they want to see your Cath Lab? Nope. They don’t understand the technology, they are on a limited time frame.  Will they want to see your Emergency Department or Newborn nursery? Probably not.  Again, limited time frame and those aren’t services frequently referred for elective, scheduled, health travel. 

Will they want to see patient rooms? Probably. But only show the rooms to which you assign medical and dental travel patients, not wards or VIP accommodations. They don’t want to pay for VIP accommodations. Only what’s reasonable and medically necessary.


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Will they care about accreditation?

Yes, if it is an accrediting body they recognize and expect.  But don’t belabor the issue. It is a tick in a box to them.

Will they care about language fluency?

Only if it aligns with the languages of their population of covered lives.

In the USA, self-funded / self-insured employers represent about 75% of the working population and their families enrolled in their private health benefit program.

They have a duty to arrange care with safe suppliers who provide value for money. The plan administrators have legal fiduciary duty to save plan assets (cash) and vet and approve qualified suppliers that help them contain costs. 

Rather than focus on accreditation, per se, focus on what the accreditation means in value they can recognize: Credentialing and privileging, Environment of Care, Proper Handoffs, Patients Rights and Responsibilities, Documentation and medical records, etc. 

Explain how you’ll interface with their TPA 

Present examples of bundled claims using a CMS 1500 and a UB04 form the way you’ll submit claims.  Explain how you’ll work with case manager referrals and with whom the case manager will interact. Introduce the person in the role of pricing authority in the event of a price for a combined procedure that wasn’t worked out as a pre-negotiated bundle.

Explain how you’ll manage handoffs from local care to your destination and back

Handoffs, aftercare, complications and late charge capture will be of great interest. Explain what to expect and how your program works. Explain what happens if a complication arises.

Show samples of bundled claims on a UB04 and CMS 1500 and a program manual

The beauty of this is that the contract is on your paper, with your terms and conditions, not those of an HMO or PPO. Put the roles of engagement in a booklet that you hand them with a contract ready to sign and a transparent price list. Define your beginning and ending of your episode of care. This is the greatest risk I’ve encountered with many TPAs who are arranging medical travel options when they don’t know how. The first thing they do is plagiarize the definition of the episode of care from a PPO or HMO contract they’ve seen. It is often so far off base and yet providers blindly sign these and then get stuck including the kitchen sink in their package that they didn’t count on. Your deal? Your paper!

Who pays?

If you set your pricing at a level where they save enough money to cover 100% plus travel for two people, they will usually be very interested.  Explain how money is transferred via ACH on or before the date of service, in full, at the predictable, negotiated, transparent price. This cuts your costs to collect. Savings drop down to bottom line and margin for your facility or practice. The minute you get into fragmented copay and deductible responsibilities, the entire program costs more to operate.

What should it cost you per tour participant?

It depends where you are located and who you invite and how far they will need to travel.  Plan your visit/fam tour for 3 nights in groups of 10-15 people minimum. You can do the tours and fams as individual companies, but you’ll get more energy and synergy going with a group of 8-15.

  • Gas and mileage reimbursement if they drive their own car. 
  • Economy airfare if they fly.  With 10 more more flying to a single destination from around the nation, the major airlines in the USA will offer you a group rate. All it takes is usually a phone call. 
  • With 10 or more hotel rooms for a three night stay, you’ll get a great discount similar to the rate they offer their best frequent visitors who stay 30 room nights per year. Include breakfast in your quote.  Ask that they waive resort fees, because your guests won’t be using the amenities if you control the agenda properly. 
  • Plan meals at local restaurants. The restaurant owners will oblige and do things up special if you ask.
  • Arrange for a mini bus or other chartered group transportation, depending on group size. Depending on location this can run $500 to $1500 a day including driver, fuel and insurance.
  • Ask your local convention and visitors’ bureau or chamber of commerce to provide you local information you can distribute in a welcome packet. Also ask if they have a grant program that helps defray the cost of inbound tourism to your destination. In our city we can get up to $5000 a year if we document the group economic impact of the event and the economic impact if each visiting buyer refers 5 cases (or whatever number you’re targeting) after the tour in repeat economic impact “satellite” spend. If your facility pays taxes, cite the tax impact of the procedures you might sell in your proposal.  In my little rural town, tourism impact is about $1327 per household/per year in tax relief to local residents.
  • Have SWAG bags created with your logo for each tour participant. The little backpacks with drawstrings are popular and people reuse them to tote their lunch back and forth to the office and back home.  Place all your materials on a USB, not printed. 
  • Plan for some one on one time to discuss business and have statistics about their account and potential savings ready to hand them at the end of your private discussion, not before! You need to provide a “confidential” marked copy to the buyer, not the TPA, unless the TPA was the lead source. The reason? Your data may outshine what they regularly receive from their TPA. Let them save face. Let the employer share it with them if they like.
I set these up all the time, all over the world. If you have a list of targeted employers, let’s review it together and determine which ones are self-funded or self-insured and plan your first event.  Better yet, if you can download a query from your billing software of the employers who already know and use you, we can figure out a practicable strategy that’s easy to launch and operate. To learn how to structure tours and negotiations on your own, the e-book I have pictured above, for sale exclusively on, will guide you through many of the steps and best practices for under $10.

Do you have questions about direct with employer contracting for your health travel program?

Would you like answers and guidance from a proven expert who has been successful at growing corporate health travel business?

Schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns. Request a time for a courtesy chat with this form.


…for more information about what’s been mentioned in this article​ or something else you’d like to learn more about

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