Medical Travel, for most, is a relatively new idea. On a percentage basis, the number of people seeking healthcare outside the United States is fairly small. A vast majority of treatments and procedures are still done in-country. It’s your body, and traveling for medical treatment is a choice that every individual should make for themselves. The world is really coming of age in the healthcare industry, and the amount of information you need to make an informed decision about your health, globally speaking, is staggering.
That brings me to the topic of this post: choosing a Medical Tourism Advocate. You’ll want to know first if medical travel is even practical or advisable . That is a decision you should make based on the recommendations of your doctor. Other factors may include cost, and availability of the treatment you need. As you probably already know, if you’ve looked in to Medical Tourism at all, costs are anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3, and in some cases 1/10, of the costs for the same procedures here in the US. In many cases that will include travel and lodging costs for you and a companion. On the availability side of the equation there are some treatments which are not available in the US, such as stem cell therapy. If you are at the end of your treatment rope at home, you aren’t limited by the border lines of your home country.
Once your and your doctor have talked it over and you’ve, at the very least, decided you’re going to look into Medical Tourism, where are you going to get reliable information? That’s where a Medical Tourism Advocate comes in. These companies have spent many years developing relationships with the best people and top-notch doctors that work in the most advanced hospitals around the world. They’ve sifted through a mountainous amount of information to discover who does what type of treatment the best. Apart form the fact that they can arrange all of the travel and see to that you get the best doctor for your particular need, good Medical Tourism Advocates will ensure that you have the continuity of care you deserve.
How will you know the Medical Travel Advocate (or facilitator, as they are more commonly known) is reliable? Here are some guidelines.
A reputable advocate should:
- Work only with Joint Commission International accredited hospitals. In the case of stem cells, services are provided in clinics but a good advocacy will have pre-screened potential service providers to assure reputability.
- Provide a list of services providers and the destinations in which they operate
- Have a list of prescreened accommodations that will meet your pre and post operative needs and assure they are met.
- Create a communication plan for you and your loved ones and your attending physician and your service providers abroad. This should include a prepaid cellular phone that is able to call back to your home country.
- Provide a list of payment options that suit your needs
- Negotiate with your insurance company at your request to see if your insurance provider will waive deductibles and co-pays due to the savings they will experience.*
- Provide for translation services if needed
- Provide you with a list of people who have used their service so you can talk with them.
- Assist with leisure plans for touring if you so desire
This is a short list, but these few basic guidelines are essential to choosing the right Medical Travel Advocacy Company. Your comfort is the most important part of any experience in the world of healthcare. Going under the knife can be a worrisome and fearful experience. You’ll want to make sure that you feel comfortable with the people and services you decide to accept. If you aren’t, get a second or even third opinion. After all, it’s your health we’re talking about.