From time to time we receive calls from customers asking if our travel insurance covers travel overseas for medical treatment.  Some companies specialise in providing packages for what has become known as ‘medical tourism’ to combine surgery with a relaxing recuperation in the sun.

If you know anyone who is thinking of embarking on a trip abroad for elective cosmetic, dental, or any other type of surgery please tell them that travel insurance policies only cover emergency treatment due to unexpected illness or accidents.  To our knowledge, at the time of writing, travel insurance to cover overseas travel for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment is not available to UK residents.

The same applies to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).  The EHIC (formerly E111) only covers accidents or unexpected illness for EU citizens while travelling within EU countries.  Also, be aware that the EHIC provides for emergency treatment in state medical facilities only – not private clinics.

If you decide to travel abroad for private medical procedures such as cosmetic, dental, laser eye surgery, orthopaedic, or obesity treatment it is very important to do your research.  Treatment and follow-up often entails several trips back and forth.

Lastly, be aware that you cannot call upon the British Consulate to help out with costs if things do not go to plan. Read the FCO advice about Travelling Abroad for Medical Treatment here.

Whatever you decide, be aware of the risks and thoroughly research your chosen destination, surgeon, and hospital or clinic.  Weigh the risks and costs involved if you consider travelling abroad for medical treatment.

Flickr cc Image: Niki-Photography

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