Medical Travel and Complications Insurance vs. Travel Insurance

The differences between travel insurance and medical travel and complications insurance (often referred to as medical tourism insurance) are pretty significant. However, many Americans probably still have misconceptions about what travel insurance provides and what its coverage includes and excludes. 

What Travel Insurance Does

Essentially, travel insurance is intended for unexpected occurrences when traveling, usually for vacation. Travel insurance helps relieve the burden of unanticipated financial expenses should a covered incident occur. These incidents can include trip cancellation or interruption, luggage or credit card theft, and unexpected medical expenses during travel abroad. For our purposes, it is important to note that your standard travel insurance only covers unexpected medical expenses or emergencies. How is this different from medical travel and complications insurance? It’s all about intent.

Insurance for Medical Tourism 

Thousands of Americans each year undergo medical tourism – the process of traveling to receive medical treatment in a foreign country. Unlike the type of medical emergency or accident that may kick travel insurance into gear, the procedures involved in medical tourism are carefully planned in advance. There are many reasons why patients choose to do this: to pay less for procedures, to undergo treatments or work that is not approved in the US, and other reasons. So what does medical tourism insurance do, anyway? For one, unlike travel insurance, it does not pay for the medical costs themselves.

Medical Travel Insurance Is Also Not Health Insurance

This is important. If a person is traveling abroad for the express purpose of receiving medical care, neither travel insurance, health insurance, nor medical travel insurance will pay for the cost of the procedure itself. Patients who choose medical tourism must self pay for their procedures, and often choose to do this because of the lower healthcare costs in other countries.

What Medical Tourism Insurance Does

Essentially, medical tourism insurance for individuals provides coverage for complications that may occur during the patient’s procedure or during recovery. With all the benefits of medical tourism, there are certain risks as well. While the benefits outweigh the risks for those looking for less expensive medical care, the smart patient will still want to have the added protection of medical travel and complications insurance. In the event of complications, this insurance provides relief from any financial hardship that may be incurred. It is a necessity for anyone considering international medical tourism travel.

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