Alert on Health Tourists' Cover; Health Check: Does Your Policy Cover Complications?

Article excerpt

Byline: LIZ PHILLIPS

GOING abroad for dentistry and cosmetic or minor surgery is increasinglypopular, but your travel insurance won't help if it all goes wrong.

The health tourism industry is growing by 30 pc each year, as breast implants,heart surgery and hip replacements cost between 20 pc and 50pc less overseasthan private treatment in the UK.

But if you go abroad for medical treatment, then you may not be covered for aclaim under your travel policy.

Any complications arising from the surgery, the cost of a new flight becauseyou were hospitalised for longer than expected or missing your appointmentbecause of flight delays are not covered under standard travel policies.

But it is not just claims arising from your treatment that can be turned down.Most travellers do not realise that they might not be able to claim for lostluggage, theft or an accident if they did not reveal that the purpose of theirtrip is to have treatment. Some insurers won't issue travel policies for thesetrips.

Insurance broker Marcus Hearn has brought out a special travel insurance policythat will provide cover for health tourists. A week's single-trip policy toEurope costs [pounds sterling]17.90, rising with your age. It is unavailable for the over-70s.

But even this policy will extend only to the non-medical elements of yourinsurance: any claim in connection with the medical condition for which you aretravelling will be excluded. …