Insurance cover for medical tourists

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120,000 people are  due to travel abroad for medical treatment this year. Most of those buying  travel insurance will  not know that their  insurance cover provides little or no protection.

The problem arises due to the standard exclusion in virtually every travel insurance policy relating to ‘travel for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment’. This could invalidate the whole policy, not just the medical section.

Broker Marcus Hearn has introduced ‘Health Traveller’ a new policy that does away with this exclusion and gives the ‘health tourism’ traveller cover.

If for example someone is travelling abroad to have cosmetic surgery carried out it is highly unlikely that they will have any cover under their existing travel policy. So if they lose all their luggage, or even have an accident, they will probably not be able to claim a penny.

With Health Traveller they will be covered, the only exception being any treatment in connection the medical condition for which they are travelling. So if the traveller was intending to have dental treatment abroad there would be no cover in relation to this. Even  if the traveller does have a medical condition this can be referred to the Health Traveller screening line and cover may be available for an extra premium.

This new travel insurance policy can only be bought online.

Marcus Hearn managing director Jeffrey Klipp  says: “It simply doesn’t occur to people that they may not have any cover under their existing travel policy if they are going abroad for treatment – and the consequences could be very serious. We believe Health Traveller is the only policy of this type which is generally available”.

Typical Health Traveller costs for a European cover are:


Age group



3 days 





3 days





7 days





7 days





Cover includes a full range of benefits including compensation for cancellation, departure delays, personal possessions, emergency medical treatment (not including the reason for the trip), loss of travel documents, personal liability, personal accident and legal expenses. It is available for UK residents only, and cover is available up to 70 years old.

The latest estimates for the number of Brits travelling abroad for medical treatment come from the Government’s International Passenger Survey which show that there were 100,000 health travellers in 2007, a figure which is expected to rise to 126,000 in 2008.

More and more people are going abroad for cosmetic and medical surgery because the costs are between 20 and 50% cheaper than in the UK.

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