The term “medical tourism” can be misleading, as many think it involves visiting another country for specialized care. Still, it can also refer to traveling to a different state or another part of your home state. This kind of travel and medical care comes with unique concerns you will want to consider before booking flights, hotel rooms, or appointments.
Transportation and lodging expenses can add up quickly when traveling for medical treatment in another city or country, with insurance typically covering overnight hospital stays but leaving family members to pay their own housing needs. Some facilities specializing in the care of children will have partnerships to help cover expenses for parents. You can also look into programs to help with veteran travel concerns for wounded, ill, or injured service members and their families.
Chances are that your insurance company will not cover medical care in another country, whether you are vacationing there or traveling for specialized care. Some insurance companies will only cover specific facilities in other states without prior authorization. You can check these things with a phone call to your provider and find specialized travel insurance companies for vacations or work travel.
In the digital age, your medical records can easily be shared between facilities and physicians within a network of providers, and you can request that a copy be sent to other facilities. However, having your own paper copies before traveling for specialized care is a good idea. When you travel for business or vacation, having easy access to this type of paperwork can also help in an emergency. Be sure that you have any identification, travel authorization, and other paperwork handy as well.
Traveling for medical care can ensure you receive expert treatment from specialists in their fields; however, it may be costly and involve extensive paperwork. Therefore, the more research you conduct into medical tourism with both your insurance company and potential providers before traveling is the better your experience will be.