Tips For Getting Medical Treatment Abroad
1. Ask your doctor if you are fit to travel overseas with your medical condition.
2. Once you decide to continue your treatment abroad, keep your local doctor informed so that you can continue your follow up treatment without a hitch.
3. Research the hospital or dentist you plan to visit. When selecting the international hospital that’s best for your needs, you should consider the hospital’s accreditation, awards and recognitions, facility and equipment, and the range and quality of the hospitals’ services. Ideally, visit the hospital first to get a feel for it’s capabilities. Undergo a Health Screening Program to get an overall health check and experience the services of the hospital in a low risk environment.
4. Check the credentials and experience of the doctor who will treat you. Make sure to get second opinions. Many international hospital hubs have several great hospitals to choose from. Don’t be afraid to check with a second hospital at the destination before choosing a treatment.
5. Find out about the procedure and compare your expectations with what’s achievable by the surgery. Also enquire about follow-up care needed, time required for recovery, physical therapy, etc.
6. Please note that in most cases the final decisions on your treatment will be made only after the doctor meets you and examines you in person. It is possible that your doctor, upon examining you, may decide you are not fit for surgery, or recommends treatment different from what you planned.
1. Certain documents must always be with you. Ensure that you carry multiple copies and keep the originals in a safe place when abroad.
a. Records like X-Rays, MRI’s, health histories, photographs, immunization records, prescriptions, and any other health records relevant to the surgery. Remember to carry all these medical reports and any medicines in your carry-on luggage.
b. Passport and visa: You will need a passport for yourself and your travel companion (if any). Depending upon the country you are traveling from, you may or may not need a visa. Some countries now offer a medical visa. Make sure to check what is available from their consulate or embassy.
c. Credit cards, debit cards and travelers checks: Bring some local currency, travelers checks and one or two major credit cards and debit cards. Some hospitals will not accept checks. Make sure to inform your credit card company that you’ll be traveling to the country where you plan to receive care.
d. Carry your driver’s license or any valid proof of identity and make sure it will remain valid while you’re traveling.
Be sure to check the visa requirements for medical travelers of the country to which you plan to visit. It may vary, country by country, and also determine the number of days you can spend in country and if you can make a return trip.
India – India’s medical eVisa allows medical tourists to stay for one year with three entries permitted.
Thailand – Thailand’s medical travel “MT” visa allows medical tourists to stay for 60 days which is 30 days longer than the general tourist entry permit. For travelers over the age of 50, Thailand now allows a stay of ten years in two increments of five years which is helpful for long term medical living in the country. No expat work is permitted on this visa. Learn more from the Thai Embassy: http://thaiembdc.org/consular-services/tourist-visas/tourist-visa-category-mt/
Thailand Update – Thailand is now planning to extend its “MT” Visa to visitors from the U.S. and Japan and allow a 90 day stay for medical treatment.
Malaysia – An eVISA (Medical) for healthcare travelers from China, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Serbia and Montenegro and is only valid for a single journey to Malaysia for purposes of medical trips for the maximum of 30 days. Upon consultation with the hospital in Malaysia, patients that are required stay exceeding 30 days have to obtain a long term Medical Pass for their medical treatment. Learn more from the Immigration Department of Malaysia: https://www.windowmalaysia.my/evisa/evisa.jsp
While the costs for treatment at a international hospital may be considerably less than that of your local hospital and within management by credit card or cash payment, there are some companies which offer international medical insurance which may cover most of the costs. Please see our ‘Tools’ section for more details on options.
You are required to produce your passport at the registration counter to get registered at the hospital. The hospital will maintain a copy of your passport (photo page and visa page) in your hospital record. You can schedule appointments on hospitals websites and many now schedule appointments with the WhatsApp app.