Newsletter – Hidden Cost Of Medical Tourism
Considering traveling abroad to get a medical treatment, diagnostics, and/or second opinion and wondering how much it costs? We addressed cost issues in several of our blogs in the past. Today we wanted to bring to our reader’s attention the hidden costs of medical tourism.
It could be broken down into two categories – financial and non-financial. Monetary hidden costs are a bit more manageable if one prepares and asks the right questions before going.
Potential Unexpected Financial Costs
- Unexpected medical complications. All surgeries carry a risk of complications. Talk to your medical tourism professional about them. Arrange an interview with prospective doctors to better understand the rate of complications. We highly recommend looking into purchasing a medical complications insurance for traveling abroad to receive medical treatment such as Global Protective Solutions.
- Hidden hospital charges. Ask how much it costs if you need a longer hospital stay.
- Is the price you were given an all-inclusive price? Questions you need to ask are: Does this price include the surgeon fee, facility charge, anesthesia, pre and post op medications, and pre-op testing such as blood work or EKG. In some situations such as a GYN surgery, there might also be a biopsy required. Would this be included? In the case of an orthopedic surgery such as a joint replacement, is the implant included? No one likes an unexpected bill so be sure to ask all of these questions upfront!
- Additional testing for diagnosis such as a CT Scan or MRI.
- The cost of not talking to your primary care provider in your home country can be very high and it is potentially harmful to your overall health. Your family physician has the most knowledge about your situation and if you inform her of your intended travel you will place yourself in a much better position to mitigate the risks. She will be able to talk to you about different health scenarios for your particular condition. It will be easier to consult her when you are back home. No one likes surprises and it’s not worth the risk. Sometimes it can be difficult to bring up this conversation but is well worth the efforts. All Canadian doctors are aware that medical tourism exists and for the most part are supportive of it.
- Access to the doctor who performed your surgery or treatment can be limited. This one should be closely discussed and reviewed as you are going through your quotes and selection of medical specialists and facilities.
- Arranging follow-up care can be challenging and costly. Find out the recovery time and what you need to do. Your medical tourism facilitator can provide you with a quote and connect you to a physiotherapist so that you can continue the recovery process when you are back home. If you have supplemental health insurance your physiotherapy may be covered. If not, the cost of a therapist traveling to your home is about $90 per session.
All these considerations are a lot to think about and are easy to forget. Ensure you either have a good medical facilitator to keep track of these or print this list and keep it as you go through your research.