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Travel Insurance: Essential in International Medical Care

For most of us, travelling abroad is an exciting prospect, choosing the destinations, visiting sites and researching the culture of the place. But more often than not, we overlook planning for unexpected events that may occur while travelling. What if you had a sudden health issue on your trip? Would you know which hospital to go to? What if a medical evacuation was required to get proper treatment? All these are questions that you must ask yourself before planning your overseas trip. Even a thing as simple as a fall on a cruise ship or an accident in a foreign country can prove to be extremely expensive.

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A few years back, a sportsman went on a trip to West Africa where he was seriously injured when a falling branch fell on him. He had to be taken to a medical facility for a back surgery, but as he did not have travel insurance or medical evacuation coverage, he had to fork out thousands of dollars on his medical bills.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that their medical coverage will take care of all such emergencies when travelling abroad, but the reality is that many health plans offer limited coverage. However, travel insurance offers a perfect solution, covering exorbitant medical costs for unexpected medical emergencies that may occur on a business trip or a holiday. Recent studies show that an increasing number of people the world over are now realizing the necessity of travel insurance in ensuring their emotional, physical and financial well being.

Getting medical care in a foreign country can be a challenge, but your travel insurance can be a great asset in such situations, providing for expenses of medical care, hospitalization and even medical evacuation. Even the cost of diagnostic tests and therapies are covered by your insurance plan. Adventure travellers can go for optional benefits, where coverage is offered for medical expenses resulting from any adventure activities such as scuba diving, bungee jumping, sky diving and so on.

Anyone travelling overseas for work, studies or pleasure needs proper medical coverage. In fact, it is mandatory to have adequate coverage before travelling overseas for work or educational purposes. Many international workers are also required to have an insurance plan that is specifically designed for their work location. For expatriates living or working overseas, travel insurance is a must. Getting medical treatment abroad can be difficult and expensive, especially so in an emergency; but with a comprehensive insurance plan, they can get quality health care anywhere in the world.

According to an NGO bureau in Kenya, there are about 5000 to 7000 NGOs providing health services to the Kenyan community. For NGO teams, it is essential that frontline staff have ready access to good quality international medical care for their patients. Often a patient needs to be airlifted for treatment; in such situations, it is reassuring to have insurance that provides adequate medical coverage.

Most often, people find out that they are inadequately insured after they become ill or injured in a foreign country. Not only does this cause tremendous financial strain to the person involved but could affect the quality of treatment too.

In New Zealand, holiday makers are advised to take out travel insurance before flying to the Pacific Islands on vacations. Every year, almost 255,000 people from New Zealand visit the Pacific Islands, but if unexpected emergencies come up, they can end up with expensive medical bills. While healthcare facilities on the islands are adequate for routine illnesses, serious medical emergencies resulted in evacuations all the way to New Zealand or even Australia. According to an insurance company, it paid out over $340,000 in medical evacuations alone, as the cost of an emergency air ambulance could start around $10,000 but could go up to more than 10 times this amount.

There are two things you need to take care of before getting travel insurance; one is the places you will be travelling to. The second is being aware of the kind of medical care that will be available at your destination. Once you are sure of these two factors, you can buy a plan that gives you good coverage and covers every possible situation. Remember, no matter where you are going there are things that you can and cannot account for. By planning ahead and choosing travel insurance for international medical care, you can ensure safe and hassle free journeys.

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