Medical Tourism Scams

Medical tourism is estimated to be a $20 billion global industry.

Given the cost of health insurance in the United States, the long waiting time for non-elective surgery in countries with government-funded national health insurance and prohibitions on unconventional procedures in much of the world, patients and potential patients are increasingly turning to private, overseas care.

In addition, many smaller countries simply do not have the medical infrastructure to provide more sophisticated, specialized care, and their citizens have no other option apart from seeking the type of treatment they require abroad.

While many clinics catering to foreign patients are indeed legitimate, are licensed by local medical authorities and cost less due to real disparities in economic gaps between countries, a parallel scam industry exists as well.  Medical scams run the gamut from transplant surgery to cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgery to experimental surgery, from stem cell treatments to fertility treatments, as well as pharmaceuticals, alternative medicines, dentistry, and cancer therapies.

One of the reasons why these scams have flourished is that attempts to regulate international medical tourism or certify their facilities are far and few between.  Three non-profit organizations, one in Canada, the second in the U.S.  and the third in Britain, do exist, but their global impact is limited.  Many if not most people who are desperate to seek medical solutions abroad do not even know about them.

Another factor is that in many of the countries that have become magnets for unconventional medical tourism, professional credentials and institutional licenses can be obtained through fraud or in exchange for bribes.

In other cases, the practitioners and facilities may be fully certified locally, even though the services they provide would not be in Western countries.

Can You Get Your Money Back?

If you paid for treatment at a foreign clinic and are unsatisfied with the results, or you were deceived outright, or your condition deteriorated due to unsanitary conditions in the facility, getting your money back on your own is almost impossible.  Who can you sue?  And could you even afford to do so?  Filing a suit in a foreign court is a daunting task.  In addition to the cost of an attorney (assuming you could find one who is qualified), you will also have to pay court costs and return there at least once to submit testimony.  You may also have to submit a police complaint as well.  And, of course, any trial will take time before it can proceed.

If you arranged your treatment abroad through a medical travel agency, you can consider suing them.  That will probably cost more and take at least as long before a verdict is reached.

But there is another possibility, one that takes far less time to produce results.  Assuming you paid for your treatment with a credit or debit card, you can file for a chargeback.  To do so you have to convince the bank that issued you your charge card to open a dispute with the merchant.  But you have only one chance to do so.  If the bank rejects your chargeback request, you will not be permitted to repeat the process.  That’s why you require professional assistance, which is the added value you get when MyChargeBack assists you.

If you think you have been victimized by a medical tourism scam, consult with our fund recovery experts at MyChargeBack.com.