Starting in January, Wal-Mart will begin to allow covered employees and dependents to travel, at no personal cost, to one of six national hospitals to receive treatment for heart, spine, and transplant surgery related treatments.
Additionally, patients will receive free travel and accommodations while undergoing treatment. Wal-Mart’s ability to work directly with hospitals to cut costs for their employees is a trend that corporations are beginning to take advantage of.
Kroger Co., grocery store giant, has partnered with several hospitals across the U.S. and offered to cover a greater portion of the cost if employees are willing to receive treatment at a partner facility. Employees pay only 10% of the cost of a procedure if they choose to receive their treatment at one of the 19 partner hospitals, while choosing to a nearby medical center may cost them anywhere from 25% to 50% out of pocket.
Earlier this year, PepsiCo began offering the option to travel to Baltimore to receive treatment at Johns Hopkins Medical. Patients requiring treatments for cardiac problems or complex joint replacement surgeries will have their deductibles and co-insurance waived if they choose to travel for treatment. They will also be able to have a companion accompany them, and both will travel and stay free of charge.
As healthcare costs continue to climb, traveling for healthcare will become a more and more viable option as a way to keep medical bills from skyrocketing as well.