LEGAL ISSUES & MEDICAL TOURISM
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS IN CASE OF MEDICAL COMPLICATIONS?
Most hospitals, wherever they are located, will not cover the cost of medical complications. Therefore it is important to speak to your international medical provider to see their definition of what constitutes a “medical complication”. Is it simply a surgical procedure that, due to unforeseen but manageable difficulties, takes a little longer than expected? Or, is it an additional problem that arises following a procedure, treatment or illness and is secondary to it, as Medicinenet.com defines it. The differences may seem minor; however, they become all too real, for example, if you are a morbidly obese medical tourism patient who requires additional surgical equipment and time to get a breathing tube down your trachea – and are later charged one thousand five hundred dollars extra for it. The moral of the story is: ask questions and get everything in writing first – before your procedure. Will my insurance cover the cost of complications? The correct answer to this question will depend on the type of policy you hold, however, don’t count on your insurance covering complications related non elective procedures such as cosmetic surgery and weight loss surgery.
WHAT IF I DECIDE NOT TO HAVE MY SURGERY, WILL I BE ABLE TO GET MY MONEY BACK?
Again, this will depend on the policy of the hospital you have chosen, as well as when you cancel your procedure. Make sure to have the answer to this question in writing. However, most international hospitals I have spoken to will refund a majority if not all of the money you have paid.
IF THE HOSPITAL DECIDES NOT TO PERFORM THE SURGERY WILL I RECEIVE MY MONEY BACK?
If you are dealing with a recognized medical provider then the answer is almost sure to be an unqualified yes. Nevertheless, you need to talk with your particular hospital or medical tourism facilitator for full cancellation policy details, particularly if you are dealing with lesser known, or non-accredited medical providers. You need to be extremely careful of the hospital and clinic you choose, as some may refuse to give back your money and therefore you must make sure you are using a hospital or clinic that is reputable and trustworthy. Many hospitals and clinics throughout the world promote themselves to American, Canadian and UK medical tourism patients that should not be.