Comparison of overseas Healthcare cost and popular tourist destinations

Medical procedure cost comparison by country

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Is travel insurance really necessary? Don't most places not charge for emergency care?

While Travel insurance is not a mandatory requirement for International travel (except to the Schengen countries in Europe), it is highly recommended that the traveller treats an insurance policy as a mandatory part of their travel documents just like the air ticket, visa or foreign exchange. It is most definitely necessary given the significantly high costs of medical treatment abroad apart from the other non medical risks like Personal Liability or Missed Flights or Baggage and Passport losses that could inadvertently happen and ruin an otherwise well planned holiday. The traveller must understand that the insurance policy is in place post completion of immigration at an Indian port/airport and hence any emergency even at an early stage of the trip is covered.

While it is true that across the world emergency medical care is provided to a patient irrespective of the status of their insurance coverage, the hospital/medical establishment does seek to recover the costs related to the emergency care from the patient post recovery. Hence the traveller could land up with a sizeable medical bill to pay irrespective of their insurance coverage and hence it is advisable to have an insurance policy in place to offer financial support at a critical time like this.

Compare the healthcare and hospitalization costs in foreign nations and other popular Indian tourist destinations across the globe. Healthcare costs are extremely high in most foreign countries and it is important to buy good overseas travel health while traveling outside India.

Health care and medical treatment cost comparison

Medical procedure USA Costa Rica India Jordan S. Korea Mexico Israel Thailand Malaysia Poland Singapore Turkey
Heart Bypass $123,000 $27,000 $7,900 $14,400 $26,000 $27,000 $28,000 $15,000 $12,100 $14,000 $17,200 $13,900
Angioplasty $28,200 $13,800 $5,700 $5,000 $17,700 $10,400 $7,500 $4,200 $8,000 $5,300 $13,400 $4,800
Heart Valve Replacement $170,000 $30,000 $9,500 $14,400 $39,900 $28,200 $28,500 $17,200 $13,500 $19,000 $16,900 $17,200
Hip Replacement $40,364 $13,600 $7,200 $8,000 $21,000 $13,500 $36,000 $17,000 $8,000 $5,500 $13,900 $13,900
Hip Resurfacing $28,000 $13,200 $9,700 $9,000 $19,500 $12,500 $20,100 $13,500 $12,500 $9,200 $16,350 $10,100
Knee Replacement $35,000 $12,500 $6,600 $9,500 $17,500 $12,900 $25,000 $14,000 $7,700 $8,200 $16,000 $10,400
Spinal Fusion $110,000 $15,700 $10,300 $10,000 $16,900 $15,400 $33,500 $9,500 $6,000 $6,200 $12,800 $16,800
Dental Treatment $2,500 $800 $900 $900 $1,350 $900 $1,200 $1,720 $1,500 $925 $2,700 $1,100
Gastric Bypass $25,000 $12,900 $7,000 $7,500 $10,900 $11,500 $24,000 $16,800 $9,900 $9,750 $13,700 $13,800
Hysterectomy $15,400 $6,900 $3,200 $6,600 $10,400 $4,500 $14,500 $3,650 $4,200 $2,200 $10,400 $7,000
According to the UNWTO 2018 Report, 51% of Global Travellers are on their way to Europe…Europe enjoys the distinction of being the continent of choice for the global traveller for many years now. Given the many breathtakingly beautiful destinations and the moderate climate throughout the year makes Europe an attractive destination for any traveller. However from an insurance perspective, Europe remains one of the costliest geographies for medical treatment. This is because of the strong Euro currency and continuously rising medical inflation.
Majority of Europe, which are 26 Schengen countries have a mandatory insurance policy for obtaining a visa and hence any traveller will need to first purchase an insurance policy. The Schengen visa requirements stipulate that the insurance coverage needs to be a minimum of Euros €30,000 for Accident & Sickness Expenses. It is important to note that all insurance companies should have an approval from the Schengen Committee for participating in the Schengen insurance program, only then can they underwrite a Schengen insurance program. Currently most of the leading travel insurers offer a specific plan for Schengen Travel which include Tata AIG, Bajaj Allianz, Religare, Reliance General, Royal Sundaram, Future Generali etc. As an insured, once can opt for any of them given their comprehensive coverage and competitive premium.
Also, the cost of healthcare is relatively high when compared to India and hence the traveller is advised to opt for a (A&S) coverage of atleast $250,000, but ideally $500,000 (₹INR 3.5 crores) under the plan they choose to buy. One can log onto Europe Travel insurance to compare and buy the plan most suited to the traveller’s requirements. Post choosing the plan, simply pay with your credit/debit card/internet baking and the policy schedule will reach the traveller’ email id in a couple of minutes. Just for a brief comparison of the Healthcare treatment costs in Europe as against India is in the table below:
Figs in $ USD Switzerland Spain UK India
MRI Scan 503 788 175
Day in Hospital as an Inpatient 4,781 424 200
Appendix Surgery 6,040 2,003 9,000 1,500
Cataract Surgery 2,114 1,719 3,145 300
Bypass Surgery 34,224 14,579 24,059 8,000
Knee Replacement 20,132 6,686 18,481 4,500
Source - International Federation of Health Plans / Indicure
Similarly 16% of the world travellers are visiting Americas (out of which majority of them are going to the USA) which is one of the largest market travel and tourism markets. A whopping 53% of the Indian outbound travellers are going to the “The Americas (North & South America)” and the largest % of them are going to USA. Most Indians travel there to visit family and friends and for their higher studies. USA is probably the costliest country for medical treatment and so while it is not mandatory for a traveller to have insurance before entering USA or for obtaining a visa, it is critical that the traveller does not take the risk of going to USA without insurance cover.
Given the way the medical system operates in the USA (with repricing of medical invoices) it is important that your India travel health insurance partner along with their Assistance and Claims Management partner (normally referred to as TPA) has a large network of hospitals across the country and also is aware of the medical landscape there. Most insurance companies have their TPA arrangements in USA. The traveller should ensure sufficient coverage (atleast $250,000 sum insured for accident & sickness) and should ensure their plan has coverages like Personal Liability etc.
Also, the average Indian traveller tends to visit USA for a minimum of 60-90 days, it is strongly recommended that they do not venture out to USA without an insurance coverage which can support them financially in an unforeseen exigency. Given the significantly high cost of healthcare in USA, it is advisable for the traveller to purchase an insurance plan that has a coverage of atleast $250,000 at a bare minimum.
While most travellers from India or family members in the USA who are sponsoring their family from India do acknowledge the importance of travel/health insurance, many of them opt to purchase the plan from an American Insurance partner. Please find below and illustration of the Indian insurance plans premiums when compared to the American insurance plans. It is important to note that all Indian insurance companies also have an Assistance Partner based in the USA and offer Cashless Settlement for inpatient hospital admission.
Insurance Plan Comparison** Insured's Age USA Inbound Insurer Premium in $ USD USA Inbound Insurer Premium in ₹ INR Indian Insurer Premium in ₹ INR
Plan Coverage - $500,000 + Duration is 90 days Age 46 years $367 - $396 25,690 - 27,720 10,865 - 13,004
Age 61 years $683 - $803 47,810 – 56,210 21,867 - 26,596
Please note - Deductible under USA Plan is $250 ; India Plan is $100

** - the premiums captured above are actual premiums available on the USA Visitor Insurance website…please note that the coverages apart from the Accident & Sickness cover of $500,000 needs to be reviewed before opting for your policy.

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Travelers who have already traveled from India and do not have insurance can buy Tata AIG travel medical insurance after approval.

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