More often people tend to ignore it, not until it happens. Jetting off to a foreign place is truly an exciting adventure, but a broken bone, a disgusting bug bite or something severe, which all can cost you more if not prepared.
The fact is that getting sick or injured at home is bad enough, but when in a foreign country, it can be scary and expensive; especially if you are in a country where they do not speak your language.
Therefore, it is important to know what to do in a medical situation while overseas. This does not only include getting immediate medical attention, but also saving you dollars in the process.
- Consider Travel And Health Insurance
Travel and health insurance should be the number one priority no matter the country you are going to. Surprisingly, 20% of people risk by traveling without traveling and health insurance; all in the name of saving some coins. However, in the event of an emergency, or simply getting treatment for a particular illness, that person will end up spending more, which is a false economy. It is important to note that medical emergencies abroad tend to be expensive to visitors compared to natives.
Below are costs of air ambulance in some countries:
- $48,500-62,500 From East Coast of USA Air Ambulance
- $16,600-22,000 From The Canary Island Air Ambulance
- $20,800-27,700 Scheduling stretchers, Flight and Doctor escort from Australia
Always Ensure The Policy Covers:
- Health and Medical cover for sudden illnesses and injuries abroad
- 24/7 access to emergency services and assistance
- Cover for stolen or lost items
- Holiday cancellation cover
- Additional protection for activities like scuba diving, bungee jumping, paragliding and others
To know more about this, read Skyscanner’s travel insurance guide.
- If Visiting Europe, Get An EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)
If you are visiting Europe, then you should replace the old E111 form, and apply for an EHIC before you travel. This card gives you the right to healthcare during temporal visits to EEA. All UK citizens above the age of 16 years are entitled to have this card.
This card is free, and you will be covered if you suddenly feel ill or have an accident. Through this card, you will gain access to state-provided care, which may be free or required to pay a much smaller fee. All that is required of you is to carry it everywhere you go. It is important to note that EHIC doesn’t allow repatriation to private or the UK treatment.
NOTE: every country’s healthcare system is different and what is covered by NHS in America, may not be covered for free in other countries.
It is always important to check NHS travel advice page, to know more about what is covered country to country. This will guide you to know what to expect in the country you are visiting.
- Research More About Your Destination And Go Prepared
Do you need any vaccinations? Do you need malaria treatment? Can you drink tap water? It is always important to visit the NHS’ Fit for Travel page to know more about your destination and what you will need.
According to Your Legal Friend, it is wise to carry your supply of medicine if you must have them. However, due to legalities, it is important to have credentials to support them. Keep in mind that not all medications allowed in your country, are permitted in others.
Having a small pack first aid kit may come in handy. Gelert Travel Pack Kit is ideal for travelling.
- Tour Operator And Hospitality Industries
Your tour guide or operator should be in a position to direct you to the nearest hospital or dentist. In a matter of fact, this is a requirement in the hospitality industry as well. Depending on the country, you may go to a hospital that attendants speak in English, but if they are not, it is wise to look for someone with the knowledge to translate for you.
If you are in Europe, make sure that you produce your EHIC card. Its tradition to pay upfront or provide a credit card before any service. It is wise to ask for the receipt and other medical documents so that you can claim your insurance the moment you get back.
If the issue revolves around oral health, make sure that you request the dentist to give you a confirmation of the ause as well as detailed treatment offered.
- Hospital Stays And Emergencies
In America or Europe, dialing either 112 or 911 will get you emergency services. For this reason, if you go to other countries, it is wise to check their local number and save it on your phone.
For serious cases, it is wise to contact your travel insurance company immediately and explain your situation.
- Contact Your Nearest Embassy
When the problem becomes serious, such as admission, you should contact your nearest country’s embassy. The FCO will then pass on the information to your friends, family, and your insurance or medical evacuation company. NOTE: they will neither pay your medical bill nor provide medical treatment themselves.