Summer might be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean your travel plans have to! There’s still time to fit in those last-minute trips to distant beaches or neighboring cities. But what shouldn’t be a last-minute plan is how to handle an emergency that occurs on your vacation.
No matter where you are, accidents can happen. Don’t wait until they do! Plan ahead to ensure your medical needs and those of your loved ones are taken care of when you’re away from home.
Steps to take to ensure your travels are covered
Step 1: Contact your health insurance company.
Are you covered for health emergencies out of state? What qualifies as a health “emergency”? Do you need pre-authorization for certain health services? Is emergency care covered at urgent care centers as well as the hospital? Are there any out-of-pocket costs for certain emergency care needs?
These are just some of the questions you should ask your health insurer before you go on vacation. You can also tell your health insurer where you will be traveling and request a list of in-network urgent care centers and doctors.
Step 2: Make sure to manage any chronic care conditions.
If you have a chronic care condition, consult with your doctor about any care or medication you need while you are traveling. Have a back-up plan for how to refill any prescriptions in the event you misplace them. In case of emergency, have a list of in-network doctors you can visit at your destination.
Step 3: Understand your health insurance company’s definition of “emergency.”
This is extremely important. The way you and your health insurance company define a medical emergency may be different. To ensure your definition and your insurance company’s definition are the same, ask!
Step 4: Carry your insurance card and information with you when you travel.
Keep your insurance card in your wallet or purse for easy access. Your insurance card provides valuable information on who you are, and what kind of coverage you have, to a hospital you might need to visit. Having this information on hand will make any billing, claims, and reimbursement processes much smoother.
What other steps do you take to ensure you’re covered when you travel? Do you keep copies of medical information with you? Do you travel with your medications packed in a separate and secure container or bag? Do you have easy access to your doctor in case of medical questions? Know the answers to these questions before you hit the road!