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What happens if I’m hospitalised overseas?

When you book your overseas holiday, it can be hard to think about what could go wrong – after all, there are more interesting things to consider such as what sights you’re going to see and where to visit.

Unfortunately, illness and accidents can occur overseas just as easily as they can at home, meaning it’s best to be prepared. Today, we’ll take a closer look at what happens if you find yourself hospitalised overseas.

What happens if I need to be hospitalised?

Getting sick or injured overseas can be frightening as you may not speak the language or you may be in a country where you’re not confident with the facilities on offer. Firstly, prevention is better than cure in many instances so make sure you check for any health warnings in the countries you’re visiting and get up to date with any immunisations. The Smart Traveller website is a great place to start for this. If you take prescribed medication, bring along enough to last you, and in its original packaging, along with a letter from your doctor detailing your medication.

If you do need to be hospitalised and don’t speak the language, your hotel or hostel reception will generally be able to help with someone who can translate. If you have travel insurance, a 24-hour number will allow you to call to get advice on best facilities to visit and ongoing support. You can also find assistance from the Australian government by speaking to the consulate in the country you’re visiting. The Dept of Foreign Affairs can help you locate the closest embassy. 

How much will it cost me if I’m hospitalised?

A main concern many travellers have when hospitalised overseas is how much it may cost at the end of their stay. Australia has some reciprocal health agreements in place in countries such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Belgium which means you’ll be able to receive assistance for the cost of essential medical treatment.

However, in many countries there are no such agreements in place and the cost is particularly high in countries with no public healthcare. An example is the United States where you will be expected to pay for any medical treatment you receive. Depending on the type of treatment you require, this amount can run into the thousands. To avoid these costs, it’s essential to have appropriate travel insurance cover in place before you head off, in case the unexpected takes place. It’s also a good idea to contact your travel insurer as soon as possible if you are admitted to hospital, so they can liaise with the hospital for payment, and you can concentrate on getting well.

For more information about reciprocal health agreements, visit the Australian Department of Human Services website.

Be prepared with the right insurance

The last thing you need is to find yourself in hospital overseas without travel insurance in place. Travel insurance can provide you with cover for overseas medical and dental costs giving you peace of mind if something goes wrong.

Remember, let your insurer know exactly where you’re travelling to and ensure you have the right level of cover in place so you’re not caught short at claim time. While a basic policy will cost you less, you need to remember that you’ll have less cover in certain situations.

For more information about travel insurance, contact CGU today.