Rajesh Rao, Founder and CEO, IndUShealth
About Rajesh Rao
With more than 20 years of experience in the creation and growth of successful entrepreneurial businesses, Rajesh Rao provides IndUShealth a critical combination of operational, financial, and systems management skills.
Mr. Rao began his career as a software engineer at IBM, later joining the founding team at Post Software International, where he ultimately became director of Research and Development. Post Software became an established worldwide leader in retail systems automation and was acquired by Fujitsu ICL.
Subsequently, Mr. Rao co-founded and served as CEO of Empower Corporation, an innovative enterprise e-learning software company that served several large multinational companies. Empower eventually became MindLever, which was acquired by Centra Software (Nasdaq: CTRA). Mr. Rao continued as general manager at Centra prior to co-founding IndUShealth.
Having faced ever-increasing costs of providing health benefits to employees in his previous companies, Mr. Rao decided to dedicate his time and resources to the pursuit of viable alternatives. He believed that the leveling of the global playing field would result in effective cross-border solutions with the potential to substantially reduce healthcare expenditures.
As co-founder and CEO, Mr. Rao has been instrumental in building IndUShealth into a dominant player in the U.S. that has helped the “medical tourism” trend mature and evolve to an entirely new level. He enjoys being able to innovate and work with others to further expand IndUShealth’s offerings and broaden its scope of influence.
Mr. Rao is recognized as an industry leader and is often asked to speak to audiences at meetings and conferences. He has been featured in several news articles, as well as in TV and radio interviews.
In June 2006, Mr. Rao appeared as an expert witness before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Aging, extolling the advantages of employer-sponsored medical travel, and sparking a national debate over insurers’ and corporations’ roles in medical tourism. He was also invited to speak at a National Academies seminar that explored the potential role of medical tourism in providing a suitable alternative to Americans.
He holds bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from North Carolina State University.
IndUShealth is a leading provider of corporate medical travel administration services and has pioneered successful programs that allow group health plans to seamlessly offer the choice of overseas healthcare to their subscribers.
IndUShealth’s programs have generated aggregate savings of about $400,000 per 1,000 employees (roughly 2,000 subscribers) in employer health plans. In addition, participants report excellent outcomes and very high levels of satisfaction, often rivaling or exceeding patient satisfaction indices reported by the leading hospitals in the U.S.
Medical Travel Today (MTT): Please give us a little background on your company, IndUShealth.
Rajesh Rao (RR): IndUShealth was founded in 2005 in response to the growing interest and relevance of medical travel in the U.S. marketplace.
Our objective was to cater to the opportunity to introduce the medical travel phenomenon to the U.S. corporate market by providing a unique comprehensive service that permitted employers to easily incorporate our medical travel option into their existing employee health benefit plans.
Having sent hundreds of health plan-sponsored participants overseas for medical treatment, IndUShealth has since emerged as the leading medical travel administrator in the U.S.
We are pleased to note that the success of our program has been driven in part due to the quality of the medical outcomes and overall patient experiences, more so than the cost benefits and incentives provided to the participants.
MTT: Does IndUShealth strictly work with individuals who are uninsured or self-insured? What about patients who are covered by an employer?
RR: IndUShealth works exclusively with employer-sponsored health plans, but occasionally handles individual self-pay clients who may be referred to us by our providers and clients.
MTT: Do you work with international employees to find healthcare options in India and Costa Rica?
RR: IndUShealth assists employees and dependents who participate in employer-sponsored health plans in the U.S.
Our hospital networks are currently based in India and Costa Rica.
MTT: Does your company offer pre-operative and post-operative assistance to patients?
RR: IndUShealth’s case managers are registered nurses who are highly qualified to help patients navigate the nuances of “extraction from the U.S. healthcare system” and obtaining medical treatments overseas.
This includes a thorough assessment of each patient’s unique needs and circumstances, coupled with the required guidance and hand-holding. Pre-op counseling, post-op follow-up and coordination are important aspects of IndUShealth’s service offering, as it incorporates key risk management strategies that play a large part in the success of the program and the enthusiasm of participants to recommend it to others.
MTT: Does IndUShealth partner with specific hospitals outside of America? If so, which?
RR: The hospitals in IndUShealth’s partner network include: Fortis Hospitals (India), Apollo Hospitals (India), Hospital Clinica Biblica (Costa Rica), Hospital La Catolica (Costa Rica) and CIMA (Costa Rica).
MTT: Have you noticed certain procedures to offer substantial cost-savings in these locations?
RR: Neurosurgical surgeries such as spinal disc fusion and artificial disc replacements yield substantial savings to payers – often over $100,000.
Orthopedic procedures such as hip and knee replacements yield tens of thousands of dollars in savings, as do bariatric procedures such as laparascopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypasses and sleeve gastrectomies.
Surprisingly, even some procedures performed on an outpatient basis, such as hernia repairs and arthroscopic procedures, yield a few thousand dollars in savings.
Most procedures qualify for the plan participant to take along a companion with all expenses paid.
MTT: Why just India and Costa Rica? Do you plan on expanding your services to other locations in the future?
RR: IndUShealth has been very selective with its destinations and partnerships based on the unique requirements superimposed by our corporate sponsored patient population.
Although there are several providers catering to the global supply of medical travelers, very few of them qualify to meet the criteria necessary to satisfy the particular combination of cost, quality, reliability, geopolitical stability and overall patient experience required by our market.
Developing strong partnerships with select providers is of more value to us and our clients.
However, we’ll certainly consider expanding to other locations as and when appropriate to cater to growing demand.