What Your Clients Should Know About International Medical Emergencies

Published on Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Find out how to help your clients during a medical emergency abroadYour clients most likely do not have a hospital visit on the agenda for their trip abroad, but it is something that they - and you - should be prepared for in the event an unfortunate accident or sickness happens them while on the road.

Here we'll share what your clients should do to prepare for their trip and what to do during and after an emergency visit to the hospital.

Before Traveling Go Abroad

Make Sure They’re Insured

One of the best ways you can prepare your clients for an emergency is by making sure they are insured.

Tell them to check if their current health insurance covers them in the country or countries they’re about to visit, what does it cover, and up to how much. Although many health insurance companies could cover "customary and reasonable" hospital costs abroad, very few will cover a medical evacuation back to the United States or country of residence. Medical evacuations can easily cost over $10,000, and sometimes up to $100,000, depending on their location and medical condition.

If using their primary health insurance, make sure they carry their insurance policy identity card and a claim form.

If their health insurance does not cover them abroad, or they want the extra protection for an emergency evacuation, it is best to purchase a travel health insurance policy like the ones offered by RoamRight.

RoamRight offers several coverage options that can be adjusted to your clients' travel style, destination, and extent of coverage.

Know How To Contact The U.S. Embassy And Where It Is Located At Their Destination

A consular officer from your client's country’s embassy or consulate can assist in locating appropriate medical services and informing family or friends about the situation. If necessary, a consular officer can also assist in the transfer of funds. However, payment of hospital and other expenses is the patient’s responsibility. If your clients are U.S. citizens, they can find more information about emergencies abroad, here.

Likewise, RoamRight travel insurance includes 24-hour emergency assistance services that can further help with these matters, often more efficiently than the U.S. government.

Know Where The Nearest Hospital Is Located

Help your clients research or check on Google Maps to find the location of the hospital closest to their hotel or accommodation. It is also useful to have the hospital’s phone number accessible. And if you don't know where to go, RoamRight policyholders have access to a 24/7 emergency call center, which has details on medical facilities around the world.

During The Emergency

Stay Calm And Think

Teach your clients that they shouldn’t be afraid of seeking medical help abroad. Don’t let them delay going to the hospital for fear of being treated in a foreign clinic or by a foreign doctor; acting fast will help avoid complicating the situation. Should your clients and the doctor not speak the same language, there may be a translator available to help with communication, and there are tools available like the translation tool in the RoamRight mobile app.

Let Someone Know Where You Are

It’s difficult to get help from family abroad or travel companions if your travelers don’t let them know they're in the hospital. If possible, your travelers should take someone with them for moral support or help to communicate and to deal with the situation if they are unfit to do so. If they'll be in the hospital for a while, some RoamRight plans will even pay for a loved one to come to their bedside!

Contact Their Insurer To Let Them Know About The Situation

If your clients have travel insurance (which you should!), call their insurer to let them know about the situation. In many cases, they could supply your traveler with information about local hospitals and possible coverage based on their policy.

If they have primary travel insurance, some insurers might contact a local officer that takes care of the hospital bill according to their policy. If they have secondary insurance, they will pay the hospital bill and then file a claim with the insurance company to get refunded the covered portion of their hospital bill.

After The Emergency

File A Claim

Make sure your clients get and save all the hospital documents containing the information of their visit and medical case, including bills, payment receipts, referrals, pharmaceutical payments, and more. Download a claim form from their insurer or have them submit the claim online including the necessary documents. All that is left to do is wait patiently for their refund according to your coverage.

One of the best thing you can do as a travel agent is to make sure your travelers are always insured, giving them peace of mind in case of any medical emergency.

Contact RoamRight to get more information about offering travel medical insurance to your clients.

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