BridgeHealth deal adds medical travel options to limited health plans

Medical travel administrator BridgeHealth Medical is partnering with Competitive Health, Inc., in an effort to provide better healthcare options for people with limited benefit programs.

BridgeHealth, based in Denver, plans to use Competitive Health’s medical and dental software solutions and hosted services to help people with limited health plans access the company’s network of domestic and international hospitals and healthcare providers. Officials point out that an average joint replacement that costs $35,000 to $70,000 could be reduced to $15,000 to $20,000 through BridgeHealth’s network.

“This is significant for the patients who opt for limited benefit insurance because typically their plans cover small injury and prevention rather than major healthcare needs,” said Victor Lazzaro Jr., BridgeHealth’s CEO, in a press release. “This alliance also allows the limited benefit plan payers to offer a wider array of surgical procedures in high quality facilities in locations throughout the United States, as well as places like Mexico and Puerto Rico, which will pose no cultural barrier to many workers who are native to these countries.”

Based in Mission Viejo, Calif., Competitive Health offers patient payment responsibility and network information to more than 450,000 providers in 35 healthcare networks.

Our alliance is about providing these workers with better healthcare choices at top-notch hospitals while lowering costs for limited benefit plan insureds, said Kimberly Darling, the company’s founder and CEO. Many of those who would benefit from this option are service industry workers in restaurants, large chain stores, landscape companies and others. These insureds typically are not aware of the cost for a major medical procedure and having access to pre-negotiated surgical case rates through their limited benefit plan allows them to realize substantial savings, while receiving the procedure at a high quality facility. This is a big improvement for these workers.