If you are traveling abroad frequently then you must have already memorized a list of the most important things and reminders that you should always take note of.
Included in the list are your travel documents, passport and visa, personal gadgets, credit card, and money in local currency. Having a good grasp of the local customs and traditions is also a great thing. But what if you are traveling abroad to seek treatment for a specific illness or you get injured while abroad?
Medical tourism is one of the fastest developing forms of tourism in the world. Two of the most common reasons are the lower cost of medical procedures in other countries and a higher quality of healthcare.
I remember that when I was studying in Spain, my Italian friends got their wisdom teeth removed in Spain because it was much cheaper to do it here than in Italy.
Here are five of the most important things that you should consider regarding medical care when traveling abroad.
1. Consider available options
Consider the options that you have when seeking professional care abroad. Most probably, you will be meeting with a doctor whom you have never met in person.
You may have learned about them through referrals and advertisements of sorts. In the country, there are already a lot of healthcare providers aligned with the international standards. If you are not able to find the one you are looking for at home, then seeking medical attention abroad is an alternative.
Will you be having a simple dental procedure that can be done in your home country or a complicated surgery that is only available abroad? Also, do the math – consider the cost of the medical procedure, accommodations, food and airfare, and compare if the savings are indeed worth it.
2. Check if it’s covered by your insurance
Most insurance companies only cover medical expenses in the country where it was offered. But some medical procedures are only performed overseas.
Fortunately, there are a number of insurance companies which agrees to cover a fraction of the cost of medical procedures performed abroad. Better check with your insurance provider to confirm.
3. Come prepared with all necessary documents
Consult with your doctor regarding the medications that you should bring as well as the preparations and precautions you need to take.
The plans must be discussed thoroughly between you, your local doctor, and foreign doctor before making the trip. Bring all related medical documents and also a doctor’s prescription of all the medicines that you have with you.
4. Hire an interpreter to avoid misunderstandings
One of the most common problems encountered by a medical tourist is the difference of the spoken language in foreign hospitals compared to his or her mother tongue.
In the present, the language barrier isn’t a problem anymore when you have a medical interpreter ready to assist you. Hire a hospital interpreter and set an appointment as early as possible. Believe me, a good interpreter makes a huge difference!
Even if you are on the other part of the world, you can easily get in touch with a medical interpreter through phone or video conference.
5. Plan for the recovery stage
Set up a plan for your recovery. Depending on the type of medical procedure, you may spend up to a few months in the hospital before you are allowed to leave.
Your doctor may also give you alternate options of staying in hotels and rehabilitation centers. The most important thing is that you should find a place where you will feel comfortable and where your period of recovery will be the shortest.
Have you had to visit a doctor when traveling abroad?
*The unedited hand and heart image is designed by Freepik.