It’s Cheaper To Fly Your Employee To Europe for their Appendectomy



John, der irrt! Deutsch Bier und deutschen Frauen sind die besten!

“There are plenty of reasons to brag about living in America, like the fact that we have the most innovative beers on the planet (sorry Germany)”

By John Powers – Healthcare Cost Management Expert

Apr 16, 2015

There are plenty of reasons to brag about living in America, like the fact that we have the most innovative beers on the planet (sorry Germany). Or that our Hollywood blockbusters are second to none. However, the cost of healthcare in the good ‘ol US of A is not something to boast about, it is the most expensive place to get healthcare in the world.

There are 4 primary reasons for this: hospitalization, pharmaceuticals, physician and administration.

Let’s tackle hospitalization first.

Consider this: If you have an employee in need of an Appendectomy, to receive hospital care in the US it would cost $29,426. That SAME procedure in Europe costs in the neighborhood of $3,000-$4,000. You can literally send your employee on a 10 day trip to Europe to have the procedure done for less than it would cost you to have it done at home. Don’t believe it?

Here are the numbers:

Round trip ticket to Europe + rental car + 8 nights in a hotel = $2,113.52*

Appendectomy: $4,000.

Total: $6,113.52

Sending your employee across the pond will save you $23,312.48.

Yeah, but the high cost must equate to better results right? Nope. Americans aren’t living any longer than the British or the French.

There are two widely unknown reasons the American hospital system is so inflated.

Reason 1: The charge master

Charge masters are the internal lists of hospital service fees (think everything from delivering a baby to giving a patient an Aspirin). These charges are created by the hospital and are determined relative to a discounted percentage of that fee (so why not bloat the hell out of them?). Some patients have reported paying $5.00 for an Aspirin and upward of $1,000 for a toothbrush. Crazy right? Yeah, well good luck trying to avoid it. Unless you live in California, the price point of said tooth brush is a SECRET and will likely differ significantly from hospital to hospital. It is nearly impossible to price compare to find the best deals.

Reason 2: PPO “discounts”

If you are an employer, you likely purchase hospital services through a preferred provider organization (well that sounds nice). While you think the PPO would negotiate down these charge master prices, think again. Your PPO doesn’t have any reason to negote a fair price. They get paid per employee per month and so their only incentive is the number of people they have suckered into thinking they provide real discounts rather than actually providing them. With a PPO you are still paying 200-450 percent of what Medicare pays.

I don’t know about you, but dropping my PPO and opting for a Reference Based Reimbursement is sounding pretty darn good right now. Either that, or dusting off the ‘ol passport.

*prices based on services from New York to London

Advanced Medical Pricing Solutions (AMPS) is a healthcare cost management company serving the self-funded payer community. AMPS specializes in physician led, technology driven, facility claim review. AMPS primary goal is to ensure medical facility claims are accurate and reasonably paid and to provide alternatives to the non-effective PPO market. Based in Atlanta, GA with offices in Phoenix and Houston, the company provides proprietary solutions that help large and mid-size businesses address rapidly expanding hospital costs. For more information, please visit