What is Medical Tourism


What is Medical Tourism

Travel information, news and resources regarding the world of medical tourism, with special focus on its relationship to travel insurance :

Medical tourism is the name given to the process of people seeking planned or elective medical treatments in a country outside of their own.

The process will not normally be covered by a standard travel insurance policy and is unlikely to be covered under someone’s health insurance policy unless specifically and directly arranged by the person’s insurance company, where some cover may be provided in very limited circumstances.

It is for the individual to plan the process and execute the whole procedure with all the risks and caveats that entails.

Types of Medical Tourism

Medical tourism can apply to a wide range of different procedures and can happen for many different reasons.

The main types of procedures can either be cosmetic or surgical or medical or a combination of all three. The most common procedures include dental care, cosmetic surgery, orthopaedic surgery, fertility treatments, cancer care etc.

Reasons for medical tourism

The chief reasons for someone seeking medical treatment overseas normally relate either to the cost of the treatment in their own country compared to another country, or the delay in waiting to get treatment in their own country as opposed to overseas.

For a lot of people in the USA, the main reason is often financial, whilst in other countries such as the UK people often see treatment abroad either because of the long waiting list for certain procedures, or the lack of provision of certain cosmetic treatments on the NHS.

Risks of Medical Tourism

There are many obvious risks associated with someone seeking medical treatment outside of their own country, but mostly these risks can be managed and minimized if proper time and planning are put into the research needed to make this happen safely.

The main risks/research areas include :

  • Checking the clinical capabilities of the hospital or clinic providing the procedure
  • Checking the qualifications and credentials of the clinical staff involved in the surgery or medical treatment.
  • The level of risk of infectious diseases within the country where the procedure is taking place
  • The general quality of care if it’s likely to be available to the individual both pre and post-op.
  • The individual’s ability to communicate with doctors and nurses possibly in a different language.
  • Whether or not proper aftercare can be provided in the country where the procedure is taking place, and if so for how long.
  • How aftercare can be provided in the individual’s own country of residence
  • The risks of air travel back to the country of residence after the procedure
  • How any complications can be managed and dealt with if needed once the person has returned home.

Whilst this may seem a long list of potential problems, these concerns are based on many people’s experiences of seeking medical treatment overseas.

Medical tourism is, generally speaking, not something that should be undertaken lightly and should only be done with the utmost care and consideration.

Government is provide a lot of valuable sources of information, below are links to the CDC and the UK government’s advice on medical tourism.

Also are several articles that highlight the risks and benefits of medical tourism which can act as a useful guide for anyone considering going down this route.

See Also :

What is Health Insurance

What is Personal Accident Insurance


Medical Tourism Articles

MS Treatment in Mexico

Medical Tourism – MS Treatment in Mexico

travelMedical tourism has a slightly jaded feel to it, with the impression that it is normally about people seeking treatment in other countries either because the cost of it is so expensive in their own, or because some reason their own country does not provided.

There is another aspect to people seeking treatment abroad, where ever they may live, which got often is much more about the chance of survival.

People who live with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) not only have to live with the often debilitating effects of the condition itself, but also with the knowledge that there is very little likelihood of any cure being developed in the foreseeable future.

There is very little hope that much can really change by way of current research results.

This, sadly has been true for quite a while. It has often led to both a very conservative approach to alternative treatments, and often desperation by people who had this condition to try anything which can alleviate or change the effects of it.

One of the more promising trials currently being pioneered involves the use of chemotherapy drugs to effectively wipe out an individual’s complete immune system, and replace it with stem cell transplant’s.

The reality of it seems to be harrowing as it sounds, but it does at least offer some hope some level of improvement for a number of people.

There have been quite a few reports of its in the press recently.

This is a story on the BBC website  of a journalist, Caroline Wyatt, who underwent treatment at a specialist clinic in Mexico.

It gives an incredible insight into both the lead up to undergoing the treatment, and that reality of what is involved in trying to live with the after-effects.

BBC – Mexico MS Medical Tourism