A Comprehensive Guide to Budgeting for Medical Tourism by Dr Prem- Planning for Medical and Non-Medical Expenses and Other Tips

Budgeting for Medical Tourism

The whole process of medical tourism can be very harsh on your wallet and bank accounts. Appropriate budgeting for the entire trip will alleviate the stress of having to pay extra fees or for any cancellations. Budgeting for medical tourism should be at the top of your medical tourism planning exercise.

Most medical tourists are not aware of all the different expenses that go into a medical trip—you may be inclined to budget solely for the medical treatments, and forget about the non-medical costs that take up a large part of the payments. If you are into medical tourism business of any sort, it is your responsibility to guide patients about every cost associated in the trip.

Since there are many expenses associated with medical tourism it is important that you be made aware of related costs in order for you to appropriately budget your trip.

In this medical tourism guide, you will read about the following:

A Comprehensive Guide to Budgeting for Medical Tourism by Dr Prem- Planning for Medical and Non-Medical Expenses and Other Tips

What you need to know before fixing budget for your Medical Trip

couple fixing budget for Medical Trip

This is important both for medical tourists and medical tourism facilitators. This also forms an important inclusion in medical tourism training and coaching sessions. Currency fluctuation impacts medical tourism sector just like any other industry. You need to factor this while budgeting medical tourism. In order to avoid being coned, you must be careful as to what you are paying for. Research is the most important thing you should conduct before deciding a budget for your medical trip. Be sure to consider all the important elements before selecting a medical tourism destination.

Understand the expenses

The actual cost differs according to the treatment and location. To prepare a good budget, you should contact the healthcare service provider and the healthcare facility. It is important to note down all the charges that will be applicable at the destination and then prepare your budget. Many medical tourists and medical tourism facilitators are likely to miss out a few expense channels leading to faulty medical tourism planning and budgeting.

Cost of medical treatment

Cost of medical treatment

Medical treatment cost includes the amount that you will have to pay to the surgeon as his consultation fees, cost for diagnostic tests and additional charges for succeeding visits to the healthcare facility. All these costs contribute directly to the total cost of the visit.

Medication cost

Medication cost is one of the key contributors to the total payment, and it takes the top position in medical tourism budgeting. During the course of treatment, the physician administrates a variety of pharmaceutical drugs. The cost of healthcare is increasing with every passing day and the same is true for the cost of pharmaceutical drugs.

Physical therapy charges

Electro stimulation in physical therapy to a young woman

In certain surgical procedures like knee or hip replacement surgery, even after the completion of the surgery, the patient needs to spend a lot of time in the center. Will this be included in total treatment cost or billed separately? You need to ensure this in your medical tourism budget. If you were planning to undergo a surgery that requires you to spend extra time and money with the physical therapist, is would be great if you can estimate their costs and prepare your budget accordingly.

Hospital meals

The hospital or clinic charges may not include the meals that are served to patients during their stay. If you are not sure of that, your medical tourism planning will have a big flaw. Apart from the fee that has to be paid to the dieticians, the hospital staff will also add the cost of the meals to the total bill that has to be paid by you.

Traveling expenses

Traveling expenses

Travel costs are the most important that all medical tourist have to bear. It is extremely important to prepare a travel budget as it helps you from overspending at the end. It is also important to include all the travelling expenses in your budget.

Pricing structure that generally accompanies budgeting Medical Tourism

Medical tourism is peaking for its much alluring factors and one of the most important of all being its cost effectiveness. Medical tourism industry has gained momentum as it allows the medical tourists to experience a number of benefits. The lucrative offer of a much enjoyable vacation and a cost-effective medical treatment is the main attraction for this industry to flourish this fast.

Affordability and better access to the medical treatment has been a catalyst in the growth of this industry. Medical tourism is cost effective and can even allow cost savings up to 90%. Lower costs and high-quality care in other countries can make medical treatment trips tempting. However, medical care standards vary widely around the world, and decisions on surgery should not be cost based alone.  Medical costs vary within every country to a noticeable extent. The pricing factor still remains tricky, and patients should be very cautious about it in their medical tourism planning and budgeting.

Here is the list of medical treatment in various countries (prices are subject to changes):

Procedure                  USA                             Mexico                        India                         

Angioplasty                 $57,000                       $17,100                       $10,000

Heart Bypass               $144,000                     $21,100                       $10,000

Hysterectomy              $15,000                       $7,500                         $7,500

Hip Resurfacing          $30,000                       $13,800                       $10,000

Special Fusion             $100,000                     $8,000                         $14,000

There is a significant difference in the prices of the same medical procedure practiced within different countries and such a price difference allows medical tourism grows faster and helps gain popularity. Medical tourism once consisted of patients from developing countries traveling to places like the United States to receive medical care that was not available in their homeland.

Nevertheless, over the past decade, medical tourism has shifted dramatically. Now a large segment of medical tourists is from developed countries opting for the much lower prices of medical procedures offered across the borders.As health care costs continue to rise in the U.S., the movement of patients to medical tourism destinations is expected to increase.

Holding down medical costs is necessary to compete against overseas medical providers. In setting the price for the medical tourists, the healthcare provider knows whether the price is attractive to the patients in the market that they are targeting. This is a crucial measure for medical tourism business. Many medical tourists rely on the misleading price comparisons that are often quoted for common operations and falter in medical tourism planning and budgeting.

The real need of the hour is to understand how pricing operates in the target markets and what the real prices are for patients and accomplice. Cost effectiveness and value for money comes with the understanding of the target market and better evolving the pricing strategies to make the medical treatment offer irresistible. Medical tourism is not wholly and solely about pricing, rather it is more about relative cost, quality and perception of risk.

A medical tourist needs to make a smart choice in regards to choosing the optimal destination for their medical procedure.  Health care consumerism lives on the idea that individuals should have greater control over decisions that affect their health and their medical care. Employers, health plans and policy-makers recognize that unless consumers are more engaged in decisions about their health and the costs associated with those decisions, costs will continue to soar.

Thus, it is of utmost importance for the medical tourists to be directly involved in the pricing policies and strategies so formulated. The adequate measure is to position the destination very effectively and the main consideration for that is the pricing policy for the destination so involved.

Selling good quality in lower prices is the key to successful medical tourism destination. Global competition that has emerged in this particular industry has given people an array of options to choose from the various medical tourism destinations. Thus, making a cost effective and a smart choice will help you increase your cost savings.

Planning and Estimation of Medical Tourism Budget

Woman holds one hundred dollar bills at face level

You should be able to estimate what expenses you will be incurring while travelling abroad, in terms of medical expenses, travel costs and other expenditures you will have to pay for. The cost of the treatment might be the most significant amount that you will have to budget for, but there are a lot of other factors you must consider.This section is therefore aimed at helping the potential medical tourist understand all the intricacies that a medical trip requires.

In this medical tourism guide, you will find a breakdown of the expenses you will incur during your hospital visit/stay and all the various costs associated with a stay at a medical facility. Besides just the medical expenses, this section will also highlight the non-medical costs such as the travel, tourism and accommodation aspects of the medical journey.

Cost of medical treatment when budgeting for medical tourism

Treatment for any disease or medical condition involves consultation with the medical practitioner, diagnostic tests and subsequent visits before a treatment is finalized. All these factors directly or indirectly contribute towards the total cost of the treatment. The factors that significantly contribute towards the total medical treatment costs are listed below. You are recommended to consider these factors while researching for the right doctor and facilities.

How medical costs are different from non-medical ones?

As the cost of healthcare services is increasing with the each passing day, people are traveling of people overseas to avail low-priced medical care. On the other hand, this also means that this process can get harsh on your wallet and bank accounts. Hence, it becomes essential to make an appropriate budget for the entire tour. For this, you need to understand the medical and non-medical costs, which can affect your entire trip.

This section will hopefully help you understand what you will be spending most of your money on and allow you to create a comprehensive budget. There are two main types of expenditures during a medical journey: medical costs and non-medical expenses. As a note, the cost-calculations listed below are for patients that lack insurance, and are using other means to pay for their trip.

Medical costs

medical expenditure

As you are traveling to avail good healthcare services, the majority of expenditure will include the cost of medical treatment. Medical treatment cost includes physician fees, anesthesiology fees, surgical implants, consumables, pre and postoperative treatment prescription drugs lab and imaging fees.

During the surgery, or some unavoidable situations, when a patient loses a lot of blood during a certain medical procedure, a physician or surgeon might advice a blood transfusion and this may include several extra charges. Additionally, you also have to bear operation theatre charges, intensive care unit charges, and treatment costs.

Once the treatment is done, patients are not normally allowed to go back home. Usually, they ate kept under an observation during the recovery period. It includes hospital stay charges (rooms charges, food charges, special care charges, etc.). All these have a bearing on medical tourism budget planning.

For patients whose insurance policies include medical tourism, you need to find out from your network manager what is included and what isn’t covered in your policy so you can appropriately budget for your trip.

A few hospitals in medical tourism destinations offer package prices when it comes to the medical expenses—this package deal will include a lump-sum payment that is inclusive of all the various factors that are listed below. It would be beneficial for a medical tourist to seek for a facility that offers this package price as it will help you avoid paying individual charges for different aspects within a hospital. It can also help you to steer clear of overspending unnecessarily.

If your facility does not offer a bundle deal for the medical expenses, these are the various factors you should be aware of as they will be likely to show up on your medical bill.

Non-medical costs

Happy couple traveling to Italy

Apart from medical treatment costs, patients have to prepare a budget for non-medical costs too. Since the procedures will take place in a foreign land, you have to consider about the place where you will stay, travel expenses including visa/passport expenses.

Furthermore, you will be traveling to a foreign country, which you might not have visited previously; you should also plan your expenses for sightseeing and shopping activities. True, medical tourism facilitators handling patients on a regular basis have a better understanding about this than medical tourists.

These non-medical costs also comprise a significant portion of the total expenses of medical travel. There are few non-medical costs that you should consider while preparing your budget. It includes several traveling expenses, lodging cost, fees of visa and passport, vacation expenses, food and other survival expanses, shopping and souvenirs, unexpected expenses, insurance cost and expenses for companion. Better medical tourism businesses are apt in providing efficient services regarding this unknown zone, better is their customer acquisition and customer retention.

A comprehensive look at medical expenses that dominate medical tourism budgets

Medical treatment costs

 woman undergoing diagnostic test

What are included in this? Keep it in mind medical treatment cost make up a significant part in medical tourism budgeting and planning.Since you are traveling in pursuit of good healthcare services, the majority of the expenditure will include the cost of medical treatment.

Medical treatment costs include the amount you will have to pay to the medical practitioner as his/her consultation fees, cost for diagnostic tests and additional expenditure for subsequent visits to the healthcare facility or to the practitioner, before the treatment is finalized. All these costs contribute directly to the total costs of the visit. These costs could be broken down into some major sections that are listed here. 

Cost of Physician fees while budgeting medical tourism

The most significant cost on any medical journey is the amount one has to pay the physician. The cost of the physician usually makes up a major percentage of the total medical bill that you have to pay and hence it requires careful planning.

Usually, medical practitioners with more experience and better skills charge more. It includes their pre- and post-consultation charges, treatment charges, and charges for all procedures that are required during the treatment phase. These charges contribute significantly to the overall invoice that is shown to you after the successful completion of the treatment.

However, if the patient does develop any complications during or after the treatment, additional charges might also be included. This usually happens if you are going for a medical treatment that requires surgery. All reputed doctors will warn you about any possible complication that might come up during your treatment when you first approach the physician for consultation.

For an example, a patient with diabetes will need special care and services that will stabilize his blood sugar before a cataract operation can be performed. Here the doctor will have no other choice but to monitor all vital parameters to ensure that the operation can be performed in a safe way.

Patients with other complications, complex history, or other diseases and illnesses require extra time and effort from the physician for which the patient has to pay. This results in the addition of extra charges to compensate the additional effort of the medical practitioner. In situations like this, where the treatment depends on previous medical history of a patient, it becomes difficult to stick to the original budget. It is advisable to share your medical history with the physician beforehand so that you can prepare your budget accordingly.

Patients that have complicated conditions will require extra time and effort from the physician resulting in extra charges being billed to compensate for the additional labour—in situations like this, it becomes difficult to stick to the original budget.

Cost of Anesthesiology fees when budgeting for medical tourism

 professional surgeons giving to patient a general anesthetic before operation

Anesthesia, as you might already know, is an essential medical requirement for all procedures that require surgery. At times, especially if you have not chosen a package price for your medical treatment, the fees for the anesthesia are charged separately and are likely to be higher if a complex surgery is required during your treatment.

Medical treatment requires the patient to pay fees to the anaesthetist which are additional to the charges from your treating doctor—so patients should find out about these charges to accurately budget for them. It is usual practice that the physician or hospital will recommend an anaesthesiologist who is attached to the facility.

In most cases, healthcare facilities make you pay additional fees to the anesthetist, which is independent of how much you are paying to your treating doctor. It is thus important for patients to find out these charges prepare an accurate estimate of the budget. Healthcare facilities usually recommend an anesthesiologist who is attached to the facility and hence they know the amount you will have to pay them.

The fee for anesthesiology generally includes the fees of the anesthetic and the administration of the drug. It can also include the cost for the special care that is required during the procedure and for post-operative care. Since anesthesia is critical during surgeries, you should select a hospital that has competent anesthetic facilities, qualified and reputed staff, and includes modern anesthesia equipment.

Doctors administer two different types of anesthetics – local or general. A dentist might choose to give local anesthesia for a root canal to numb the pain. A surgeon is likely to utilize general to ensure that the operation is successful.

How much anesthesia is to be administered is critical as it could affect a patient’s recovery and cause severe complications in the event that you have been given the wrong dose.  There are different rates for the two types of anaesthetics.

The fees for the anaesthetics include fees for the anaesthetist and the administration of the drug. It also includes the care during the procedure as well as the post-operative care.Anaesthesia is a very vital aspect, thus you should aim to select a hospital that boasts competent anaesthetic facilities including state-of-the-art anaesthesia equipment.

Cost of Surgical implants when budgeting for medical tourism

A major amount of money spent on certain operations involves the cost of surgical implants. Some surgeries require high-tech implants such as artificial pacemakers, or more common inserts such as silicone for breast augmentation. A medical tourist availing a procedure that would require medical implants should inquire about their cost prior to the procedure in order to accurately budget for them.

Medical tourists who require surgical implants will see them in the bill. This could be included in medical tourism packages or billed separately. Medical tourism facilitators can help with some great cost-effective options. Some surgeries require surgeons to install artificial devices, such as artificial pacemakers, which are quite expensive. Moreover, surgical implants are also required in certain cosmetic surgeries such as breast augmentation, where silicone inserts have to be surgically implanted.

A medical tourist who is availing himself of such a procedure should inquire about the cost of these implants prior to the commencement of the procedure in order to prepare an accurate budget. It is very much possible that the implants cover the better portion of the bill.

Cost of consumables when budgeting for medical tourism

 Female-nurse-hand-in-blue-protective-gloves-hold-dropper-against-medicine

Consumables are non-reusable items that are utilized during the procedure and for surgical dressing. Examples of this include cotton, IV lines, gauze, sutures, gloves, etc. The cost of these consumables varies from facility to facility and on the type of procedure. If you are interested in preparing an accurate medical tourism budget that includes the cost of consumables, you should inquire about the cost of consumables from the international patient department of the healthcare facility you are planning to visit.

Cost of Post treatment prescription drugs when budgeting for medical tourism

Some treatments are finalized at the healthcare facility and you don’t require taking any prescription drugs after returning home. Most treatments however, will require that the patient take regular doses of medicines and prescription drugs after the completion of the medical treatment. In many cases patients need to follow up with medicines long after the completion of the medical treatment.

Medical tourists should be aware of the fact that after all discharge procedures are completed, the hospital and the doctor would not be responsible for providing the prescribed drugs. Patients have to bear the expenses of the medical bills of all the prescribed drugs by the treating doctor. This is very vital for the full compliance of the procedure.

Some conditions may require lifelong medication and some can be ceased once the patient is fully recovered.Since patients have to bear these additional expenses, it is important that they understand the regular cost of drugs that they will have to pay after their treatment is complete.

Cost of lab and imaging fees when budgeting for medical tourism

Blood test report

The lab and imaging fees vary according to the medical conditions for which you are seeking treatment. It includes the cost associated with the number of lab tests that are required before and after the treatment. The treating doctor usually prescribes these tests and the hospital will charge additional fees for the various tests that are conducted during the course of your treatment.

However, if the healthcare facility is not fully equipped to carry out all tests, they may recommend facilities where you have to get some tests done. You might have to pay these facilities separately. Tests such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and blood tests are the most common tests, which have to be conducted during the pre- and post-operative treatments.

Cost of Blood transfusion fees (if required) when budgeting for medical tourism

During surgery or other unavoidable situations, when a patient loses a lot of blood, a doctor might advise a blood transfusion. This is usually done if the patient loses an uncontrollable amount of blood, which could potentially be fatal.

The blood transfusion procedure is usually a lifesaver in such circumstances. The patient has to pay for the blood bags and the special care that was needed during the treatment. This cost is separate from the otherwise agreed-upon medical expenses, since the need for it arises only during an emergency, which are near impossible to predict.

Unfortunately, much to a patient’s dismay, once they are brought back to life through the blood transfusion, they have to pay for the blood bags. This cost is outside of the agreed-upon medical expenses since it is an emergency service made available to you.

Cost of operation theatre charges when budgeting for medical tourism

 Surgeon operates in the operating room. Surgeons save life to the injured

For procedures that have to be carried on within the safe and equipped confines of an operation theater, additional expenses are charged as operation theater charges. Due to the various resources that are utilized within an operation theater, which include the monitoring tools, surgical equipment, additional surgeons and nurses, the cost may figure prominently in the bill.

Cost of Intensive Care Unit charges (if required) when budgeting for medical tourism

After a procedure has been carried out, the physician might recommend shifting the patient to an ICU or Intensive Care Unit, where the patient will be kept in special care. An ICU environment allows doctors and nurses to give critical care and closely monitor the condition of the patient until the patient stabilizes. In an ICU, multiple nurses and healthcare professionals tend to the patient so that he/she can be quickly restored back to health.

The need for an ICU can rarely be predicted in advance, as it mostly arises due to complications which cannot be predicted either. Hence, these charges cannot be budgeted in advance. However, if you require medical services for a complicated medical condition, it is a good idea to ask about the price of the ICU services that are charged, just to gauge the possible addition to your medical bill.

Assessing the nature of treatments when budgeting for medical tourism

Recovering Patient Uses Smartphone while Lying on a Bed in the Hospital

Different patients have different medical conditions when they enter the hospital premises. While some of them might be in a good condition, others are serious and require immediate attention. Treatment needs vary according to the condition of a patient when he/she reaches the healthcare facility and hence, the cost of treatment differs too.

In some cases, a combination of treatments would be recommended, which will involve multiple skilled medical personnel and a large number of auxiliary services, such as nurses and lab attendants. If the patient’s condition is critical, doctors might advise hiring a full time nurse, which costs more.Aspects such as additional medical equipment, operating room fees and medication also incur costs and will be charged as a separate expense.

Cost of recovery when budgeting for medical tourism

After the successful completion of the treatment or procedure, patients are not normally allowed to go back home immediately. The recovery phase is crucial.Rather, patients are kept under surveillance during the recovery period. A proper recovery pattern ensures that the doctors can keep an eye on the patient, so that they can keep tabs on the patient’s recovery.

A well-managed recovery phase is essential for the patient to return to a normal healthy life at the earliest possible point. This is the reason why doctors recommend proper medical assistance during the first few days after the surgery or treatment has been completed. This too incurs some costs depending on the recovery period and the facilities that are used during the phase.

Cost of Hospital-stay charges when budgeting for medical tourism

hospitalised woman

The hospital stay charges come into effect once you enter the hospital premises and are calculated to the date you are discharged. Patients need to pay for all the services and facilities they use during their stay. It includes the cost of the hospital rooms and the bed they occupy during the course of the treatment.

Hospitals usually have several types of rooms, such as, single room, isolated wings, double bed rooms, dormitories, etc. The choice of room depends on your budget. Single rooms are usually the most expensive rooms, where, apart from good healthcare services, you will have access to several amenities such as a television, entertainment options, and en-suite bathrooms. On the other hand, dormitories are the least expensive, and here you will have to share the hall with several other patients.

Cost of nursing services when budgeting for medical tourism

In addition to healthcare professionals such as doctors, a patient definitely needs several auxiliary services, such as the ones provided by the nursing staff. Nurses come in very handy during the treatment phase as they provide full time care to the patient when the physician is not around. Apart from tending to a patient’s daily needs, nurses constantly keep in touch with the doctors and monitor the patient’s health regularly. Thus, patients have to pay for their services additionally.  Nursing services do form an important part in medical tourism planning as the charges are significant.

Cost of medication and medical supplies when budgeting for medical tourism

medicines-and-drugs

During the course of treatment, a variety of medication is administered. Some of these prescription drugs can be very expensive (such as certain pain medications or specialized drugs). These make up a big chunk of the total expenditure on account of post-operative treatments.A number of medical supplies are also needed in the course of the treatment. These medical supplies will be included in the total hospital fees for treatment.

Cost of rehabilitation or physical therapy charges (if needed) when budgeting for medical tourism

In the case of a patient seeking care for a hip-replacement or knee surgery, they would require the services of a physical therapist for post-operative rehabilitation. The physical therapist will dedicate time to the patient in order to ensure their mobilityby using special exercising techniques and equipment. Therefore, they will charge separate fees than that of the physician, anesthetist or other healthcare providers.

If you are availing a surgery that would require the use of a physical therapist, it would be to your benefit to calculate their costs and budget for them appropriately to avoid over-spending. Plus, you may need other kinds of rehabilitation also whose costs may vary a lot.

The fees payable to the physical therapist will not necessarily be added in your hospital stay charges. It you are planning to undergo a surgery that requires you to spend additional time with the physical therapist, it would be great if you can calculate their charges and prepare your budget accordingly.

Cost of hospital meals when budgeting for medical tourism

mother giving food to son while visiting cancer patient in oncology hospital ward

The hospital room charges may or may not include the meals that are served to patients during their stay, and are often billed separately. Medical procedures require patients to adhere to a strict diet plan prepared by dieticians and nutritionists. Apart from the fee that has to be paid to the dieticians, the hospital staff will also add the cost of the meals to the total bill that has to be paid by you.

Cost of follow-up care in home country

Follow up care is the other vital aspect for surgeries and medical treatments conducted in foreign lands.There is no denying of this fact.Surprisingly, most often than not this does not find place in medical tourism planning.  It is wise to have a clear picture of the entire treatment to find out the type of follow-up care that you will require. Many surgical procedures require expensive follow-up treatment and hence, it is vital for you to know the type of expenses you will have to bear.

Get in touch with the physician to understand the procedures that you will have to undergo in your medical tourism destination and the ones that you will have to go through after you return to your home country.The medical tourism procedure guidebook provides information about the types of follow up care you may require. While this is meant to be a helpful guide, it is recommended that you conduct comprehensive follow-up care based on your specific patient needs and requirements. Read the post-operative care chapter to learn more about follow-up treatments.

Thus, the total medical cost of the treatment and/or procedure is achieved after adding all these expenses in the right proportions. These contributing factors are very important in helping you estimate the total cost of the treatment.

Cost of travel expenses when budgeting for medical tourism

Man using a laptop and smartphone online travel bookings

Travelling to the destination usually ends up being a large expenditure on a medical tourist’s budget. If you are making the travel arrangements without a facilitator, you will either have to utilize the services of a travel agent or book the flight online. If going through a travel agent, remember that agency fees are additional. By planning ahead and conducting thorough research, you may be able to find a good deal on air travel (this also depends on where in the world you are travelling to).

However, it is crucial to remember that you are travelling as a patient, so comfort should be essential here. Buy a flexible ticket where possible (even if it is more expensive) in case complications arise and you need to extend your trip. Also, think about purchasing a business class ticket if you are travelling for surgeries that require a roomier seat (knee or hip replacements). Since travelling can even cause discomfort for individuals who do not have a medical condition, it is important that patients travelling for medical care spend a little more money and are able to be comfortable during the journey.

Cost of accommodation when budgeting for medical tourism

As you can appreciate, accommodation forms a very important part of the medical treatment. You must arrange for suitable lodging for the pre- and post-operative phase of your trip. On many occasions, patients may be required to stay out of hospital for a short or long duration so a proper cost estimate should be calculated that includes both pre-operative and post-operative stays at the destination.

You should attempt to choose accommodation that is convenient to you as well as cost effective; read the tourism guide section within this book for more info. Normally, medical tourism business facilitators take care of all these non-medical arrangements as well.

Cost of passport and visa fees when budgeting for medical tourism

Online reservation and visa application

Passport and visas should be in place if you are considering treatment overseas. If you do not have a valid passport, calculate any agency or non-direct expenses you might need to pay to arrange for one. Travelling to and from certain parts of the world also requires a valid visa. It generally takes a fair amount of time to process these visas.

You should therefore commence preparation far in advance of your scheduled travel. Also, to process visas, many embassies charge a fee—a medical traveller should find out all the costs to accurately budget for this expense.

Cost of vacation expenses (tourism activities) when budgeting for medical tourism

Vacation is an integral part of medical tourism. It is an additional treat to the patients; they get to explore many beautiful places situated close to the treatment location. This is one of the prime reasons that many choose medical tourism as the vacation aids in quicker recovery. But nonetheless, tourism incurs costs. To be specific it must be considered that vacation expenses are one of the major non-medical tourism fees. Here is a comprehensive study of all the aspects related to vacation fees.

For medical tourists, it is difficult to prepare a comprehensive budget for the tourism activities. Firstly, it is necessary that you identify your spending capacity. Then you must have a clear idea about what proportion of the total expenditure your tourism activities are allowed to cost.

A pre-planned budget will help you enjoy a smooth vacation and treatment as well. A service provider is usually the ideal person to guide you and your accompanying partner on how best to explore the destination.

Cost of food when budgeting for medical tourism

availing quality food

Food, water and other daily expenses based on your lifestyle and habits also contribute to total expenses. A small yet decent budget could be set aside to make sure that you indulge in good food and lifestyle activities while at your destination. Needless to say, you will need to adhere to medical guidance regarding your diet; it is advisable that you spend more to avail quality food to ensure your wellbeing.

Budgeting for unexpected expenses during medical tourism

The element of surprise resulting in unexpected expenditure is inherent to any vacation. However, when you consider that medical treatment is the essence of your tourism, budgeting for unexpected expenses becomes even more important. Medical tourists should keep “emergency funds” at their disposal for unforeseen circumstances.

Companion expenses in budgeting for medical tourism

young man supporting the sick young woman while she lying on bed at hospital ward

Did you forget to calculate the costs of having your companion escort you? Your travel companion will incur almost all the same costs as you except the medical costs. So if you are travelling with a companion you need to revisit all the above topics and see what companion expenses you will incur such as travelling, accommodation, meals and tourism activities.

Cost of travel and air ambulance insurance when budgeting for medical tourism

This is an important aspect we thought of including in the medical tourism guide to help you in better planning and budgeting. The travel insurance is very important to carry while you travel, as it can protect you from unforeseen expenses in case of an emergency. Just to remind you, travel insurance can’t help pay for medical tourism related expenses.

Yet, travel insurance can protect you from further expenses arising from many unforeseen problems like cancelled flights, emergency conditions, natural disasters, financial defaults or accidents.The air-ambulance insurance is related to emergency medical situations. It is generally suggested that patients who need to avail emergency air-ambulance service should opt for the air-ambulance insurance.

It will ensure that in the case of an emergency situation the policy holder can avail a form of aircraft transport known as air-ambulance. It is somewhat similar to the vehicular ambulance but the only difference is that they can take patients to foreign lands for medical treatment.

On many instances patients decide to undertake emergency medical treatment in foreign lands.

This is when the air ambulance insurance comes into play. This form of emergency travel has evolved to a great degree. In present scenarios they are used for emergency evacuation. This kind of preparation is absolutely important for a variety of possible circumstances.  Patients can be easily transported from one country to the other or from one hospital to a better one.

Cost of shopping and souvenirs when budgeting for medical tourism

A woman tourist at a souvenir fair choosing handmade decorative woodcarving gifts

Travelling without shopping takes away a good amount of charm. Collecting souvenirs is a hobby for many travellers. Shopping can substantially increase or decrease the budget for the entire medical trip. Patients must have a clear shopping budget set aside beforehand. This will save you from any last-minute cash crunches. You must consider the cost of treatment and all other costs before budgeting for shopping.

One cannot deny that some foreign locations are specifically known for their local craftsmanship and wares. These could also provide good value for money in respect to certain items. If budget permits, you should try and include these items on your wish list. Try not to miss the opportunity to collect these local specialties while on your trip.

Shopping provides pleasure to the health, especially for the ladies, so it is worth accommodating shopping into your budget. But you need to have a clear idea about the potential costs of the items you wish you purchase.

On many occasions patients may be cheated into paying more for their purchases, because locals may take advantage of your lack of familiarity as a tourist. It might be a good idea to ask a local source to guide you as to the appropriate pricing. Alternatively, the internet can also help give you an idea about the pricing of these products. Thus, it is wise to include the element of shopping with care.

Regarding souvenirs, remember that medical tourism is different from any ordinary tourism. Friends and family will certainly not expect a shower of gifts if the basis for your trip is treatment. So, it may be nice to take this advantage for yourself and buy something which will help you to remember sweet memories from your medical trip.

Important tips when budgeting for medical tourism

In order to avoid getting duped, you must be cautious as to what you are paying for. ‘Research’ is one of the most important things you should conduct before creating a patient budget.

You should try and make a comparative study of the fees charged by different medical institutions in various countries. Be sure to consider all the elements before selecting a medical tourism destination or healthcare facility.

Searching for patient testimonials is one of the handiest methods of making an informed decision so you can follow real life experiences. Being well informed means making better choices at lower costs. If you own a medical tourism business or plan for a startup, all the above information would be essential in your medical tourism training.

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