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It’s important that anybody looking into the medical tourism industry understands exactly what the role of a medical tourism facilitator is, and how it is that medical tourism facilitators make their salaries. As a medical travel facilitator, it is your job to have a strong relationship with accredited doctors, hospitals, and clinics, as well as have attractive destinations to promote to potential medical tourism customers who are looking to travel for healthcare.
After you have established a relationship with the hospitals and medical professionals you are going to work with, it’s time to go out and find potential patients looking to utilize your service. When prospecting clients or potential patients, it’s your job to educate them on the hospitals and doctors you will be working with, as well as the destinations.
It’s up to you to organize and coordinate a complete trip for the medical tourism patient. This means helping them with passports, assisting them in getting visa letters, booking flights, and making sure they have entertainment.
Really, you will be handling every aspect of their medical trip. Making sure they get to their appointments on time, transferring their medical records to the physician, and more. You will ultimately be the link between the patient and the hospital, which will involve: setting up conference calls with the physician and patient before the trip. You’ll want to be their main contact on the medical trip, make sure they stay in a great hotel in a great area, and make sure the patients hotel is in close proximity to the healthcare provider or hospital they’ll be getting their procedure done in.
But what does the typical medical tourism business model look like? How do medical tourism facilitators make their money? Well, what some do is make use of an administration fee. This is a flat fee for your services, and its usually paid by the patient. This fee doesn’t go up or down. It stays the same no matter how much the procedure is, no matter where the patient is traveling to, and no matter what logistical resources you have to utilize on this trip.
To give a simple example of how this administration fee works, imagine someone is getting a hip replacement for $20,000. The contractual agreement between the patient and the facilitator, you in this case, would be that it’s going to be a flat rate no matter where the patient goes, no matter what you do for the patient, no matter what events you set up for, or how long you guys work together. It will always be a flat rate that won’t fluctuate. Let’s say your flat rate is $500. This means that no matter if the patient travels to Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Thailand, or anywhere else in the world, the rate is going to stay the same.
Another way medical tourism facilitators make their money is through a referral fee, which is when a clinic, hospital, or physician pays you a commission based on the amount of the procedure. This is a percentage of how much the procedure is going to cost the patient. Unlike the administration fee where it doesn’t matter what procedure the patient gets, the referral fee is a commission based agreement so the rate does fluctuate. Using the cost of $20,000 from the last example, the only difference is that the payment will usually come from the hospital rather than the patient and you payout will increase depending on the price of the medical treatment. So let’s say you are getting a 10% referral fee (a typical commission is 10-20%) based on the cost of the procedure. If the patient you referred spends $20,000 on the procedure, in this scenario, you would get $2,000 for referring the patient to the hospital.
Medical Tourism Packages
The next medical tourism business model is medical tourism packages, which are typically fixed quotes on services that the healthcare provider or hospital provides to the patient. The beautiful thing about these medical tourism packages is that they include the total treatment cost so patients can feel comfortable in knowing that their one fee covers everything they need in regards to their medical procedure abroad.
If you’re familiar with how hospitals and clinics work, they typically bill patients on a case-by-case basis. This means that one patient might need specialized equipment, and will have a higher bill at the end of their medical treatment. With this package, no matter what specialized equipment they have to use, or how long the surgery goes on for, the price is going to stay the same.
This is attractive for medical tourism facilitators because it provides them with a sold number to provide to the patient, without any worry of prices changing once the patient gets to their destination, or once the treatment is completed. The price always stays the same, and includes everything from the procedure, the doctor and surgeon fees, medication, and possibly even therapy if required. It’s all included in the medical tourism package so that the patient can feel comfortable knowing that when they travel to get a procedure done, they’ve already paid all the fees they need to regarding their healthcare treatment.
However, you obviously can’t predict everything that’s going to happen on this trip. In theory there aren’t supposed to be any more costs for the medical procedure outside of your medical tourism package, but you can’t dictate whether or not there are going to be complications (such as an infection) that the patient would have, and that might drive up the cost. But in a perfect scenario, this package will encompass the total cost of treatment for the patient.
Related: Proven business models for medical tourism facilitators
These packages can be customized as well. Typically there will be more services included in the package than what is shown on this example, but if X represents the procedure on this example, then you have the hospital cost which is $10,000, the cost of prescriptions which is $400, and the medical team fees which is $6,000 on the example, and then we add your 10% commission fee on. As we said earlier, most medical tourism facilitators charge 10-20% commission, but it is typically 10%. Adding these all up, it would bring the total cost to $18,040.
Package price costs $16,400 + your 10% fee of $1,640 = $18,040
This is the package you would present to the patient, and tell them that for their medical treatment and all included services provided, it’s going to cost $18,040. This price won’t go up or down, this is the final cost of the package they will pay. Something noteworthy about these packages is that some hospitals deduct the 10% from the overall price of the package, and some hospitals don’t. Now in the above example I put your 10% free on top of the package price, which came out to a total of $18,040.
Remember, that in this example your 10% commission is included in the $18,040 fee, now you can total it up, and present this to the patient. Past this point your client can still choose to customize it, and the package can also be bundled with other services that the healthcare center doesn’t provide.
To give you an example, you’re going to include the hospital fees, prescription cost, and medical team fees that the hospital will provide. But you can also add other services to the package, like hotel and lodging, food, or transportation costs. These things can be grouped and bundled together with the original package to eliminate the amount of payout the client would otherwise have to make while on the trip.
If you’re new to the health and wellness tourism industry, or thinking of becoming a medical tourism facilitator and looking for educational resources, we provide medical tourism business plans, and other resources including pricing manuals, industry surveys, best practice guides, advice from successful medical tourism agencies, and legal contracts. You can get all these tools and so much more in the Facilitator Growth Kit, so feel free to reach out. Our main goal is to help you become successful in the medical travel industry, and the best way of doing that is by giving you access to educational manuals and practical guides that you can use from day one.
This short medical tourism training course was written by Gilliam Elliott of Medical Tourism Business.