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Medical tourists need to mind the gap

Post Office Travel Services show that over 25,000 of those going abroad from the UK for medical treatment are unwittingly putting themselves at risk by failing to buy the correct level of travel insurance cover.


The research reveals that over a third (36 per cent) of those who had travelled abroad for cosmetic or elective surgery failed to check if their insurance policy covered them for claims that could arise from their treatment, including additional periods of hospitalisation resulting from the procedure and replacement flights if their trip was extended. One in five of these people admitted it simply didn’t cross their minds to check the policy while a worrying 16 per cent just assumed they would be covered. 


A further one in ten people (9 per cent) checked their policy and realised they were not covered yet still chose not to buy additional cover. And women are more bothered by the fact they are not covered than men, as a quarter of female travellers checked their policies and proceeded to get extra cover compared to just 9 per cent of the males.


Helen Warburton, head of Post Office Travel Services says: “As with all standard policies on the market, Post Office® Travel Insurance will not cover tourists for pre-planned medical or cosmetic surgery so it’s vital that anyone considering this looks into buying additional specialist cover. This will provide peace of mind should anything go wrong.  We urge travellers planning to travel abroad for surgery to be honest with their insurance provider about their plans and ensure they are open about any pre-existing medical conditions. It’s vital to read the small print of travel documents carefully before you travel to ensure you are covered if you need to make a claim.”


The Post Office travel policy is one that some medical travellers have been advised to buy, by well-meaning but wrongly informed agents.The Post Office policy does not protect medical travellers.

The Post Office warning is a very curious way of saying “ Do not buy our product if you are going abroad for medical treatment .” Equally strange is their suggestion that people buy a special policy, as there is none available in the UK.

 

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