"Medical Complications Insurance" for Medical Tourists Launched

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Until recently, most Americans who traveled for medical care abroad went for dentistry and cosmetic surgery or other procedures not usually covered by insurance. However now more and more Americans are beginning to travel to India and South Asian Countries for serious medical treatments and elective procedures such as heart surgery and hip replacements.

While the difference in medical costs are almost one tenth , for example open-heart surgery in the U.S. costs in excess of $100,000, the same procedure at an internationally-accredited hospital in India can cost one-tenth as much. For that reason, even some insurers are starting to add foreign providers to their networks.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, for example, has created a medical-tourism unit called Companion Global Healthcare that helps to facilitate care for patients at 18 internationally-accredited hospitals across 10 countries. Members in some group and individual health-care plans can access the foreign hospitals for in-network care; services also are available to uninsured patients.

While its true that most Indian healthcare companies boast of international standards in clinical specialties,some issues like post operative care,long distance travel specially for heart patients remain a problem specially for US and European patients.

It is precisely for these reasons insurance companies have come up with a Insurance plan to cover medical complications specifically for the " Medical Travelers"

Seven Corners Inc., a specialty trip insurer, introduced policies last year covering medical complications for medical tourists. The policies cover treatment of common surgical complications such as a reaction to anesthesia, blood clots and infections during and after treatment abroad. The policies provide no-deductible coverage for unexpected expenses and follow-up care, the company says.

Insurance broker Custom Assurance Placements introduced a similar program called Global Protective Solutions in December. One-time costs start at $70 and increase according to the riskiness of the procedure and the health of the applicant. A policy for major heart surgery can cost $5,000.

courtesy: Wall Street Journal


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