Many people dream of traveling abroad. Sometimes, however, that dream can turn into a nightmare if they get injured or ill while traveling in a foreign country. If you are planning a trip abroad, it is crucial to make sure you are prepared in case you get injured or ill and also reduce your risks of illnesses. Here are a few important things to do before you set off on your travels.
Will your health insurance cover you while you are abroad?
It's important to find out if your health insurance policy will cover any or all medical expenses and medications while you are abroad. If your health insurance policy will not cover anything or will only cover little, it's highly advised for you to get travel medical insurance. You may find traveler's insurance that will also cover medical costs and evacuation. However, read the policies thoroughly as not all do.
If your health insurance will cover medical costs incurred abroad, ask whether or not you will be required to get pre-authorizations before you receive emergency treatment. Also, ask if you will also be required to get a second opinion before emergency treatments. You'll also want to find out if the insurance company will pay the foreign hospitals directly or if they will reimburse you for expenses the foreign hospitals charge you. Another important thing to ask is if your insurance policy would cover the costs of a medical emergency evacuation back to the states, which could cost as much as $100,000.
What immunizations will you need before traveling abroad?
Depending on your travel destinations, you may need some immunizations. Requirements for specific immunizations can change over time so be sure to check even if you have traveled to the same country recently. Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control keeps an updated list of required immunizations by country on their website. If you are traveling extensively and will visit more than one country, be sure to create a list to take with you to your primary care provider or family medical practitioner for each country's immunization requirements.
You may be required to carry a Yellow Card (International Certificate of Vaccination) with you while you travel, depending on your destination. The health care specialist who gives you your immunizations will give you this card, which is designed to fit inside your passport. The date and dose of your immunizations will be listed on this card. If you do not have this card when you arrive at your destination, you may be required to get a vaccination onsite or be quarantined or refused entry.