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Lloyd's New Insurance Product Covers Foreign Patients

Lloyd's New Insurance Product Covers Foreign Patients

Monday April 16, 2012

Lloyd’s has launched an insurance product that provides complications insurance for plastic surgeons globally to help protect patients who travel abroad for treatment.

The rise in medical tourism, where patients travel out of their home country for plastic surgery, has put into question the foundation of the patient-doctor relationship and is endangering many who seek low cost surgery.

"We see travel agencies brokering surgery for their clients with surgeons they have never met. The patients have no assurance that their surgeon is properly trained or qualified to perform the procedure they will undergo, and all too often little attention is paid to post-surgical care," says Catherine Foss, executive director of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, which has endorsed the product.

An article in the August issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Complications from International Surgery Tourism, referred to a recent US study showing an increase in post-surgical complication rates in patients returning from surgery overseas. In quite a few cases, the complications were sufficiently serious to require that patients go directly to a hospital for care on their return.

There is a misconception that anyone with an MD can safely perform any surgical procedure. Legislation around the world is changing to reflect a growing concern that patients are being treated surgically by incompetent and untrained individuals - sometimes not even physicians.

Several countries including Italy, Russia, Mexico, Colombia and Canada are leading the way with new regulations controlling who can perform what specific procedure on which patients and in what facility. This is also the case in Denmark, a front-runner in strict regulation of all private medical clinics and surgical facilities - indeed closing some that were sub-standard. Similarly, Germany and France have had strict regulations for many years. Under the auspices of the Comité Européen de Normalisation, a Europe-wide effort is currently underway to set standards that will protect plastic surgery patients.

This insurance is only available if the surgeon is a member of ISAPS. A second insurance product for patients about to be launched in the UK will expand to other countries later. Coverage will include travel insurance and will respond in cases of complications from aesthetic surgery either at home or abroad.
This insurance program requires that patients are screened at home before traveling abroad for surgery to be sure they are appropriate candidates for the procedure they seek.

The policy will only respond if surgical complications of surgery by one ISAPS member surgeon are treated either by that same surgeon or by another ISAPS member surgeon. A patient requiring remedial or corrective treatment once back in their country of residence will be directed to an ISAPS surgeon approved to carry out the specific treatment indicated.

Complications of plastic surgery can result in hematomas, post-surgical infection, slow wound drainage or healing problems, tissue necrosis, or suture dehiscence. Some complications have very poor or no resolution and these results can never be corrected.

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Tags: medical tourism, insurance, Lloyd’s, treatment abroad, plastic surgery, international patients

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