There was some interesting news from over the Atlantic this week , with reports that medical groups  – representing hundreds of thousands of doctors – have issued a list of routine tests that they believe should no longer be carried out automatically.

The list of what’s no longer thought necessary actually quite extensive – and runs to 45 routine tests. Some of them (depending on your perspective) may seem surplus to requirements even without a degree in medicine.

One of the themes running through many of the news reports is that – with an estimated 2 trillion dollars being spent on healthcare in the US annually, an old assumption is being challenged: the more care people receive, the better.

This central belief of course makes sense for those that have something wrong with them – but here’s an example – one of the tests listed as potentially unnecessary is brain scans for those who have fainted but have shown no other symptoms. For the moment it looks like a consensus is emerging that routine testing is something that has up til now been deployed with perhaps too much frequency.

The UK obviously has different criteria for testing – but the US rethink on routine tests provides us with an interesting point of comparison – and could even provide some insight on how our own health services could find new ways of saving money.

Of course, for those considering spending time overseas long-term then medical cover is – depending on the country you intend to stay in – either obligatory or strongly recommended. The websites of providers such as AXA PPP International are a good starting point for seeing what’s on offer and how to get a quote. For guides to individual countries the Telegraph newspaper has an excellent expat section with detailed background info on a number of popular (and some less well-known) expatriate destinations.

In other news, there has been some interesting info on a news story closer to home: the OFT’s referral of the private healthcare market to the Competition Commission and how one major insurer welcomes this regulatory examination of the industry.

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