• International Insurance Blog

  • Monday, July 24, 2017

It is not uncommon now for US patients to travel abroad for their medical needs. Until recently, most Americans who travelled abroad for medical care were uninsured or were seeking procedures not covered by insurance, such as cosmetic dentistry. Now, a handful of plans are beginning to cover treatment overseas for heart surgery, hip and knee replacements and other major surgical procedures.

In the US, insurance companies Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Aetna, have begun offering coverage for medical care abroad. Employers, health plans and benefits consultants are taking notice and in some cases are launching pilot programs allowing employees to travel abroad for certain procedures. The Joint Commission International (JCI) is an American nonprofit that accredits hospitals in the U.S., to help find suitable medical centers overseas. Lately the number of international hospitals getting the thumbs-up from the JCI has been growing.

Before the medical tourism and insurance industry reached its present heights, temporary travel insurance once offered a convenient, if somewhat sneaky, way to get insured for medical treatment while overseas. But they quickly caught on, and every travel insurance company now includes a blanket statement which says that the insurance policy will not cover anyone who goes abroad with the intent of seeking medical treatment. There are also insurance policies available overseas by the country where you are visiting. These policies claim to cover you in the case of medical care, but as a consumer you have very few rights to demand reimbursement. Thus it is not recommended that you bother with overseas insurance policies.

Medical tourism insurance policies address the unique needs of the medical tourist to help them protect the financial investment that they have made in choosing to travel overseas for a medical procedure. The policy may cover up to a specific monetary amount for medical complications coverage while overseas and when the patient returns home. It could cover up to a specific monetary amount for acute illness and injuries for you and your traveling companion while overseas.

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