Know Before You Go: Travel Medical Insurance

This afternoon I stumbled across this article in the Associated Press (AP) entitled, Experts say travel health insurance can be crucial, by Lindsay Turner and published on 9 May 2010. This article highlights some recent cases in the United States where American citizens traveled abroad, had a health issue and needed to be flown back to the United States because of urgent and life-threatening conditions.

Travelers who might head to Europe should be aware that they will generally not be covered by the government health care programs in many countries (although I’ve never heard of someone being turned away — in fact, a colleague of mine slipped and damaged her arm while vacationing in Ireland, and only had to pay $50 for her emergency room visit, and my own visit to an Italian emergency room was also free). It is always important to purchase travel insurance that will cover your costs of getting back home should you need to in a medical emergency, which, according to the AP article, could cost $100,000 or more.
Many travel medical policies and some travel insurance policies will cover your repatriation if you become seriously ill or if you (God forbid) pass away on your vacation. No one wants to be alarmist, but considering what getting home on a specially chartered flight might mean if you’re very ill, then having this kind of insurance is definitely a piece of mind. Many private plans do not cover these kinds of expenses.
The AP article highlights how important it is to be prepared for any health emergency, especially if you have had previous health issues. If you do not speak the local language, having these kinds of policies only become more important because undergoing surgery in a foreign country where English is not the primary language can be daunting and scary. Putting out a few dollars for these kinds of policies makes sense, especially if you do not have the necessary funds to cover these costs should they come up.
You’ll enjoy your trip more knowing that these kinds of eventualities are covered!
pictured: stairway located in Trajan’s Market, Rome