moneyThere are very few medical insurers who will let you take your insurance cover to another country. Government and basic medical insurance, and sometimes extended medical insurance, often does not pay for the medical procedure, meaning the patient has to pay cash.

That’s why the majority of patients going overseas for surgery at the moment are self-financing. Those who have private medical insurance are usually only able to use their payout at approved hospitals which, at the moment anyway, are mostly within their home country.

But it is in the private sector that the effects of health tourism are likely to be most deeply felt. The insurance companies too, are watching developments keenly, and the overall effect of cheaper prices in developping countries could wellpush bills for private medicine down in the medium term.

Meanwhile, going abroad is likely to become more and more acceptable. And it won’t just be for operations. People will increasingly think of combining a general health check with a beach holiday, and companies looking after overstressed execs are already thinking in terms of combining a health check with a spa or seaside hotel overseas.

Government interference in free market and health care is at an all time low in the world. Unable to depend on state health care systems many people in many parts of the world now have to resort to their private resources for the operations and medical treatments they need. Private health care in the west is notoriously expensive, for some, prohibitively so. Even commonplace medical areas like dentistry and orthodontics are extortionately priced, while surgery and major operations can completely drain personal finances. Given the costs, and the stakes, many people have looked beyond the shores of their native homelands to find cost-effective solutions.

Privilegy Private International Medical Insurance

United States health insurance policies generally do not cover members while traveling outside of the United States.  Those few policies that do provide coverage during international travel exclude the cost of obtaining and translating medical records, language translations for billing and patient care issues, and currency translations.  For this reason most Americans traveling outside the United States are advised to obtain separate international medical insurance for their trip that seamlessly handles all of these issues. This is true also for most EU citizens.

Generally, anyone healthy enough to travel is eligible for international medical insurance.  You could generally see the specific eligibility questions on the online application forms of the medical insurance companies websites.

wheelchairHowever, Pre-existing medical conditions are not covered in the medical insurance plans. Maternity expenses are not covered.  Expenses that are not “medical expenses” are often not covered (for example dental expenses are not medical expenses, so be careful when choosing your insurance!)

Expenses that you voluntarily opt for that are not prescribed by a doctor man not meet the “ordinary and necessary standard”.  For example, you might discover that a weekly spinal manipulation helps your golf game and eases back pain, but this might not meet the standard of “ordinary and necessary”.

When an insurer cannot easily determine whether an expense is “ordinary and necessary” then often the policy states that only a limited benefit is covered.  For example, outpatient counseling is usually limited to a specific dollar amount and number of visits.  This limitation does not mean that you can be cured for that specified number of medical visits, but rather that the insurer is limiting its financial responsibility to that dollar amount. 

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical condition is a health issue that started before your current insurance.  Usually this is evidenced by notations in your medical records.  Examples of medical expenses frequently not covered as pre-existing medical conditions are long term prescription drugs and seasonal allergy treatments.

How much does it cost?

Premiums are usually much less than other types of coverage but will vary by location, sex, age, length of coverage and method of payment. So it is impossible to list rates for everyone here on the Web site.  But generally these plans cost about half the price of traditional medical insurance. Premium rates are calculated online for most plans.

Are all insurance companies reputable?

It is important to realize that health insurance companies have a slightly different scale of ratings from third party rating services than life insurance companies.  This is due to the inherent differences between health insurance and life insurance.  For example, an A. M. Best rating of A+ is considered the “standard” for the best life insurance companies but an A. M. Best rating of A- is considered the highest rating for health insurance companies since health insurance companies are generally not eligible for an A+ rating de to the nature of the market and the universal practices of the health insurance industry.