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US insurance options for medical treatment abroad

What insurance do I need for treatment abroad?


Ordinary travel insurance is not enough if you are going abroad for medical treatment – find out about specialist medical travel insurance.


The most important thing to know is that if you are travelling abroad for the sole purpose of pre-planned medical treatment, then your standard travel insurance will not cover you. Not only will it not cover any problems that arise out of your treatment, it may not cover you for any aspect of your trip if it is purely for medical reasons, even if your bags are lost or your wallet is stolen.


That is why you need to look carefully at your insurance if you are heading abroad for treatment. There are a number of medical travel insurance policies for medical travel that you can get, each with different benefits.


US travel insurance for medical tourism


With the growing medical tourism market, an increasing number of insurance companies will offer special travel insurance that covers trips abroad for treatment in the same way that they would cover any other foreign trip.


These special medical tourism insurance policies will still exclude anything that happens as a direct result of your treatment, such as an extended recovery delaying your return, but they will cover the usual items such as baggage, personal possessions etc.


Medical complications insurance


It is sometimes possible to buy insurance to cover you if your medical costs are more than you were quoted, through no fault of the clinic or hospital. This is called medical cost over-run insurance and gives you the peace of mind that your treatment will be covered without you facing an unexpected extra bill at the end. This cover is sometimes offered by the clinic or hospital concerned, but check the policy carefully before you pay out your premium.


Medical travel insurance


Some companies now offer travel insurance products that are specifically tailored to cover medical tourism. These not only cover the standard elements of travel insurance, but also the specific, medical-related elements too, such as:

  • cancellation of your procedure and loss of deposit.
  • complications during your procedure.
  • extended recovery time and associated costs.
  • post-operative problems while still overseas.
  • post-operative problems once you are home.
  • the cost of returning for remedial treatment.

These policies are few and far between, but they are well worth seeking out for their tailored and highly specific cover.


Do I really need insurance cover?


Absolutely. It doesn't take long for the savings you make by travelling abroad for treatment to be wiped out by cost over-runs and complications. Even a few extra nights for you and your companion can run to hundreds of pounds or more. What's more, if your standard travel insurance is invalid, you will be at risk of all manner of extra costs for losses and liabilities.


Even if the problems you encounter are the direct fault of your surgeon, hospital or clinic, this can be very hard to prove and get compensation for. Medical negligence is difficult enough to establish under international laws, let alone in a foreign country, and cases can take years to drag through the courts, costing you everything you have. Without insurance, you have no choice but to pay the extra bill, even if you are in the right and the extra costs are not your fault.


Please note that SilaMed cannot provide any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and does not make recommendations in choosing a German medical provider – that is a decision that remains entirely up to you.

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