Travel to America

17/07/2013 -- Mary Simpson
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Statue of Liberty, Big Mac, Grand Canyon, popcorn, Hollywood, hotdogs, Broadway, surfing, national parks, lakes, canyons, camping, New York, the Rockies, climbing, mountains, skiing, beaches, hiking, movies, The Oscars, Harley Davidson, Alaska, St Louis, Nashville, road trips, Empire State Building, California, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, NASA, Wall Street, Las Vegas, New England, Orlando, Walt Disney World, Hawaii, Yellowstone, museums, baseball, Route 66, rafting, cowboys, canoeing, biking, bourbon …

Medical and Health

Doctors and Dentists

America has the highest paid GPs in the world.  Dentists aren’t far behind. A visit to either could mean financial meltdown, if you don’t have travel insurance to cover medical emergency expenses.

  • Medical bills are the cause of around 60% of personal bankruptcies in the States.
  • The US ambulance industry rakes in 10% more than Hollywood box offices.

Hospital Treatment & Ambulance Costs

According the US Government, the average cost of a 3-day hospital stay in America is $30,000. For a broken leg, expect to pay around $7,500.  For a heart bypass $73,000 - $150,000.

Just walking through the door of a hospital Emergency Room (ER) costs $500 – $1,000 and $250 – $1,000 to see a doctor.  Blood tests, x-rays, etc, are extra. Ambulance: $500 - $1,500, depending on distance.

One British tourist ended up paying $21,000 for a 3-hour visit to ER for heartburn.

Unless your condition is life threatening, you’ll be asked for proof you can pay before treatment and to sign a legally binding agreement with payment plan.

This is where travel insurance comes to your rescue.  It can cover the cost of hospital treatment in the USA and medical evacuation back to the UK. 

It’s important financial protection to have, especially so for over 65s with a pre-existing medical condition (eg heart condition, high blood pressure).

Over 75 with Heart Conditions

Being over 75 with a heart condition does not stop Eleanor! Comprehensive cover for 24 days despite quadrupal bypass and stent. Insurers do ask many health questions though. Hear her experience.

Prescriptions

Prescription medicines are available from the pharmacy counter in drugstores and supermarkets. 

Some pharmacies (Walgreens, TakeCare, CVS) offer walk-in clinics which are less expensive than hospitals and doctors.

Nurses at CVS walk-in MinuteClinics treat common illnesses and minor injuries, monitor chronic conditions (eg diabetes) and can fill prescriptions for sore throats, etc.

Publix Pharmacies provide some prescribed medication free of charge or at very low prices.

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