USA city Superior expands medical travel programme

Superior, a city of Douglas county, in North-Western Wisconsin, U.S.A. is expanding the medical procedures that employees can travel for, to save money in the city’s self-funded health insurance policy. The city’s health insurance committee is making more procedures eligible for incentives.

Medical travel was established in Superior in 2020 to incentivise travel outside of the Twin Ports of Superior and Duluth, to reduce the cost of orthopaedic and spinal procedures. Travel expenses are reimbursed up to US$1,000 and employees receive US$500 in their health savings account to get care through less expensive providers in the Twin Cities area.

The finance committee approved adding some cardiac procedures; gallbladder, hernia, cataract, tonsil and adenoid surgeries; and ear tubes as procedures eligible for the incentive programme when performed through the HealthPartners high value network.

So far, only one person has taken advantage of this programme. HealthPartners has said that most of these surgeries have not been happening because of COVID. Numbers are expected to increase soon.

Efforts to make sure city staff are aware of the options are increasing and HealthPartners will alert city staff to the option if they seek a consultation on any of the incentivised procedures.