Medical Emergency While Traveling
Your dream vacation has been planned for years. Every last detail has been considered — the accommodations, the transportation, the packing and accessories.
Yet most of us overlook the possibility of a medical emergency while traveling. What would happen if you did have a medical emergency? Are you prepared? How much would it cost? Could you get home? Are the hospitals in your destination safe?
Here’s how you can be prepared in case you have a medical emergency while traveling.
Will your current health insurance pay for overseas care?
This is an important question and one that you will need to research before you go. Call your insurance company or review your plan to find out what they will and won’t pay for overseas.
Many insurance companies will pay for out-of-network care, but usually at a lower percentage. The problem here is that many overseas doctors and hospitals will require immediate payment.
Are you able to cover that cost out of pocket? If so, you must keep very accurate records and obtain receipts so that you can be reimbursed by your insurance company.
The next question is what doctors and hospitals should you go to? Travel insurance companies can help guide you through this.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends considering supplemental travel health insurance such as offered by Allianz Travel.
Allianz has a helpful phone app called Travel Smart that can help you locate pre-screened medical facilities nearby. Their app also translates common medical terms into 18 languages, so help you communicate if need be.
Will you be able to get back to your home country if gravely injured or sick?
Another type of insurance to consider is medical evacuation insurance. If health insurances or platinum credit cards cover it, it is generally to the “nearest acceptable facility.”
MedjetAssist is a good option to ensure you would have medical transportation back to your home country if need be. It is not insurance, but a membership. MedjetAssist will arrange for air medical transport to the hospital of your choice in your home country if you are 150 miles or more from your home.
This is regardless of medical necessity, with the exception that it must be a medical condition that prevents the member from continuing their trip without medical attention or returning home for medical care (see plan rules and regulations).
There are several different plans offered, such as short-term, collegiate, expatriate, domestic, annual, diamond. They also offer language translation, medical consult via phone and also transfer of mortal remains. With several plans you will need to have health insurance on top of this.
Will you be able to travel with your loved one if they need medical transport?
Check with the insurance you buy. MedJetAssist membership allows one person to travel at no extra cost with the ill or injured member.
Will you lose the money you paid for your vacation if the trip is interrupted?
A medical emergency will interrupt your vacation. You may lose the money paid for lodging, transportation, tours, etc. Buying trip cancellation insurance will help you recover your money, such as from Allianz Travel.
Will you have the medications you need?
Besides buying insurance for travel health, make sure you take a list of your medications with you. It is very important to carry some or all of your medication in the airplane cabin, in case your checked luggage is lost.
Being prepared for any medical emergency is essential for travel and will give you peace of mind. Enjoy your vacation or time abroad knowing you are prepared.