You may have heard the term medical tourism in the news or from friends, and you’re wondering what it means, who travels, and why it’s such a big industry now. This guide will answer all of those questions and more, explaining medical travel, and how you can get started planning your own trip to see medical specialists in other countries. Medical travel can seem like an overwhelming undertaking with so many options available. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to start exploring your options today!
What is Medical Tourism?
When a patient leaves their own country to receive medical treatment, they engage in medical tourism. Millions of Americans travel outside the country each year to receive medical care. US citizens seeking affordable healthcare often go to other parts of North and South America and the Caribbean for treatment.
There is a variety of motivating factors that prompt people to seek medical treatment in a foreign country.
- Reasonable savings are to be made by traveling abroad for medical care.
- To be treated by a medical professional who understands and respects the traveler’s background and customs.
- A procedure or therapy that is not readily available or approved in the United States.
Dental work, surgical operations, cosmetic surgery, fertility treatments, organ and tissue transplants, and cancer therapy are some of the most often sought-after procedures among medical tourists.
5 Things to Consider Before Getting Medical Tourism
1. Do Thorough Research
Learn as much as you can online about the clinic and the physician. Hospitals are subject to extensive scrutiny through accreditation, while individual doctors are not. A reputable hospital would never endanger its standing by employing fake surgeons, but it is still wise to learn more about the doctors who would be performing your procedure.
In many cases, a simple online search will yield all the answers you seek or, at the absolute least, will alert you to any critical red flags. Asking about the surgery’s outcome isn’t enough; you also need to inquire about the pre-and post-operative care, any difficulties you should expect, and the availability of necessary medications.
2. Never Go Off on Your Own
It is recommended that patients undergoing major surgery as part of a medical tourism experience have a friend or family member present for moral support. After any surgical procedure, the patient must undergo a time of recovery, the length of which varies widely according to the extent of the incisions made. Having a friend or family member there to provide psychological and physical support is vital, especially for patients who are in a strange place and experiencing discomfort while healing, which can be difficult.
3. Consult With Your Primary Care Physician
If you decide to have surgery in a different country, you should coordinate your care with your normal physician as usual. This includes both the pre-and post-operative periods. Your overseas doctor should be able to communicate with your regular doctor. In addition to being the courteous thing to do from a medical standpoint (your overseas doctor should be informed of any health issues), this will also help build trust between you and your doctor. It’s crucial to give your local doctor’s advice due consideration because your health is their top priority.
4. Medical Travel is NOT a Vacation
Even though the weather is perfect for a Pina Colada and the poolside bar is calling your name, don’t let your mind wander away from the medical operation that brought you there. Prolonged sun exposure can darken scars, a pool can expose you to various infections in any location that requires stitches or sutures, and alcohol can have a negative effect on a variety of medications. Healing from surgery should be a top priority to reduce the likelihood of infection and other problems. If you want to see the country where your surgery will take place, do so either before your procedure or after you’ve given yourself enough time to recover.
5. Make Sure You’re Covered by Health Insurance
Elective medical treatments received abroad are often not covered by common health and travel policies. Verify that you have comprehensive coverage by carefully reviewing your insurance. You should investigate whether your specific needs are covered by policies designed for medical tourism.
Consider the Experts!
Moving abroad can be a great opportunity to improve your health, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into. It can be hard to know where to start when researching medical travel and tourism, especially if you’re unfamiliar with how it works or how it might affect you.
If you’re thinking of moving abroad for medical travel and tourism, you should consider hiring professional movers like Safebound Moving & Storage and save yourself much stress and discomfort!
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