Find travel insurance for overseas medical emergencies or if you have a pre-existing condition
Getting seriously ill or injured overseas can be an expensive ordeal. The cost of receiving emergency transportation to local facilities or back home or to receive treatment can quickly run into the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Did you know the daily cost to stay in hospital in the United States is as much as $750? And that's before you even receive any treatment...
Medical travel insurance provides cover for:
- Emergency medical and hospital expenses including hospital stay, surgery, dental treatment and nursing
- 24 hour emergency assistance including ambulance fees, medical evacuations and hospital guarantees
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is still possible to take out travel insurance but there may be some exclusions applied for certain conditions. Read on to learn more about how medical travel insurance works and how you can get cover for your condition.
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Interesting points about Medical Travel Insurance
- What exactly does medical travel insurance cover?
- Travel insurance and pre-existing conditions in Australia
What exactly does medical travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance can provide cover for a whole range of medical expenses that you may face while overseas including:
- Visits to a local doctor or other certified medical practitioner approved by the provider
- Emergency evacuation to the closest medical facility. This may be transport by air or road.
- Admission and treatment in a medical facility
- Prescribed medication for serious illness or injury suffered while travelling
- Prescribed physiotherapy for injuries suffered while travelling
- Additional out of pocket expenses if you are admitted to a hospital
- Repatriation back home to Australia
- Additional expenses for your travel partner or relative to stay with your while you are admitted to a hospital overseas
Dengue fever in downtown Bali
Four days late on the island of Sumbawa, I woke up with a fever, headache (behind my eyes), and muscle and joint pain. It was unlike anything I'd experienced before. Within hours I had broken out in a red rash.
To relieve the pain I drank water and took paracetamol and Ibuprofen (I was later informed that Ibuprofen should be avoided as it can aggravate bleeding).
I called home and was given told to get on a flight back to Kuta and check into the hospital. Which I did. Once in hospital my blood test came back as positive for Dengue fever.
My medical travel insurance representative got in touch with the Bali International Medical Centre and the overall support from both parties was amazing. I had an Australian nurse I could contact at any time and the insurance company arranged to have mum fly over if needed.
I was surprised how many other Australian tourists were in the hospital for Dengue Fever during my stay. My platelet count was extremely low and there was a high danger of internal bleeding so I remained in hospital for five days.
After 14 days, the hospital gave me the all clear to fly and I travelled home.
- Have you spoken with a medical adviser? If you are sick or injured, don't leave anything, and seek medical assistance immediately.
- Have you called your travel insurer? This should be your first point of contact after the relevant local authorities if you have suffered a medical event. Not only will they be able to put you in touch with local medical providers, this will also ensure you don't have to pay out-of-pocket.
- Have you called your family and friends? Make sure you keep your family and friends appraised of your situation. They may be able to deal with your doctors or the insurer should you be unable to.
- Have you contacted your consular services? In some cases you may want to get in touch with the consular services if you have exhausted other avenues of assistance.
If you receive medical treatment when overseas and wish to file a claim, while claim processes can vary from one insurer to the next, the basics remains the same. When filing your medical travel insurance claim, you'll need to provide the following:
- A medical certificate that states your receiving treatment for a given illness or injury
- Receipts proving you’ve paid for treatment
Contacting your insurance provider upon hospitalisation is a good idea, as it can then communicate with the medical facility and authorise payment.
In case of hospitalisation, contacting your insurance provider can be necessary if you wish to claim for expenses towards airfare or evacuation. It’s important to note that your medical travel insurance might not cover medical and hospital costs that you incur in Australia.
Find travel insurance policies with cover for medical related losses
It is critical that anyone considering taking out travel insurance takes the time to actually read through the product disclosure statement so that they are aware of any particular exclusions that may be relevant to their situation. This is especially important when it comes to pre-existing medical conditions as the terms can vary quite significantly between different providers on how they will cover certain conditions. If you are ever unsure whether a condition you have or have previously had will be covered under the policy, it is always best to contact your insurer to clarify prior to purchasing your cover.
Picture: Mats Hagwall, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)
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