Why you need to weigh up your options before having surgery overseas
By Guest Blogger: Richard Laycock, Insurance Expert at finder.com.au
Australians are heading overseas for cosmetic surgery in record numbers. In fact, a recent survey found that in 2017, roughly 500,000 people have planned to head abroad to get some work done. And for 3% of us, it won’t be the first time.
But while heading abroad for cosmetic surgery may seem like a good way to cut down on costs, you need to consider the pros and cons of going overseas for treatment, especially because it may not be as ideal as it seems.
The major benefit of going overseas to receive medical treatment is that you’re likely to pay less for your procedure than you would at home in Australia. In recent years, various insurers have entered the cosmetic tourism market and have begun to offer various levels of cover.
As well as this, some travel insurance brands such as Go Insurance (which offers a dental tourism policy) provide policyholders with cover for complications that may arise from overseas elective dental procedures. These policies also typically cover you for the standard travel insurance benefits such as cancellation, luggage and personal effects.
Now, while these options exist and are perfectly viable, there are risks related to heading overseas for treatment. One major concern is infection. According to Professor Peter Leggat, “Postoperative infection is a common complication and an ever-present risk. Bringing resistant strains of bacteria back home may also be a concern.”
Then there is insurance. If you experience a complication from your surgery while you’re overseas, your travel insurance will not cover you nor will you be covered by Medicare.
In the wake of a man’s death after a cosmetic procedure in Malaysia in April 2016, the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACCS) warned Australians that, “Cosmetic surgery tourism is a discount- and cost-driven business, which often uses commission-driven or otherwise paid agents as well as discounted holiday packages to lure consumers. Such practices are contrary to good medical practice.”
Other additional risks of receiving treatment overseas include:
● Not being able to establish a rapport with your doctor prior to treatment
● Language barriers
● Increased risk of DVT due to air travel
● Lack of post-surgical care
● Potential inability to select your surgeon
● Difficulty in arranging follow-up consultations following an unsatisfactory procedure
Let’s be real, none of these situations are ideal. And although it may seem cheap when you’re planning it, the cost of heading overseas and paying for your surgery can add up, especially if there are complications. Wouldn’t you rather be at home?
At the end of the day, your decision to head overseas is a matter of weighing up the pros and cons with respect to your personal situation. But if you’d prefer to be closer to home, it will probably end up being far more convenient for you.
Richard Laycock is an Insurance Expert at finder.com.au, Australia’s most visited comparison website.