Today treatment outside the native country is no longer an extraordinary event. Patients go abroad in search of precise diagnosis, the latest models of equipment, extensive practical experience of doctors, developed in the course of clinical trials innovative treatment methods and drugs, as well as effective rehabilitation programs. Naturally, the financial aspect of medical trips is often crucial when choosing a clinic or a method of treatment. Payment for the treatment of international patients in Germany has few peculiarities. With the help of this information you can significantly reduce the total cost of restoring your health.
What does the cost of treatment depend on?
When paying a check in the clinic, we see the final cost of treatment and can only accept it. If you want to be able to make conscious decisions and don`t spend extra money, you should carefully investigate factors that determine the amount in the final line.
- The main clinical diagnosis and medical specialty. For example, neurological and neurosurgical diseases usually require more expensive examination and treatment than internal disorders do. And before admitting patients with oncological diseases the clinic additionally requests certain deposit amount.
- Presence of concomitant pathologies. In case additional doctors are involved in the check-up program or treatment (this is called “consultation of the related specialists”), the cost of clinic services increases.
- General state of the patient. Staying in the ICU due to severe general condition is more expensive than usual inpatient treatment. Outpatient programs, which are suitable for patients with mild diseases, are the most low-price ones. Even more, the same surgical intervention will have different cost depending on presence or absence of complications.
- Age. Usually the services of children's clinics are more expensive in comparison with adult ones. The reason is children's clinics require special equipment for different age groups of patients – newborns, infants, school-age children and adolescents. Adolescents over 15 years old can be admitted to the adult healthcare institutions.
- Treatment scheme. Beyond all doubt, a complex neurosurgical operation, arthroplasty or chemotherapy in oncological pathology are connected with different costs. Speaking generally, conservative treatment is usually cheaper than the surgical one.
- Academic degree of a treating physician. Fees for the treatment by the clinical ordinators, professors and the head of the department are different. And this is natural, as the specialist's fee corresponds to his qualifications.
- Type of the clinic. The cost difference between a university clinic and a small praxis (private clinic) can be significant. At the same time, the quality of medical care doesn`t always directly correspond to the price, as specialists in praxis and university clinic can be the same.
- For inpatient programs – type of the room. A standard double room is cheaper than a single or VIP room. Clinics usually offer different options of accommodation, and the patient can choose the most convenient one.
- For inpatient programs – type of the accompanying person accommodation. In case relatives or friends of the patient want to be near him all the time and stay in the clinic, it is associated with additional costs.
- Duration of the inpatient or rehabilitation program. Additional days of staying in the hospital and extended rehabilitation programs will cost more than the standard ones. This includes both number of days and additional procedures.
After receiving all the information, accounting department of the clinic prepares a preliminary calculation, which reflects the estimated cost of services for a particular patient. Of course, it is impossible to predict everything exactly in medicine, so once the treatment is completed the calculation is adjusted, if necessary.
It should be noted, that in addition to medical services you need to issue a visa, buy tickets, hire an interpreter and translate medical documentation. In outpatient medical programs it is worth thinking about accommodation, meals and transport for getting to the clinic in advance. Without proper planning organizational expenses can be even higher than the medical ones.
What can I do to reduce the cost of the trip?
If the total sum in the preliminary calculation and the organizational costs are acceptable for you, you can immediately fly to Germany and start a medical program. In other cases, you should think about acceptable personally for you options of saving money. Virtually, you can sacrifice either your time, comfort or quality of treatment.
Additional organizational work and time expenditure. If the disease doesn`t require urgent hospitalization and you can postpone start of the treatment, then you can:
- Issue a visa by yourself, without a medical invitation. Please, do it only in case you are sure that you will get the visa. After the initial refusal coming to the German clinic will be much more difficult.
- Translate medical records (case records, laboratory results, CT/MRI protocols and so on) into German by yourself. It is better to use the services of medical translators with experience in the relevant field.
- Wait for a discount for air tickets or accommodation in the hotel.
If comfort during the travel and treatment is not the most important thing for you, then you can:
- Buy economy class plane tickets or think over another budget trip plan. It is necessary to consider general state of the patient and his ability to tolerate such a journey.
- Choose double room while staying in the clinic. You will share the room with one neighbor with a similar illness. As for the accommodation of the accompanying person, you can find a budget hotel or apartment. You should also take into consideration the cost of a daily journey from the hotel to the clinic and back.
- Do not use services of an interpreter, communicating with doctors in a possible for you form. As for further treatment recommendations, you`ll have a chance to investigate them carefully at home, after the translation into native language.
The last thing it is worth saving on is the quality of treatment. As a last resort you can:
- Choose a more budget clinic, perhaps, less specialized or located in a less popular region of the country.
- Refuse the services of the head physician of the clinic and professors, choosing treatment by usual clinical ordinators of the healthcare institution.
- Whenever it is possible, give preference to outpatient treatment.
- Consider different options of the inpatient treatment, as the conservative treatment will always be more affordable in comparison with the surgical one. For example, in arthroplasty surgeries you can choose prosthesis of lower quality, with shorter service life and simplified characteristics.
- Postpone the postoperative rehabilitation or even try to undergo rehabilitation at home, with the help of less specialized equipment.
You should perfectly understand that the balance between saving money and the final result of therapy is crucial.
Professional help is always relevant
During the first visit to Germany it is impossible to foresee all practical moments of communicating with the clinic and solving everyday problems. And even experienced patients can get lost in the updated rules of medical insurance, cost of inpatient and outpatient service packages, as well as the details of final calculation. This is why international patients often turn to expert in this field – certified medical tourism operator, the company Booking Health.
The company Booking Health has been organizing check-ups, treatment and rehabilitation of international patients in specialized clinics of Germany for more than 15 years. The international quality control certificate ISO 9001:2015 in the field of medical tourism confirms correspondence of the company's work to the highest international standards. The company helps up to 10 000 patients with various pathologies annually. Specialists of Booking Health work with the most complex clinical cases.
When choosing the medical program, the first priority is given to the medical aspects and maximal improving a patient`s state of health. Nevertheless, we always consider the financial resources of the person, as sometimes saving money becomes the only way to receive treatment in Germany. Extensive practical experience of the Booking Health specialists, direct contracts with leading clinics and active participation in the life of each patient make cost savings really significant.
- Medical advisors of Booking Health carefully investigate each case and select the most appropriate clinic and doctor individually. This is possible as the company has access to international ratings and success rates of clinics and particular doctors. Starting medical program in a specialized on a particular disease clinic allows you to save money on a preliminary examination in a general clinic, which can cost up to 2-4 000 euros.
- The Booking Health company agrees plan of the medical program with the doctor in advance. The clinic is ready to admit a patient immediately after the arrival. A person doesn`t waste days and weeks waiting for the appointment and saves certain amount of money on accommodation.
- Booking Health provides additional discounts for the patients. The company takes care of all the administrative, financial and organizational work, so the clinic deducts cost of these issues from the final calculation. In this case the cost of treatment for patients is 30-50% lower comparing to the direct work with the clinic.
- The company Booking Health has full and updated information about promotional discounts in leading clinics. If you are going to have routine treatment (for example, arthroplasty, surgical treatment of obesity, mammoplasty), which can be postponed for few weeks or months, then you can wait and save up to 3500 euros during the action period.
- Booking Health continues coordinating the medical program during your stay in the clinic. The company officially represents the patient's interests: avoids unnecessary investigations and overstating the cost of examination and treatment, carefully monitors invoices from the clinic after the completion of the program.
- Booking Health helps in saving on the accommodation for accompanying people. Expensive and, in fact, useless stay in a hospital can be substituted by booking a hotel or apartment. Managers of the company will advise the most appropriate options of accommodation in walking distance from the hospital. In addition, you can receive significant discounts that are provided to customers by Booking Health. Your personal manager will give useful advice on budget mobile communication, food and other household matters, if necessary.
- The work of Booking Health allows reducing the number of visits to a doctor. Competent workers of the company understand that international patients don`t have an opportunity to undergo a follow-up examination and visit the clinic every 2-3 weeks. Therefore, Booking Health organizes remote consultations with the attending physician, as well as the transfer of medical data with the help of the company's secure medical document management system – E-doc.
- Whenever the treatment scheme includes a surgical intervention, Booking Health provides a patient with additional insurance against complications. The insurance covers amount of 200,000 euros. Surgical treatment in Germany is associated with a minimal risk of postoperative complications, but in comprehensive interventions and complex pathologies insurance provides additional guarantees. In addition, Booking Health works with main insurance companies, choosing the most advantageous conditions for the patients.
In order to estimate preliminary cost of treatment and choose the appropriate method of saving money, you should leave a request on the official website of the company Booking Health. After that a patient case manager will contact you in order to clarify the details of your state, give the necessary advice and coordinate further actions. We find solutions in the most difficult cases and will be glad to guide you along the way to cure.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova