Glenn Cohen is the youngest professor on the Harvard Law School faculty. His work has been focused on the potential risks and legal issues involved with medical tourism from a variety of perspectives.
Traveling to an exotic location for vacation, while also receiving inexpensive, high quality healthcare seems ideal. What is often not discussed before a person becomes a medical tourist is the possible complications of medical care abroad.
In this interview, Professor Cohen offers insights to the reasons why this sector does not have a widespread acceptance among insurance companies, how medical tourism consumers can protect themselves, and potential issues to come in the future.
The complexity of U.S. insurance regulations is one reason insurance companies have not implemented medical travel as a way to cut costs. Most regulations are controlled by individual states or self-funded companies. Professor Cohen believes this could be a better opportunity to incorporate international travel benefits for employees.
Professor Cohen says that so far, major hospitals or hospital groups have not been affected by negative publicity surrounding medical complications with medical tourists. “There isn’t much legal case law, or history of adverse events, in part, I believe, because hospitals don’t want the negative publicity,” says Professor Cohen.
Professor Cohen’s advice to medical travelers is to proceed cautiously. It’s difficult to bring foreign providers into US courts or to bring a lawsuit to a foreign country.
Despite the challenges involved with medical travel, Professor Cohen has a positive outlook for the future of this sector. He considers the early challenges characteristics of emerging markets.