While you’re adding stamps to your passport, there are certain things you should know

If you find yourself in need of international hospitals or health care clinics. You have options, but it’s important to understand what they can and cannot do, especially if you’re on a budget.

Whether you need follow-up care for a pre-existing condition, a routine check-up, dental work, or emergency treatment, there are places where you can go to get affordable and accredited medical and dental care.

Have medical travel insurance. Some health insurance plans cover you while traveling overseas. Besides health care coverage, they give you the added benefit of covering delayed travel and lost baggage.

If your insurance plan does not have medical travel insurance, you can always add it at an affordable price. A good medical travel insurance plan has a number of hospitals in its registry.

Keep this in mind when shopping around. Prior to travel, request a list of overseas hospitals that are covered by your insurance plan.

Familiarize yourself with the term and conditions before you head off to your destination of choice.

You may be asked to pay in advance for any medical treatment. This is common practice in other countries. Should this happen and you have medical travel insurance, your insurer will reimburse you upon your return. Be advised that it is always a good idea to carry a major credit card just in case and confirm with the hospital that it is accepted. They may ask for cash, in which case, you can always get a cash advance.

Another option available to people is medical travel. There are a number of accredited international hospitals and health care clinics that work with medical travel facilitators that help you.

If you are seeking medical care abroad, here are some tips to consider:

1. Be sure the international patient center is recognized with certification and our accredited. One particular international accreditation organization is Joint  Commission International, JCI. They are an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits hospitals based on patient care safety and quality of care. International hospitals must reach JCI standards to receive accreditation.

2. Are the doctors board-certified in their country or in another country of an equal medical standard? Feel free to request the CVs of medical professionals in the country you will be visiting.  Will your doctor communicate with you or your primary physician? It is not uncommon for international doctors to use a teleconference to discuss a patient’s history and upcoming treatment plan. Medical records can be transferred for accuracy.

3. Fully integrated international hospitals typically are full-service providers. They tend to have a complete medical service menu with a staff of highly qualified medical professionals, as well as major medical equipment: ER, MRI, X-ray machines, ICU, blood bank, pathology, labs, and pharmacies. Think of an integrated international hospital as a one-stop-shop. You won’t have to travel around in a foreign country to get the care you need. International hospitals are concerned about their global reputation and treat international patients with VIP treatment, complete with concierge service and family accommodations.

4. Can you communicate with your health care team clearly? This may be a consideration for a planned medical trip overseas. Try to connect with the international patient center and attending physician prior to travel to be sure this is a non-issue.

5. Does your chosen hospital have good standing in the area in which it is located?

Ask for local and international patient references to be sure.

6. While looking for a great deal on medical treatment abroad, be careful not to go on price alone. Request information about their accreditation. What is the staff to patient ratio? Do they have a high mortality rate or is the Staph (Staphylococcus) infection occurrence common at their facility? Not all hospitals publish this information online. You may have to request a copy.

7. Be sure to consider the distance between your accommodation and the health care facility. If you have to travel far in discomfort, it may be better to adjust your travel plans and pay a little more for comfort and accessibility.

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