What is Medical Tourism?
The term "Medical Tourism" simply refers to the act of traveling outside one's own area of residence to obtain healthcare services.
Also known as medical travel, health travel, health tourism or global healthcare, it is the term used to describe the rapidly growing practice of traveling across borders to obtain healthcare. This can take the form of a couple hundred kilometer drive or it can mean flying half way around the world. Individuals seek travel for virtually every type of health care, including life-threatening, cosmetic and dental treatments.
Why travel to another country for medical or dental services?
- Timely Scheduling of Treatment
- Access to Medical Treatments or Testing Currently Unavailable in your Area
- Savings on Cosmetic and Dental Treatments
The reasons are different for everyone. The most common noted reasons range from timely access to care, virtually no waiting lists, access to a treatment or procedure not currently available within your area or even within your own country, to realizing substantial savings on elective procedures such as; cosmetic surgery, permanent weight loss and dental services. Many of our clients combine a holiday in a warm or tropical destination while having a healthcare concern addressed, and, often taken care of.
What SHOULD I expect in the quality of care and medical tourism facilities?
Our clients are impressed by the quality of care, clean environment, professional caring doctors and personalized attention they receive through our healthcare services network. When selecting a healthcare provider from our network, you connect to specialists who have experience making international medical travelers feel comfortable.
Will I be able to review the qualifications of physicians / surgeons or dentists before I make a decision?
ABSOLUTELY - Yes, we feel you need this information to make an informed decision. We will provide you with a cv or physician profile which will outline their education, training, certification, experience specific to your treatment, and their clinical procedural/success rates, as well as any publications they may have authored.
Can I speak directly with the physician/ surgeon or dentist before I book my procedure?
Yes, a personal consultation can be arranged by telephone, video conference or through Skype. You may also contact both the healthcare facility and treating physician by e-mail, and we encourage you to feel free to ask as many questions as you like. If a video or telephone consultation is arranged, you should be prepared with a list of questions and have your medication and medical history information with you.
Can I have more than one surgery /procedure during the same trip?
Many clients take full advantage of the low costs and receive multiple services such as comprehensive medical exams including, MRI, full cardio work up, screening and early detection of cancer through tumour marker testing, dental exam and an audiology exam.
I have been advised that medical tourism for surgery has high risks?
Surgery has inherent risks and complications no matter where you are. The most important aspect to receiving the best treatment possible is choosing a board certified physician and accredited facility with high success rates. To mitigate risk, we investigate the physician / dentist / surgeon's credentials and facility accreditations to ensure that you have the best choices available. Our process for choosing healthcare providers takes an average of three months. To further minimize your risk, you need to be prepared, we offer specialty insurance available to clients and their companion(s) when traveling abroad specifically for medical tourism treatment.
How does Global Healthcare Connections select the healthcare providers in their medical tourism network?
The selection of medical centers within our network is based upon a number of criteria. This criteria includes several benchmarks which include a review of international, domestic, clinical and service credentials, licenses, board certifications and accreditations. We also review the credentials of the physicians and their history of working with international patients. Global Healthcare has personally met many of the physicians and dentists within our network and we have conducted on-site visits to many of the medical centers within our network. During our on-site visits, the physicians, use of technology, and innovation in laboratory and diagnostic equipment were reviewed and assessed.
Why use Global Healthcare Connections instead of going directly to a hospital or surgeon abroad?
This is one of the most important questions. First of all, we have high expectations and we understand the entire process of traveling for medical services. Choosing to work with Global Healthcare Connections will ensure you have immediate access to the best practitioners in their field of expertise. While many of our clients are capable of coordinating their medical travel on their own, we are able to reduce the amount of time, stress and the number of steps involved in order to set up your treatment.
We are able to interview every doctor and facility thoroughly to provide you with any information necessary prior to your arrival. Secondly, the prices we have negotiated with the hospitals, clinics, physicians and hotels are sometimes lower than you may get when going direct, and you get the peace of mind that we will look after all the details and support you every step of the way.
What if I need a medical treatment or procedure that is not listed on your website?
Although our website contains an extensive list of medical tourism treatments, it is by no means a complete list of the full range of healthcare available through our network of providers. Should you have a need for a medical or dental treatment not listed on our site, please contact us, we would be happy to assist you in your quest for information.
Can I expect any cost savings by travelling abroad?
Generally you will find that most elective procedures such as cosmetic surgery, permanent weight loss and dental treatments are available at significant savings. You save between 30 and 60% when compared to the costs for the same procedure at home. Prices vary greatly, the level of savings depend on the destination and the procedure for which you seek treatment. One thing you should know, regardless of the savings, our network of providers does not substitute care or experience for cost savings. We would be happy to provide you with detailed costs for your procedure, based on your destination. Simply give us a call at 1-888-974-2470 or fill out a request for general information which is free.
Why are prices for medical tourism so much less expensive than at home?
The cost advantage evolves from the lower cost of living and wages paid in most destination countries as compared to Canada and the USA.
How is payment handled for the trip and the surgery?
Your air tickets, hotels and deposit for surgery must be paid in advance through Global Healthcare Connections Inc. We will be pleased to provide you with specific payment information once you have decided on the service provider, facility and choice of travel date. Full financing for Canadian citizens is available for your medical trip; please let us know if you would like us to help you with financing options.
Can I seek re-imbursement through the government or my private medical insurance for medical travel?
Not generally and especially if it is an elective surgery. There may be special circumstances; you would have to check directly with your private medical plan administrator for private insurance, and if you are looking for support from the Canadian Government, all requests for support are reviewed on an individual basis and expenses for healthcare outside of Canada must be pre-approved prior to travel.
Are the costs of medical services outside of Canada tax deductible?
If you are incorporated there is a legal way to deduct up to 100% of your out-of-country medical costs. For individuals, your tax relief is limited to the amount by which your expenses exceed 3% of your income. Always seek the guidance from a chartered accountant for allowable income expenses.
How do I get the medical tourism process started?
Complete and return our contact form or call us direct in Canada, at 1-306-974-2470. We will contact you if we have any questions or require any further information. Based on your preferred destination, we will forward your request to a healthcare provider within our network. They generally respond to us within 2 business days.
Once started, this is what you can expect:
- When we receive your enquiry, a professional Personal Care Manager will contact you directly via phone or email within two business days.
- Once we confirm your preferred procedure and destination(s), you will receive detailed information from your care manager including a general price quotation.
- Then… a follow up conversation will be scheduled to discuss all details with your Care Manager.
- Once a decision to engage our services has been made, you will be required to review & sign our Medical Tourism Contract along with Medical Consent form so we may share information with treatment centers and physcians.
- Your Personal Care Manager will assist you to complete your personal medical history questionnaire and assist you in obtaining a passport if needed.
- We take care of finalizing your medical appointments, procedure and trip itinerary.
- Once you arrive at your destination you will be will be picked up at the airport by an assigned driver who will take you to your hotel or resort.
- You will follow your Itinerary to meet your doctor for first in person consultation.
- Once you have been cleared medically, at destination, you will undergo your procedure(s) as scheduled on your itinerary.
- Recuperate and relax at your hotel or resort.
- If your physician supports you may take some time to tour your beautiful destination and the tourist areas.
- Travel home.
- Your Personal Care Manager will follow up to hear all about your medical travel experience and together you will agree on continuing post procedure communications!
Can I have a family member or companion travel and stay with me?
Yes, most medical travelers have a family member or a friend travel with them abroad. When you have a family member or friend with you, you have a sense of personal comfort that only someone close to you can provide.
I have no one to travel with me, should I be concerned?
Please be assured that you should never feel alone. Rather than travel alone, you have options. You may choose to have a personal assistant from Global Healthcare Connections travel with you, or in certain destinations, we offer access to a personal assistant, a native of the destination country, who will meet you on arrival, be your "friend away from home" and support you during your stay. In either case, your personal assistant will arrange for transportation and accompany you to medical appointments, be with you pre- and post- operatively in the hospital and available once you are discharged to your hotel or resort. In addition, they may be available for short excursions or to take you shopping or site seeing when your physician advises that you are well enough to be out and about.
I am travelling to a country where English is not their first language, will there be a language barrier?
In countries where English is not the first language; the healthcare providers within our network have fully staffed International patient departments with English speaking staff. In most cases, hospital staff and physicians speak fluent English. Many physicians have trained in Canada, the U.S and Europe, and use English to communicate with their colleagues every day. For your added peace of mind, many of our international providers can provide you with a bilingual translator for the duration of your stay.
How safe is my medical tourism destination?
Reasonable safety precautions must be taken, which is no different than at home. Do not walk alone at night, and be careful of petty theft with personal belongings. We will advise you if there are any known travel advisories regarding your destination.
How many days prior to my procedure do I have to leave?
This depends entirely on your destination and the treatment or procedure for which you are seeking care. Your healthcare provider will advise us when you need to be there and we will plan your travel itinerary accordingly.
When can I travel home?
Your treating physician will advise you of your expected recovery time and will clear you when you can safely travel home after your surgery. Your travel itinerary will be planned accordingly.
Is it legal to seek healthcare services outside of Canada and the U.S.?
Yes. It is perfectly legal to go outside of Canada and the U.S. to receive treatment.