You spent months, and perhaps thousands of dollars, planning a vacation. Now you’re on the beaches of Hawaii, in the mountains of Colorado, or perhaps even touring a foreign country… and you’ve just broken your leg. Or maybe you have the flu. Even worse, maybe you “drank the water” and now you’re suffering a bad case of dysentery.
Whatever the illness or injury, it can be frightening to find yourself hundreds or thousands of miles from home, in need of medical attention. On top of that, you’re probably wondering whether your health insurance plan will cover you, or you’ll be on the hook for a huge doctor bill.
Prevention is the best “medicine”. Obviously, it’s easier to plan for these circumstances than it is to remedy them after the fact. While planning your vacation, go ahead and call your health insurance provider and ask about coverage in your intended destination. If you’re traveling in the US, there is a good chance you’ll be covered. If you’re leaving the country, you need to know what to expect. Travel insurance is a good idea in many cases.
Also, plan ahead for run-of-the-mill illnesses by bringing your preferred over-the-counter remedies with you. At the very least, you can keep yourself comfortable while deciding whether you need more specialized care.
Remember, when traveling, to always bring along enough of your regular medications to accommodate delays. If you get sick, you might arrive home a few days later than planned.
Consult your hotel’s concierge. If you do become ill while on vacation, alert your hotel’s concierge. He or she can direct you to a nearby clinic with a good reputation, and help you find a pharmacy.
Notify a flight attendant. If you get sick while traveling, a flight attendant might be able to relocate you to a more comfortable seat, bring you an extra pillow, or offer bottled water. In some cases they might be able to locate a doctor on board.
Change your itinerary. It’s bad enough to be sick in a luxurious hotel. You certainly don’t want to add the misery of travel to your burdens! Plan to stay put for a few days so that you don’t have to deal with crowded terminals and motion sickness on top of what you’re already enduring.
Call your doctor at home. He or she might be able to make recommendations over the phone. At the very least, they can warn you of any potential complications due to your regular prescription medications or chronic conditions they have already diagnosed.
Remember your documents. If you decide to visit a local clinic, take your identification, travel documents, and health insurance card just in case.
Give us a call before you leave! As we mentioned, it’s best to take this step before traveling, so you can understand the extent of your healthcare benefits. But if you find yourself abroad, and injured or ill, we can still help you determine what type of care will or will not be covered by your health insurance plan.