Medical Tourism and Medical Complications Insurance

There are many reasons for the rapid growth within the Canadian medical tourism industry: long wait times for medical procedures in some areas of Canada, unaffordable medical costs for discretionary, non-emergency or 'cosmetic' medical procedures, lack of alternative medical treatments in Canada for complex conditions. These and other factors are driving more and more Canadian 'medical tourists' to seek medical treatment abroad.

The cost savings (for some procedures) and/or the ability to receive treatment in a shorter period of time is not just appealing to Canadians. Medical tourism is a growing global business trend, measured in the tens of billions of dollars annually. In Canada, as the provincial medical plans struggle to contain costs while providing services for an aging population, medical tourism is expected to become more and more common.

Many Canadians traveling abroad for medical tourism purchase ordinary travel insurance, assuming that they will be covered in the event of a medical emergency during their trip. Unfortunately, this can be a big mistake. The majority of Canadian travel insurance policies specifically exclude trips taken for medical purposes. This means that even in the case of an unrelated accident or illness, the traveller may not be covered by the insurance policy that they have purchased. As with all forms of travel insurance, the policy wording is a contract of definitions: if you are defined as being ineligible, or excluded from coverage - no related medical expenses will be paid.

Canadian Travel Insurance Policies

There are some Canadian travel policies that can be purchased even if your trip involves medical or dental treatment. However, there are limitations to these policies - they will not cover any medical issues related to the treatment that you are seeking while overseas. So while some Canadian travel insurance policies may help cover an accident (or sudden illness) on the way to the foreign clinic, they will not cover any complications that may arise from the scheduled treatment. In addition, they will have the standard pre-existing medical conditions stability clause. This means that if a traveller has other medical conditions, these may also not be covered.  

If you plan to purchase a Canadian travel policy for a medical tourism trip, please contact us by phone so that we can help you find the most appropriate policy.

We do offer more insurance policy options than any other online service in Canada, and can help find affordable, appropriate options.

International Insurance Policies and Protective Trusts

The Canadian travel insurance industry has unfortunately failed to design policies that address the need for Canadian medical tourists to protect themselves from unplanned complications arising at the time of or after an elected medical procedure. Therefore, Canadian seeking this kind of coverage must purchase an international medical tourism policy. Depending on the policy, different benefits are available. However, they normally all offer the most important benefit – medical complications insurance. This means that if you require continued hospitalization or treatment after your scheduled surgery, you will be covered.

Medical Complications Insurance

While most medical tourism procedures are fairly straightforward, things can and do go wrong.  Your recovery may be delayed by complications, or you may develop a secondary, unrelated infection while in the hospital.  In addition, you may find that you need to seek additional treatment, which is not covered by your provincial medical plan, after you return home. In these cases, your costs would be covered by the complications insurance.

Complications insurance may also include standard medical insurance for unrelated accidents and illnesses, as well as additional benefits such as emergency evacuation, accidental death & dismemberment, trip cancellation and baggage insurance. Some policies also have very specific benefits related to surgery such as coverage for required physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

BestQuote Travel Insurance does not sell this type of insurance. However, you may do your own research and get a quote from Global Protective Solutions trust.

This is one of the largest providers of medical tourism insurance in the USA, and offers coverage in most countries (excludes Cuba).