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Minerva Santos, International Patient Services specialist for Sharp HealthCare, answers frequently asked questions about purchasing travel health insurance.
What is the best advice you would give to those traveling abroad?
The best advice would be to buy travel insurance. If you don't have good travel insurance and should have to go to the hospital while traveling outside of the
Another piece of advice would be to visit your primary care physician before you travel in order to make sure you are in good health and receive any necessary vaccinations. You should also remember to pack all important medications and prescriptions you will need for the duration of your trip.
How much travel insurance should travelers purchase?
Full coverage insurance is best. Some insurance covers only medical bills while other policies only cover medical evacuation or trip cancellations. Be sure to purchase insurance that covers all three. Also, many people are surprised about how inexpensive travel insurance is. While prices vary from company to company, when you think about the peace of mind you will get from knowing you have full coverage health and travel insurance, it is well worth whatever price you pay.
Am I covered abroad with my own health insurance policy?
Before you travel you should check with your health plan to find out what they will cover while you are abroad. Most hospitals outside of the
What health information should I carry with me while traveling?
Your health insurance card, driver's license or identification card, a list of medications you are currently taking, information about your medical history and your emergency contact and primary care physician's information. It is also a good idea to have the phone number for the American consulate in the country you are visiting in case anything should happen and you need to contact them for assistance.
If I am hurt or become ill while traveling, what should I do?
If you are traveling with a tour group, they will often arrange for your physician and get you medical help. Likewise, many hotels have contracts with physicians to come make a "house call" for nonemergencies. For emergencies, go to the nearest hospital. Accidents and emergencies can happen so the important thing is to always exercise caution.
In the event that you need a medical evacuation while traveling abroad, you may be eligible to be transferred back to
For More Information
To learn more or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about travel medicine, visit Travel Medicine in Adult Health or read the Travel Health News archive.