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Medical Tourism - Benefits, Cautions and the Process

     You've heard a lot about the rising cost of healthcare. Well, 'medical tourism' is a way to lower your costs. It's especially attractive to retirees unable to qualify for Medicare too. Let's take a look at what it is.

'Medical Tourism' refers to seeking quality medical help outside the U.S at significantly lower cost. It represents a more affordable means of getting treatment for Americans who lack insurance coverage as those:

* not yet old enough to qualify for Medicare

* undergoing elective and cosmetic surgery not covered by their insurance, or

* with pre-existing conditions not covered by their insurer.

-The prime benefit of medical tourism is quality care at reduced costs:

Clearly, what's driving this trend is the rising cost of medical care not covered by insurance. Today less-affluent Americans are going on pilgrimages for significantly lower-cost care.

The leading medical-tourism destination hospitals are among the more than 150 accredited by the Joint Commission International, a global arm of the group that inspects and grades hospitals throughout America. Most of the physicians made available to American patients were trained in the U.S., Canada, or the United Kingdom.

Dwight Mazzone, is president of Las Vegas-based medical tourism facilitator, ClinicaTerra. But he was a past president of the National Association of Health Underwriters, a 20,000-member trade group of insurance agents, brokers, and benefit specialists. That organization facilitated medical tourism within the U.S seeking U.S. cities that offered less expensive coverage than that offered at another U.S. city. He says the same is happening now at the international level.

The quality in the international destination hospitals is better than the average U.S. facility because they're among the best in their respective countries. The mortality rate in U.S. hospitals is about 2.34 per 1,000 compared to 0.8 per 1,000 for overseas JCI-accredited institutions. So, safety is a non-issue. Mazzone noted that 500,000 Americans traveled overseas for some type of medical procedure in 2006. In fact, many of the hospitals in Bangkok and India offer concierge service!

There's a Boston-based company, Health Base, that offers clients seeking surgery or treatment abroad a choice of hospitals in nine countries and is looking to add to its roster. Its Chief Executive Saroja Mohanasundarum said. "As long as it's high quality at an affordable cost, we want to give people choices. The typical cost of knee-replacement surgery in the U.S. is about $50,000 whereas in India, it's around $7,000. Our clients know the cost upfront, get to choose their doctor based on his or her training and can speak with the doctor before committing to a procedure."

-Other considerations to medical tourism:

Some insurance companies and employers may pay partial refunds, or at least cover transportation and housing. Check out your companies policies

Malpractice presents a problem. It's difficult to get compensation for medical practice in some countries - even is you win the suit.

Offshore medical locations may present the possibility of contracting diseases rarely encountered at home. This includes contagious diseases during your surgery recuperation. Again, your healthcare worker there should be aware of any such possibilities and take the appropriate measures of caution.

-How to engage in medical tourism for yourself:

First contact a medical tourism provider. This is an organization or company that arranges for patients to find suitable offshore facilities and assists patients in carrying out their medical procedures there.

Then, the medical provider will require you to supply medical diagnosis on your ailment, a doctor's opinion and your medical history.

Certified doctors or consultants, based on your records, will advise you on your medical treatment. Additionally, they'll discuss approximate cost, offshore hospitals, and duration of your stay there.

You'll be presented with 'consent bonds and agreements' to the whole process to sign, after which you'll receive a recommendation letter for obtaining a medical visa at the appropriate country's embassy.

You'll travel to the offshore medical facility, where the medical tourism provider will assign a case worker will take care of your living accommodation and treatment.

Afterward, you can return home or do some tourist traveling at your location.

Article Source:

Shane Flait helps you with your financial legal, tax, and retirement goals. Get his FREE report on Managing Your Retirement => Read his ebook: 'Wise Way to Financial Independence' =>

Posted on 2012-03-19, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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