India is the most preferred medical tourism destination in the world. The increasing cost of medical insurance every year is meant especially for those people who pay for individual health insurance policies. The cost of many medical procedures in India is substantially lower as compared to other western countries. The medical cost of the insured patient is covered by the medical insurance in India in the case of accidents and sudden sickness. A number of benefits are there for individuals and employers to begin using medical tourism in India for several medical procedures.

Medical Insurance and Legal Aspects

It is essential to be aware of all the insurance facilities and legal aspects of the medical treatments. Medical tourists should ensure that the insurance provider is covering that hospital where they are being treated in their insurance policy. The legal recourse in the case of unsatisfactory treatment is not clear till now. The government of India is offering medical visas for those patients who wish to get their medical procedures done in India.

Types of Medical Insurance

  • Overseas medical insurance
  • Group medical insurance
  • Individual medical insurance

Benefits of Health Insurance in India

Many people along with their family members are opting for medical insurance in India as this insurance covers future medical expenses and other related costs. This is due to the rising demand of medical insurance as these days they also provide a buffer for emergencies. The other major benefit is the low cost of medical treatment in India and excellent quality of the treatment. Some of the other benefits offered by several medical insurance companies include

  • Travel Companion Cost
  • Trip Cancellation Coverage

Documents Required for Medical Insurance Claim in India

  • Hospital/doctor report
  • Proof of identity
  • Salary Slip
  • Proof of address
  • Memo of expenses incurred

Calculation of Medical Insurance

The total amount of medical insurance depends on the amount of coverage or sum insured, age of the member and also if one is taking a group insurance or an individual insurance. The premium of the medical insurance can be paid on monthly, quarterly, half yearly or yearly basis.

Insurance Programs

There are several types of health care insurance policies that are offered by the medical tourism in India. Many people travel to India for medical procedures and for this a large number of insurance companies now offer cross-border insurance policies for the immigrants.

Insurance Companies Offering Medical Insurance in India

Planned Insurance claim & Admissions

In case if you plan for the admission & intend to avail insurance coverage from your international insurance company, the following steps can be followed

  • Check with the Department of International Patients Services if your insurance provider is recognized by our hospital for insurance covered treatment.
  • If your company is listed you may contact them directly from your home country and seek an issue of GoP (Guarantee of Payment) by fax to our International Patients Service office.
  • Once our International Patients office confirms the receipt of GoP from your insurance provider you can avail insurance covered treatment at our hospital.
  • In cases where the International Patients Office contacts your insurance company (provided they are in our panel) for GoP on your behalf, your claim to avail insurance covered treatment will depend upon your insurance company's response and the hospital will not be responsible for any delay on their part. We will not entertain any GoP after discharge and in case of delayed response from the Insurance Company you are required to make an appropriate deposit to the hospital and if the delay extends to your discharge date you will need to make full payment to the hospital. The hospital will issue a refund of your deposit, subject to receipt of GoP from your insurance company. In cases where the GoP is delayed or not received at the hospital, you can claim a refund directly from your insurance provider. However refund will be subject to their discretion.
  • Any hospital charges not covered by your insurance provider must be paid to the hospital.

Unplanned Insurance claim & admissions:

This happens mostly in a medical emergency. Most of the international insurance companies provide an option for contact in case of medical emergency. Please note that provision of emergency contact details by any international insurance company does not entail an insurance covered treatment at our hospital and it is strictly based on our arrangement with your insurance provider. However you will be provided all required medical care at our hospital and you can continue your treatment after paying the required deposit to the hospital.

  • Aetna Global Benefits
  • American Life Insurance Company
  • AXA Insurance (Gulf) B.S.C.
  • AXA Assistance India Private Limited
  • AXA Assistance Chicago, USA
  • A P A Insurance Limited
  • Asian Travel & Medical Services Insurance
  • AIU Insurance Company Limited BUPA International
  • Bupa Arabia
  • CIGNA International
  • DELAM (Delware American Life Insurance Company)
  • Emergency Assistance Japan (Singapore) Pvt Ltd.
  • Europ Assistance India Pvt. Ltd
  • Europ Assistance
  • Euro-Center (Thailand) Co. Ltd.
  • GMC Services (Henner)
  • For Europe Middle East, Africa
  • Healix International Ltd
  • International Claims Services
  • NextcareNational Company for Cooperative Insurance Prestige International, Singapore
  • Redbridge Network and Healthcare, Inc.
  • Starwell Destination Management Company
  • Vanbreda International
  • Mondial Assistance
  • Blue Shield
  • DELAM (Delware American Life Insurance Company)
  • Q Life & Medical Insurance Company
  • Jubilee Insurance Company Of Tanzania
  • Allianz Worldwide Care
  • Bupa Global Market Unit (IHI Bupa)
  • Inter Mutuelles Assistance G.I.E.
  • Falck India Private limited Insurance
  • HTH Worldwide/GeoBlue
  • ARMS, Kolkata
  • Asia Medical Assistance Pvt. Ltd
  • AGA Services (India) Pvt. Ltd
  • East West Rescue, New Delhi
  • Exotic Tours, Delhi
  • International SOS, New Delhi
  • Make My Trip (India) Pvt. Ltd
  • Meera Rescue Services Pvt. Ltd
  • Omniland Assurances

Due to the availability of high-quality alternative healthcare abroad at affordable and highly competitive rates, there is a growing demand for healthcare across boundaries, and employers, as well as insurers, are cashing in on this trend in a bid to save cost.

Team members have realized that seeking healthcare services abroad is more cost-effective than seeking the same services at home. This is such that even after factoring in travel expenses, accommodation, and sick days off work, patients still get to save more money.

An Illustrated example, a hip replacement surgery that would cost $75,000 in the US costs $9,000 in India. These financial benefits, according to NTP Healthcare, is responsible for the massive drift of Americans to India for healthcare services.

Medical tourism, which previously was the territory of uninsured and under-insured patients, is now being considered by leading insurance companies including CIGNA and Aetna. Health insurance companies over the world have begun to dive into the medical tourism industry experimenting with cross-border and international medical coverage. The idea of such plans is that insured persons can visit another country to receive specific medical care in a clinic provided in the insurance policy and have the medical expenses reimbursed entirely or partially by the insurance provider. Such programs give patients confidence about the quality of care in the destination country.

Owners are not left out in the current trend as several Fortune 500 companies, in a bid to cut down on employee healthcare costs, outsource expensive medical procedures to healthcare providers overseas.

One major edge adding to this paradigm shift is the increasing number of Southeast Asian and European healthcare facilities that meet the healthcare standards of developed countries such as the United States and Canada.

The standard policies offered by medical tourism companies generally cover healthcare complications, medical evacuation, trip cancellation, acute illnesses, and injuries that may arise during the health travel for the patient and travel companion. However, the packages and coverage limits depend on the policy offered by the respective insurance company. The four major insurers in the United States: Aetna, UnitedHealth, WellPoint, and Humana are taking foot forward in order to expand their coverage to include international plans on the basis of affordability of healthcare in foreign countries.

Aetna, the largest for-profit healthcare management company in the United States, made collaborations with Apollo hospital, India to create an insurance plan for Americans to receive healthcare treatment at the hospital.

This insurance coverage by Aetna sends employees of Serigraph Inc., a client of Athena WellPoint, to Apollo Hospital for specific routine procedures. The program is scheduled to begin with Apollo Hospitals in Delhi and Bangalore, then to its JCI-approved clinics. Under this insurance plan, all expenses accrued by the patients, including travel and accommodation, will be reimbursed by Athena Wellpoint.

The law notes that travel insurance, consisting of medical and accident insurance, is mandatory and should be carried out on the basis of an agreement between the subjects of such travel activities and their insurers.

In this case, there should be an insurance contract which must be presented to the travel agent before departure. The insurance contract, as stated by the law, shall provide medical care to tourists and reimbursements of the expenses accrued during the period of stay in the country.

One interesting response to this trend in medical tourism is that healthcare facilities in the US, for example, has begun accepting referrals from health travel agencies, providing discounted services to American and non-American patients.

This push in healthcare tourism has a significant impact on healthcare in participating countries. In countries where patients experience long waits before undergoing a medical procedure or treatment, medical tourism offers various options to clear such backlogs by referring their patients to international healthcare providers. This is the case with the British National Health Service which refers patients for elective medical procedures to neighboring countries.

This disruption by health insurance companies in the medical tourism industry is taking a rapid turn as technology advances. Digitization has eased payment models and customer care services, allowing for information transparency which drives patients to determine where and how they receive health care.

With over 14 million patients traveling for healthcare yearly, medical tourism is still regarded as a growing industry. However, as advances in technology, as well as better collaborations from insurance companies, persist in global healthcare, medical tourism would grow into a borderless industry.

NTP Healthcare support with the mediation between the Indian Hospital & Insurance company / Patient eligibility claims and reimbursements .