What happens if you fall ill abroad
How to avoid losing out if you fall ill while overseas.
Image: David J. Phillip - PA Photos
There are few things worse than falling ill while on a foreign holiday abroad. Here are five tips to make like easier if that happens to you.
1) Make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card
The EHIC card, available from the Department of Health, gives you access to state-provided healthcare in all 30 European Economic Area (EEA) countries, as well as Switzerland, at a reduced cost or sometimes free of charge.
Note that free healthcare does not apply in every country. You may be asked to pay for some care or for medications.
2) Check if the UK has reciprocal arrangements with other non-EEA countries
The UK has agreements with another 20 countries - including Turkmenistan, Russia and New Zealand - whereby some free care may be available. You can find out what is available here.
None of the above will cover things like repatriation in the event of an accident or ensure the best care available in that country. You should therefore strongly consider travel insurance.
3) Make sure you have the right insurance when you go abroad.
Specifically, you should:
- Be honest and declare any pre-existing medical conditions, even if you end up paying more for your cover. The alternative is that you may find you are unable to claim at a critical moment
- Check the cover applies to activities you may want to engage in: some policies want you to tell them if you intend to play golf or tennis
- Always make sure you have enough cover: in countries like the US, even £2 million may not be enough
4) Make sure you take a copy of the policy with you on holiday
Do not take the original, in case it gets lost. This will tell you the exact way to get help in an emergency, plus it may be useful if you find yourself arguing with someone over the phone.
5) In the event of a claim, follow the policy to the letter
Also, make sure that any doctor or hospital knows that you have medical insurance and what for. If you have to buy any medicines, keep both receipts and original prescriptions.
If you have emergency repatriation and your medical condition permits it, consider the possibility going back early. But if offered a return on a scheduled flight, check staff on it are equipped to care for you or that you will be accompanied - and that you will have plenty of room to stretch out.
Please note that articles on MSN Money do not constitute regulated financial advice, which recommends a course of action based upon the specifics of your personal circumstances. The articles are intended to provide general personal financial information. We urge you to consult an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) before making any important decisions about your finances. You can search for an IFA in your local area. Any statement regarding financial services products and tax liability is based on legislation and tax practices as at 6 April 2011, which is, of course, subject to change. The value of any tax benefits or reliefs depends upon the individual circumstances of the investor. When investment performance is mentioned you should remember that past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Where products have an underlying investment content, in many cases the value of the investment can fall as well as rise. For with-profit based investments, there is no guarantee as to the level of bonuses that will be declared, if any. Where mortgages or secured loans are explained do remember that your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it. All mortgages are subject to underwriting, status and are not available to people under the age of 18.
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