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Hidden Costs

Whether purchasing a home or eating at a restaurant, none of us likes to be confronted with unexpected charges. With a process as complex as medical tourism, where so many parts come into play, what are potential hidden costs when planning for your medical tourism trip? (You do need to anticipate some potential hidden costs that could put a damper on your experience)

Unexpected Complications:

We don’t like to think about this one but it is a possibility for every procedure at any hospital. The important thing is to understand the potential risks and complications associated with your procedure, lower these risks wherever possible, and know what the hospital or clinic’s policy is when these occur.

Longer hospital stay:

Sometimes you just don’t heal as quickly as expected. Whether this is due to a complication, or, is simply a matter of your particular physiology, does not really matter, as you will have to pay for the additional care.

Extra medication or treatment at the hospital:

Before, during or after your procedure, your physician may find it necessary to prescribe additional medication, not normally associated with the price of your procedure. Normally, in these circumstances, you will be charged extra for this. However, it is still a good idea to check with your international medical provider or medical tourism facilitator for details.

Medication you may need to purchase to bring back to your hotel or even take home with you:

The hospital or clinic will usually provide you with medication once you leave the hospital. This usually consists of pain medication and antibiotics, but can also include anti-clotting drugs or a medication protocol specific to your surgery. This may or may not be covered in the price of your surgery so make sure you read the fine print.

Extra charges specific to hotels, recovery facilities and transportation services:

So what happens if your hotel bed sheets get soiled, or if you require additional transportation or meals? Although some surgery packages do include, lodging, meals, and transportation services, it is important that you check with your international medical provider – or even go directly to the hotel to see its policy on these issues. Facilities and companies used to working with medical tourism patients will tend to have more flexible policies regarding these issues.

Medical Tourism Facilitators or hospitals providing inaccurate price estimates:

Though rare, this can happen and there is no real way to prepare for it. You can, however, minimize the possibility of this occurring by submitting accurate information about your condition and general health. Your legal rights and recourse options will depend on the laws of the particular country you are in. However, it goes without saying that this type of situation is not good for the hospital and medical tourism facilitator – not to mention medical tourism in general, and it is a good bet that they will do everything possible to resolve the situation to your satisfaction.

Additional treatment required due to medical tourism patients not being forthcoming about their medical history:

For whatever reasons, some people prefer to withhold information about their previous medical history. This is a big mistake that can lead to the physician having to prescribe additional medication or treatment, canceling the surgery, or to a potentially dangerous complication during or after the surgery. A typical example might be that of a medical tourism patient who hides the fact that he or she suffers from hypertension, which may necessitate the physician prescribing additional medication or tests. In another case, a medical tourism patient may not disclose to the physician that he or she has had a previous surgery, which could cause difficulties or complications during the surgical procedure. Both of these circumstances will probably generate additional costs not normally covered by your surgery package.

Preoperative exams:

These are the tests and exams that must be performed in order for the hospital and physician to make certain that you are a good candidate for your procedure. As the name suggests, they must be done before your surgery, sometimes even before traveling to the international hospital, and are oftentimes included in the price of your surgery. However, some medical tourism patients, due to their medical history or a chronic condition, may require additional exams not covered by the quoted surgery price. Therefore it is important to speak to your overseas physician and hospital liaison, in order to see which tests are covered in the price of your surgery.

To reduce the chance of nasty surprises, make sure that your hospital liaison or medical tourism facilitator provides you with a detailed list of the various costs you will need to pay (including potential ones). As stated previously, your surgery may be part of a package so you may not be able to request an itemized breakdown. However, you do have the right to know exactly what your expenses are likely to be, and if you will need to pay for anything else before, during, or after surgery.