Getting Urgent Healthcare in a Foreign Land
Many people aren’t aware of what to do when a healthcare emergency strikes on a trip abroad nor what their insurance policy may cover. Illness or a medical emergency is rarely what we’re thinking about during vacation planning but these situations do happen. Here are some expert tips to consider:
- Most private health insurance plans do cover emergency healthcare abroad with coverage typically similar to that expected for out-of-network care in the US. In contrast, Medicare does not typically extend coverage abroad.
- Before your trip, check to see if your insurance company contracts with a travel services vendor that can connect you with doctors and other medical services in your destination country. Make copies of your insurance card(s) and phone numbers and keep them with you.
- If your insurance provider does not offer travel services, consider a separate short-term travel policy to cover care costs above your primary plan coverage. Online insurance broker EHealth claims that these policies can be secured for under $15 per day.
- When you’re at a foreign hospital or urgent care, call your travel insurer or primary carrier, who may be able to help navigate the situation for you. Remember that payment is typically made at the time of care with reimbursement handled when you return home – so keep all of your receipts!