Care that requires a hospital stay. It might include treatment for a serious illness, major surgery, and childbirth.
As an expat, you don’t know what’s around the corner. You may have an accident or become seriously ill and need a stay in hospital. But you may also require access to minor and routine medical treatments while you’re overseas. This is why having international health insurance that covers in-patient and out-patient care is so important. Understand the difference and what it means for you.
What is the main difference between in-patient and out-patient care?
- In-patient care is given when someone stays in hospital–even for just a single night.
- Out-patient care, sometimes called ambulatory care, can be provided in a clinic, a doctor’s surgery, a hospital or other care settings, but the main difference is that it doesn’t require a hospital stay.
What determines if you need in-patient or out-patient care?
It largely depends on whether you need constant medical monitoring by doctors and nurses that can only be provided during a hospital stay. So, for example, 24-hour care, intensive care, major surgery and recovery from major surgery can only be given on an in-patient basis. You might also need in-patient care for a serious acute or chronic illness, such as cancer or kidney disease.
Out-patient treatment can be safely provided without you needing to stay in hospital overnight. So, for example, it might include minor surgery like removal of cataracts or moles, minor diagnostic tests like blood tests and X-rays, and physiotherapy.
Some treatments might be provided on an inpatient or out-patient basis depending on the circumstances. You might be able to receive chemotherapy or dialysis treatment as an out-patient, for example.
There’s also a third category, day-patient care. If you’re treated as a day-patient, you’ll be given a hospital bed while you recover from your treatment, but you won’t stay overnight.
What are examples of out-patient care?
Types of out-patient care can include:
What are the costs for in-patient vs out-patient care?
Not surprisingly, in-patient care costs more than out-patient care.
It has to take into account the cost of all the equipment needed for a hospital stay, as well as hospital admin, pharmacy costs and paying the salaries of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Expats could find themselves paying considerable hospital bills for essential treatment out of their own pocket if they don’t have international health insurance.
However, out-patient care is not necessarily cheap and costs could soon add up, especially if you need several treatments. Again, you’ll need to meet these yourself if you don’t have a health insurance plan that includes out-patient care.