Don’t leave home without it…and I’m not talking about your American Express card…
With the talk of universal health care in America recently, this story struck a nerve with me. Loyal reader Karen passed this on to me and I planned on talking about this today.
George Dobson from Australia was hiking in India, fell down a cliff and was paralyzed from the neck down. His family has gone into serious debt to pay for his medical bills and still can’t even get him out of India. They have had to raise over $50,000AUS to get him back to Australia. All of this because he didn’t have TRAVEL INSURANCE.
When we take off, most of us don’t even think about medical insurance. If we have medical insurance in our home country, we automatically assume that it extends when we go overseas. Not always the case.
For the sake of this discussion, I’m talking about medical travel insurance, not travel insurance that covers incidents like reimbursement for lost luggage or cancelled flights. Those generally will not put you or your family in life altering debt or possibly have you lose your life. Medical emergencies can do that.
If we have medical insurance at home, find out exactly what it covers overseas. Find out if it is even valid overseas. If not…
New MEDICAL TRAVEL INSURANCE:
- Should cover whatever country we happen to go to. Some policies only cover certain countries or regions of the world.
- Should cover lost or stolen prescription medication. If you have a special medical condition that require medicine, don’t pay through your nose to get it back if you run out or lose it.
- Should cover whatever activities you are involved in, including anything considered extreme, like bungee jumping, jet skiing, sky diving, etc.
- Should provide instant payments to the health care provider. In other words, you should not have to pay out of your own pocket and then be reimbursed by the insurance company. The insurance company should pay immediately.
- Should provide for airlift/medivac to your home country. If you are incapacitated and can’t get on a plane under your own power, that is a huge cost to get a special plane and crew to care for you while in the air. Medical evacuation can cost THOUSANDS of dollars. Should also cover ANY transportation needs, for instance, if you need a medivac helicopter because you’re injured and in the wilderness.
Fellow travel blogger Nomadic Matt has an article here on travel insurance for you to check out.
And if you are interested in making a donation to George Dobson’s fund, click here.