Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer Vacation Health Care Tips

Summer is here, and for many in New York that means trips to destinations domestic and abroad. An all-time record 234.1 million passengers are expected to fly U.S. airlines between June 1 and Aug. 31, up from 224.8 million a year ago, according to Airlines for America.

However, about 20 percent of people suffer some type of illness or injury while on vacation, the most common of which include food poisoning and car crashes. Before you hit the road or take to the skies, consider these tips to make sure your health, safety and wallet are covered while you’re away:

 
Know Before You Go:
Before traveling out of your home state or internationally, take time to review your health plan and understand what it covers. People traveling domestically should check if their health plan offers a national or local network of hospitals and health care providers, and confirm what level of coverage is available at out-of-network facilities.  For people planning to travel overseas, it is important to contact their primary care doctor or travel medicine clinic to determine what pre-screenings or immunizations might be recommended or required, based on their health history and the countries they will visit. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) enables people to search a list of countries and determine what vaccines they should consider.   
 Find Care Anywhere:
Many health plans now offer telemedicine and mobile apps that allow you to access a digital ID card, connect with a registered nurse 24/7, and identify nearby care providers, hospitals, pharmacies and urgent care facilities. Be sure you add the app to your phone before heading off on vacation. Public websites, such as www.uhc.com/transparency and www.guroo.com, enable people to compare cost information for hundreds of common medical services, helping people evaluate their options for care. For international trips, contact your global insurance carrier to find out about the availability of approved medical facilities at planned travel destinations.
 
Protection Abroad: Most domestic health plans provide limited coverage overseas, so consider purchasing international medical coverage to help alleviate concerns about quality of care and financial anxiety.  Also, most domestic insurance won’t cover prescriptions abroad, so for long vacations ask your care provider for enough medication to cover the duration of the trip (as well as check that specific medications are legal in the countries you are visiting). Some international health plans may include prescription drug coverage that enables people to fill prescriptions at local retail pharmacies.

Get Your Receipts: International hospitals will typically want upfront payment, rather than billing your health plan.  Be sure to get clear and complete copies of all bills, medical records and discharge notes for reimbursement from your health plan once you arrive home.

Following these tips will help you focus on fun, friends and family during summer vacations, while helping alleviate stress from health care access or insurance issues during a medical emergency. For more information, visit www.uhcsafetrip.com. 


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