What is Medical Tourism?
Medical tourism, also known as health tourism or global healthcare can be defined as the process of traveling outside the country of residence for the purpose of receiving medical care. What really puts the word “tourism” in medical tourism concept is that people often stay in the foreign country after the medical procedure. Travelers can thus take advantage of their visit by sightseeing, taking day trips or participating in any other traditional tourism activities.
Is it legal to seek healthcare services abroad?
Yes, it is perfectly legal for an American or a Canadian to receive treatments outside their own country of residence. More than one million Canadians and Americans already travel abroad every year for medical purposes. This process is becoming more and more popular. According to certain studies, around 50 000 Canadians and 700 000 Americans went abroad in 2013 for medical purposes.
How many Canadians and Americans already travel abroad for medical purposes?
Medical tourism is becoming more and more popular and relates to a very diverse population.
In Canada, we know at least 46 000 patient went abroad in 2011 for medical purposes. This number is increasing and is considered a very low estimate:
“In total, in 2011, an estimated 46,159 Canadians sought medical care in another country. (Esmail, 2012). This number is likely an underestimate of the actual number of Canadians who left Canada for healthcare. Importantly, these numbers are based on responses to a survey of specialist physicians, which means that patients who leave Canada without consulting a specialist are not likely to be included in the count.”
As for the US, most of the studies estimate the number of American patients going abroad between 500 000 and 1 000 000 every year.
Nadeem Esmail is the Fraser Institute’s former Director of Health System Performance Studies and Manager of the Alberta Policy Research
What are the motivations to travel abroad as a medical tourist?
Avoiding long wait lists, costs savings, and pursuit of services not available in the country of residence are the most common motivations. Many of our patients decide to stay a few more days/weeks in the country after the procedure to combine a holiday in a warm area after the medical procedure or during the rehabilitation time.
Are the medical providers as reliable as in Canada and in USA?
MediTravel International only works with accredited providers. The facilities only provide services matching North American medical standards. Our clients usually find those medical centers even better than at home. It is not surprising since those medical centers are accustomed to receiving international patients and often have more staff per patient than you would find in Canadian or American hospitals. The surgeons, doctors, and specialist working with us often have received their training in North America or in Europe and are able to speak English and/or Spanish and/or French.
Is it possible to talk to the surgeon or physician before the procedure?
Yes, a consultation over the phone or on Skype can be organized with the treating physician before booking the procedure.
Why use MediTravel International instead of arranging the medical travel on your own?
Arranging a medical trip on your own can be a threat to your safety. As a medical tourism facilitator which has been providing medical assistance for more than 25 years, MediTravel International knows the process of medical tourism. MediTravel International reduces your amount of stress while providing many other services for your peace of mind. Depending on your needs and requirements, we will ensure for you an affordable, timely, and high quality procedure after having negotiated the best price possible for the procedure itself. In addition, the prices negotiated by MediTravel International are often lower than what you would pay if you were dealing with the medical centers on your own.
How can I start the process?
Give us a call or request a free quote on our website. Depending on your medical needs and the destinations desired, we will then contact our network of medical providers before coming back to you with an estimated price. This process usually takes just a few days.
Why procedures abroad are less expensive?
Costs related to healthcare services are the highest in the world in North America. Travelling to other countries for a medical or a dental procedure can reduce the costs of the treatment itself by 30 – 60% for the same quality of services. Those savings are possible due to the fact that medical and hospital fees are considerably lower in countries such as in Latin America, Asia and Europe.
What are the risks?
No matter where you are, there is always a small chance of complication when having a medical procedure. However, we only collaborate with accredited medical providers accustomed to receiving international patients and provide you all necessary advice to be fully prepared before the treatment. Therefore, medical tourists usually find their experience in our facilities better than what they could have expected in a hospital in the US or in Canada thanks to the high quality of care and services received.
How will I pay for my procedure?
A deposit for the procedure, your flight tickets and your hotels must be paid in advance through MediTravel International. Once you have decided on the service provider, facility and choice of travel date, your air tickets, hotels and deposit for procedure must be paid. We will be pleased to help you with financing options. Indeed, full financing for Canadians and Americans is available for your medical trip.
Can I seek reimbursement for my medical trip?
Canadians are typically out of pocket, especially when the purpose of the trip is related to an elective surgery. However, we advise you to contact the Ministry of Health Services of your province or your private insurances to study the different possibilities.
Costs of the procedures for Americans can sometimes be covered through their employer or their private insurance.
Usually, costs involved for your medical travel are tax deductible.
Can I travel with someone?
Yes, many medical tourists decide to travel with a friend or family member. Flight tickets and accommodations at the destination will be prepared accordingly. For instance, as a friend or a family member, it is possible to stay in the same hospital and/or in the same hotel/rehab center with the patient. However, to be sure you would never feel alone during your medical trip thanks to our personal assistant, our 24/7 concierge services and the staff working at destination. There will be always someone available for you.
Upon arrival at destination, what should I do?
Our personal assistant will wait for you at the airport once you arrive at your destination. Our 24 hours concierge will accompany you to medical appointments, will arrange for transportation and, be with you pre- and post- operatively in the hospital and available once you are discharged to your hotel or resort. In addition, they may be available for your possible tourism activities.
When should I arrive there?
Your date of arrival depends on the destination and your treatment. MediTravel International and your healthcare provider will let you know how many days before the procedure you would need to be there.
How long do I have to stay abroad?
Depending on the treatment, you may have to stay at the medical center for a few days after the procedure and to recover in a rehabilitation center. Many patients also decide to stay longer after the treatment to combine tourism activities. Your treating physician will tell you of your expected recovery time and will clear you when you can safely travel home after your surgery. Your travel itinerary will be planned ahead accordingly.
How can I ensure the follow up care?
Unfortunately, most of the medical tourism facilitators avoid dealing with the follow up and continuity of care. MediTravel International provides the necessary medical information after the procedure to ensure your continuity of care once back home.