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If a foreigner unexpectedly needs health care in the U.S. while visiting, how's it handled?

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bulloney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 05:28 PM
Original message
If a foreigner unexpectedly needs health care in the U.S. while visiting, how's it handled?
On DU, we've read testimonials from people who unexpectedly become ill or injured while visiting a foreign country. They receive good health care in that country and pay a fraction of what they would have paid if the same thing occurred in the U.S.

How is it handled in the U.S. if a visitor has the same experience? Is it all out-of-pocket at the going, sky-high U.S. health care rate? Are they covered under their country's system?

Just curious.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 05:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. UK tourists
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 05:42 PM by dipsydoodle
usually take out travel insurance which covers any medical bills and repatriation if necessary. They do need to declare if they're skiing or white water rafting whatever.

Edit to add : example here, medical cover up to 10 million - that's 's Sterling : not US$. Is that enough ?
http://www.insurancechoice.co.uk/product/travel/pre-exi...
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bbinacan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. How much
does the travel insurance cost?
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Varies according to what cover you want and your age.
I just checked out this one : http://www.aatravelinsurance.com/index.asp?advertid=323...

I'm 65 and entered a week in the USA and the answer was about 90 / $145. :shrug:

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bbinacan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. I'm 45
and got a quote of 26.77 pounds or $44.31. Doesn't sound too bad to me.
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paulsby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #1
26. correct. i have done the same when
traveling to countries that do NOT have socialized medicine.

when visiting countries (like costa rica) that DO have socialized medicine, i of course have not.

once in costa rica, i got rather nasty 2nd degree burns. i went to the local clinic and had no problem getting free medical care.
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Sgent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #1
31. Should be WAY MORE THAN ENOUGH
Most major medical US policies offer 1-5 million (dollar) of lifetime coverage maximum. 10 million would be considered a huge lifetime max, 20 mil (or thereabouts depending on the exchange rate) is insane -- especially considering this is just temporary insurance until your repatriated.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. Out of pocket, and you do not want to know just how high
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 05:37 PM by nadinbrzezinski
I know, we had that experience with dad.

Some folks buy tourist insurance, and some folks have insurance that is accepted by uS hospitals.

If you are a foreigner looking to visit the US I recommend seeing if you can get travel insurance.
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Kerrytravelers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
3. My understanding is that no one comes here without first purchasing some short-term health insurance
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 05:38 PM by Kerrytravelers
I can't imagine how expensive that is. But I don't blame them. I wouldn't step foot in here without some. Did you see Sicko? That one golfer had a torn ligament and went home to Canada before seeing a doctor. They also had Michael Moore's family members buying insurance from, I think, Sears. They speak on the subject a bit.

It is an international embaressment that we treat people the way we do. And the fools and tools out there screaming at townhall meetings calling people fascists, nazis, etc. They are the majority of Americans who have never stepped foot in another country, yet feel justified to call names and claim to be "the best." Ugh. Ugh to it all. :eyes:
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Word of warning for the reverse......
In the UK we drive on the left which means you look right first when crossing the road : not left.....lol. If you don't you may get run over which is not an unknown event with US tourists here.
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Kerrytravelers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
19. I'm in the minority of Americans and have been abroad.
However, I'm thinking that perhaps some of our International Townhall Idiots may need a visit overseas. And it would give them a chance to see socialist healthcare in action. I bet they wouldn't gladly accept it... and then badmouth it later.
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timeforpeace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
22. They purchase insurance? Interesting assertion. Got any info on that?
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Kerrytravelers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #22
32. Michael Moore touched on this in Sicko. And several "foreign" DUers have mentioned this in their
Edited on Mon Aug-24-09 12:58 AM by Kerrytravelers
posts. As I don't live abroad, I don't have intimate knowledge of the proceedures involved in buying short-term health insurance for traveling to and throughout America from other countries. However, Mr. kt and I may be living abroad within the next year or two, and we've been advised to look into traveler's insurance when we return to visit our parents in the states. However, being that we haven't left yet, I haven't looked into all the details.

What makes this "assertion" so interesting? It seems rather boring to me. And pretty "common sense" to me since Americans purchase car insurance when driving into Mexico, as we have on a number of occassions. (And, before you ask, Mr. kt grew up in San Diego, so he always takes care of that when we travel south. I'm originally from San Francisco, and know little to nothing about purchasing car insurance for driving in Mexico.)



Edited to add: If you need to direct information regarding purchasing health insurance for a trip to the United States, I can contact some DUers and let them know you're curious about the process.


And... you can look upthread! :)
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14thColony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 03:20 AM
Response to Reply #22
36. Pretty common here in the UK, when travelling to the US
I just got back from two weeks in the US, and I was damned sure to have medical travel insurance before I got on the airplane. Any travel agency here will strongly advise medical travel insurance when going to the US.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 03:57 AM
Response to Reply #22
37. See my posts above for some details
We even take out holiday insurance for holidays in Europe. Doesn't cost a bundle and covers all sorts of other things too including flight cancellations, damaged luggage , stolen possessions etc.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
4. For college students, most schools have some sort of cheap policy arrangement
My daughters last BF was from Canada. School policy was thru Kaiser
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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
7. There are many out of town visitors who recieve medical care
here
and don't pay anything

Its hard to collect from someone living in another country

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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 05:53 PM
Response to Original message
8. travel insurance is a standard employer benefit in many places
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
23. It was at my old job in the UK.
This is one of the little discussed issues about this type of system - usually you have no coverage when you're overseas (though I think within Europe there are reciprocal agreements between nations to provide care for each others' citizens.) My job provided travel insurance, though.

Back when I was working in the states I had a PPO program through my employer which basically covered everything worldwide, but this was back during the silicon valley boom when they couldn't throw money and bennies at you fast enough.
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Dead_Parrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
10. NZ: "If you cant afford travel insurance, you cant afford to travel"...
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 06:06 PM by Dead_Parrot
...is how the the government puts it. I just did a quote, and a month's cover for me in the US would be NZ$210 (US$143), with a NZ$100 (US$68) excess.

(edit for typo)
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
11. How about if you are an American traveling overseas - I suspect it depends on the country
is their tourist insurance for Americans that other countries have to recognize?
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kimmylavin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Not sure of official policy.
But my mom got an infection in her leg while traveling to Hong Kong.

They went to a doctor, who then brought in a specialist.
He treated her leg and gave her a prescription.
Total time? About 5 hours.
Total cost? Nothing.

(And just a few years later, Mom's bought into the "evil social medicine" thing...) :eyes:
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. Depends on the country
when I was working EMS in TJ... how were you going to pay for this never crossed my lips.

In the US, do you have insurance is pretty much next to my name is, and I am an EMT. I am not kidding you.

My husband was also in the USN... he twisted his uncle in the UK. They took him to the ER... and ONLY AFTER he was taken care off did somebody come in and asked the national statistics questions, but never was asked how are you going to pay for this?

He twisted another ankle in the US. he was given top of the line care at a US Civilian tacitly THIS FAST, since his guv'ment insurance would pay.
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Dead_Parrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. "Another ankle"?
How many has he got?
:P
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Two and he has managed to twist both being physical
:-)

Bad enough to need crutches.
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #16
25. Well two but the first thing he twisted was his uncle
I'm wondering why his uncle wasn't treated?
:evilgrin:

I don't want to cross Mr B, if he's willing to chase his uncle to the UK just to give him a twist.

-Hoot
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WolverineDG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
20. Generally, if it's an emergency, it's no cost
UK--er visit, I suddenly became quite sick, possibly a stomach bug that was going around while I was there. They asked me all kinds of info & I truly expected a bill, either there or after I got home. Five years later, still nothing.

Oz--non-emergency er visit; had to pay $50 US (I think; it's been a few years); supposedly if I'd kept the receipt, my insurance would have reimbursed me, but as it was way under my deductible & I was traveling all over the outback, it got "lost." Wouldn't have had to pay anything had the US accepted Oz health care cards.

dg
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #11
24. I know a few Americans who needed care in Canada
one in Ontario and one in BC, they were basically treated as though they were Canadian transients and hospital administrators had no interest in their insurance. It is probably easier for the Canadian hospital to say your a bum than bother making a claim with your insurance company.
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paulsby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #11
27. see my other post
some US insurance companies will cover you. some won't . check yer policy.

i have bought traveler's insurance before on occasion when traveling to certain countries.

in other countries, like costa rica, that have socialized medicine, i have not purchased travel insurance. obviously.

i got excellent treatment in costa rica for some 2nd degree burns and it cost me nada.
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:06 AM
Response to Reply #11
28. Thailand - Filling replaced - $30 /nt
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
12. My health insurance covers overseas travel
including the US. Still when I'm traveling to the US I purchase additional coverage for about US$30.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:35 PM
Response to Original message
18. When I went on a cruise, I had to take out a policy for the duration I was
in the waters of a foreign country. I think foreigners probably have to do something similar.
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timeforpeace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
21. Having worked with hundreds if not thousands of migrants, they go to ER's. What did you think?
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 10:05 PM by timeforpeace
I am stunned that no one replying has a clue about the answer to the OP's query. Part of the problem? Yes.
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drmeow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #21
29. Only if it is a life threatening emergency
If they become ill enough to need medical care but it is not an emergency, they might look for a clinic or ask their hotel about a local MD.
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Kerrytravelers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 01:04 AM
Response to Reply #21
35. There is a link provided upthread regarding purchasing travel insurance.
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canetoad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:22 AM
Response to Original message
30. That's what travel insurance is for
Last year my bosses travelled to Quito for a week's holiday then some work. After 2 days he was taken very ill and became comatose. Quito was not equiped to deal, so he was transferred to Jackson Memorial by plane with an emergency medical crew. His wife was flown seperately and put up in a hotel for a month while he recovered from septic shock.

He was then flown back to Australia with a medical escort of 2 paramedics.

The total cost including flights, hospitalization and everything else came to close on $600,000. All paid for by travel insurance.
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brettdale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 01:00 AM
Response to Original message
33. Travel Insurance
When you buy a plane ticket to the usa, from outside the usa, you can buy travel insurance with it, and that should cover hospital bills.
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 01:01 AM
Response to Original message
34. They go through his pockets looking for the last dime while hi's being operated on.
maybe take a kidney for collateral.
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