Going overseas for surgical treatment can be overwhelming for anybody. After all, it’s not like going to a hospital down the road where you have been to before and know all the doctors and nurses. To be successful in your pursuit of low-cost high quality medical treatment, there is a step by step process that you must follow to gain confidence in your decision, get the right care and save money.
STEP 1: FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE TREND OF MEDICAL TOURISM
Find out why everybody is raving about it and why they are willing to travel half the world for it. Learn from the experience of others. Read news and articles on the subject.
STEP 2: RESEARCH ON THE MEDICAL PROCEDURE
Find out all you can about the medical procedure in question – problems it solves, follow-up care needed, physical therapy required, etc. This will help you clear 3 doubts: is the procedure right for your condition; are you the right candidate for the procedure; and should you go abroad for it.
STEP 3: FIND OUT IF MEDICAL TOURISM IS WHAT YOU WANT
Medical tourism is not always a good choice for non-emergency medical treatments. Sometimes transportation costs may outweigh the possible savings achievable by going abroad. In some cases, the time required for the surgery abroad may be too much for you to spare. Or, the surgery you need may not be available abroad with a reputable health care provider.
STEP 4: LEARN ABOUT MEDICAL TOURISM DESTINATIONS
Some countries have the reputation for top-quality cardiac surgery while others for world-class orthopedics and yet others for cosmetic procedures. So make your selection wisely. Sometimes distance can also play an important role in your decision-making, like in the case of small dental jobs. You should also prepare yourself for culture differences.
STEP 5: LEARN ABOUT INTERNATIONAL FACILITIES AND SURGEONS
When researching on any health care provider try to find answers to the following:
Does the hospital or clinic employ the latest equipments and technology? Do they have expertise in the medical procedure you are seeking? What accreditations and awards do they have? Are the surgeons qualified enough? Where did they receive their education and training?
Answering these questions will give you a fair idea of the standard of quality of the provider.
STEP 6: ARRANGE ALL YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS
You will need them at the time of pre-consultation with your overseas surgeon as well as when you go abroad for surgery. Depending upon the condition you are treating, medical records you may need are: X-Rays, X-Ray reports, MRI’s, health histories, photographs, immunization record, prescriptions, etc..
STEP 7: REQUEST AND COMPARE QUOTES
Costs of health care vary from country to country and provider to provider. So request for quotes and compare them. Your selection of a particular provider and country should be based not just on low cost but also on quality as well as distance.
STEP 8: CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE FOR COVERAGE
With the numerous benefits that medical tourism offers, today some insurance companies have medical tourism plans. So, if you are covered under an overseas medical treatment plan, your insurer might cover your medical tourism expenses in full or in part. So check with your health insurance company for coverage details.
STEP 9: ACQUIRE YOUR PASSPORT AND VISA
If you and/or your travel companion (if any) do not have a passport, you will need to acquire it. Check with the foreign country’s embassy if a visa is required for entry and apply for it accordingly.
STEP 10: PLAN YOUR ITINERARY
When planning your itinerary, allow ample time for recovery. Be prepared to stay longer/shorter than expected. If you have travel or tourism on mind, allow time for that as well.
STEP 11: BOOK TICKETS AND ROOMS
Book tickets for yourself and your companion. After your surgery, you can choose to relax at a resort or in a hotel or go traveling in the foreign country. So if possible, make arrangements beforehand.
STEP 12: APPLY FOR TRAVEL INSURANCE PLAN
Consider purchasing one of the short-term health and emergency assistance policies designed for travelers. Travel insurance gives medical tourists coverage for unforeseen problems, from a canceled flight to a serious illness.
STEP 13: APPLY FOR MEDICAL FINANCE LOAN
If you do not have enough money for your medical treatment overseas, you may consider applying for medical loan or dental loan. Loan processing companies provide patient payment plans for plastic surgery, dental procedures, bariatric procedures, dermatology treatments, hospital, etc.
STEP 14: PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR RECOVERY
In certain cases, you may need to prepare your home for recovery. For example, if you are seeking affordable hip resurfacing surgery abroad, you may want to rearrange furniture in your house in advance before you leave to aid during the recovery stages.
STEP 15: PACK YOUR BAGS AND TAKE THE TRIP
Ensure that you have packed comfortable clothing. Bring some local currency, travelers checks, and one or two major credit cards. Keep important contact information handy. Bring all the required medical records. Remember to carry all your medical reports as well as any medicines in your carry-on luggage. Finally, take your well-planned medical trip and return home happy and healthy!