What can you do if a doctor tells you to seek medical care somewhere else? If your primary care physician tells you to seek medical care out of state because the treatment to cure your illness isn’t available in your area yet, you have no choice but to follow his advice. Whether you’re doing it for yourself or a family member, traveling for medical care is always a huge leap both financially and logistically.
For example, you need to seek care for your thyroid symptoms in Las Vegas or another U.S. city. If you live in the East Coast, this means traveling all the way to the West Coast just to have your illness diagnosed and treated. This means uprooting your life, job, and family. Even if it’s just for a few days or weeks, the financial constraint might be too much for you and your family.
The first thing you need to know is if your medical insurance will cover the cost of the diagnosis and treatment. Most insurance policies have restrictions on how much they will pay for medical expenses incurred out of state. Before you book that flight or rent a car, make sure to call your insurance agent so that you will be properly knowledgeable on how much the insurance policy is going to cover. When you find out that your insurance will not cover the bulk of your medical expenses, you might have to reconsider your decision to seek out-of-state medical treatment. Otherwise, you will have to pay for it from your own pocket.
Traveling to another state or country is no joke. Even if you’re just taking a vacation, traveling takes a toll both on your wallet and health. When you compare the cost of the medical expenses in and out of state, you might find out that seeking medical care in your network is the more affordable and practical option. But if this isn’t possible because of the unavailability of the medical treatment in your network, you have to factor in a lot of expenses if you are going to travel for medical care. These expenses include the airline ticket, car rental, accommodations, food, and other miscellaneous things.
You also need to think about the family members who will be traveling with you. If your spouse is going to be with you, it means that they will have to leave their job behind. Can you both afford not to have jobs and income? Who will be shouldering the expenses if both of you will not be working?
You can check for free lodging that various organizations like the cancer association offer patients. If you are eligible for free lodging or accommodation, then that will be a big help for your travel expenses.
If you have just undergone a medical procedure, your doctor may not allow you to travel even if you’re going to seek extensive medical care. Traveling for patients who have serious medical conditions can become fatal. It is important to ask your doctor when is the right time to travel to another state or country. Once your doctor clears you for travel, that’s the only time that you should book a ticket and hotel accommodation. While waiting for your doctor’s approval, it might be prudent of you to research the treatment and medication you’re going to seek out of state.
Seeking medical care outside of your network is not always a guarantee that you will receive the best care possible. Try to exhaust all possible medical services in your area before looking at out-of-state medical facilities. As always, aside from your doctor’s advice, you should do your research and verify the information you get with your doctor. That way, you can come up with the best possible solution to your medical issues.