Obtaining Health Care Abroad
When traveling any number of situations may arise that require medical attention. From a minor infection or illness, to a major injury, or even the worsening of a preexisting chronic condition. It is wise to consider prior to travel how you might access healthcare should you need it. The quality and availability of medical care abroad varies greatly, so a little planning ahead of time can go a long way.
Check with your insurance company before you go. Some plans cover healthcare abroad, but most don’t. In many countries health care providers are likely to request payment at time of service. Many hospitals will request cash only and may require a deposit before admitting a patient. Credit cards are not always accepted. Cost effective travel health insurance plans are readily available, and can be purchased for the number of days you will be out of the country. Be sure to get a policy that includes medical evacuation. The added cost is minimal, and it may literally save your life!
Be prepared with a list of your current medications, including the generic name, and the dosage you take. (It is ideal to have the medication names in the local language.) Carry an ample supply of prescription and routine medications in your carry-on luggage, and have copies of the actual prescriptions. If appropriate, wear medical identification jewelry while abroad. You may also consider having your medical records available. There are many cell phone apps, which allow you to download medical records so they are always with you.
As part of your pre travel consultation, we will provide you with information about the quality of medical care, and tips on how to obtain it in your destination. You can also get information about how to access medical services from the Department of State (www.usembassy.gov) or the International Society of Travel Medicine (www.istm.org). The Joint Commission International offers accreditation and certification of health care facilities in many countries. The list of accredited facilities can be easily accessed (www.jointcommissioninternational.org/JCI-Accredited-Organizations).
Odds are you will not need to access healthcare while abroad. Most travelers enjoy great health and well being on their journey. So plan on optimum health, but be prepared in the event of unforeseen illness.