My aunt, who has been living in Saudi Arabia for the past 28 years, says this place is like a little medical utopia – just as described by Kenneth Mays, the Marketing Director for Bumrungad.
“VG: So that model is very different than the US model, which tends to be reactive. So do you have, say, a list of set prices that you post on the door, that the people can even access before they go to Thailand? How does that work?
KM: In some cases we do, where there is a package price, and some of those are listed on our website. And we’re going to launch something in the next few months that will allow patients to go to our website and get the actual median price and range of what people paid who got a certain procedure so that they can see the actual costs out the door, including the doctor’s fees and surgical fees and room and everything. But, in the majority of cases now, you just get an estimate upfront, and our estimates are based on actuals, and we say, “well, you’ll probably pay 350,000 baht, which might be about $10,000 for this operation, or you’ll pay $4,000 for this operation, or $2,000,” whatever, and it comes very close to that.
VG: So it sounds like you are already light years ahead of the US system in that you kind of created one bundled bill with one bundled estimate, instead of just seeing all kinds of different bills from different people much later in the process.
KM: Right, it’s a very interesting laboratory for health care reform, because it’s such an ideal thing. We have a number of American administrators and managers who said this is the way it should be. It’s very consumer-driven, and that was based before the medical travelers came, the Thai consumers are used to. They have about 100 private hospitals to choose from in Bangkok alone. So they come in, they want to have an estimate, and if you’re too much, then they’ll go and call another hospital and get their estimate and go over there. So it’s very, very consumer-driven.”