Medical Tourism Insurance
No matter what kind of medical procedure you need or want to have done, the cost is always an issue. Medical tourism has emerged as a very affordable alternative to having surgery, dental work and other procedures performed in your home country. Unless you have a top insurance policy, the deductible alone may be more than the price of traveling abroad for medical care. The costs are such that most patients can often pay for the entire thing out of pocket. Medical tourism particularly appeals to those without any health insurance.
Yet even if you have health insurance in your country, it is very unlikely they will provide any international coverage. Only a few medical insurers will cover services provided outside their own healthcare network or country of origin. But as the medical tourism industry continues to grow and gain popularity, health insurance companies are standing up and taking notice. Even if you can afford to pay for your own medical procedure overseas, it’s worth checking with your health insurance company to see if they offer any coverage.
Before the medical tourism industry reached its present heights, temporary travel insurance once offered a convenient, if somewhat sneaky, way to get insured for medical treatment while overseas. But they quickly caught on, and every travel insurance company now includes a blanket statement which says that the insurance policy will not cover anyone who goes abroad with the intent of seeking medical treatment. This is logical business sense, however, as no insurance company wants to cover people who are already ill.
There are also insurance policies available overseas by the country where you are visiting. These policies claim to cover you in the case of medical care, but as a consumer you have very few rights to demand reimbursement. Thus it is not recommended that you bother with overseas insurance policies.
The simple truth is that the overwhelming majority of insurance companies do not offer anything related to medical tourism. The best option is to weigh the costs of using your own medical insurance to have the procedure done home versus the cost of travelling abroad for the healthcare.
Additionally, some surgical procedures are not even covered by insurance policies. Another problem is that wait times for certain operations such as hip and knee replacements are painfully long. At the end of the day you may find that it’s quicker and more convenient to have the surgery done overseas.
A whole sub-sector of the travel industry has emerged recently to provide package tours for people seeking medical care abroad. Agencies like MedRetreat set up the air flight, the hospital arrangements and the post-operative recovery accommodation at a pleasant vacation resort of your choice. These companies also check the background of the medical institutions they use, so by paying a little extra you can rest assured that you’ll be going to a reputable facility.