Enlighten me. Please. Show me where you’re coming from because I just cannot understand it.
My post about scary shit about travel really opened up a can of worms — maybe not so much with everyone who read it, but more with me. All I wanted to talk about is the freaky weird diseases that SEEM to be more of a problem when you travel, and that would be because they are not a problem back where I come from… or even where I sit now in Australia. No, instead people TEND to pick them up more when they go overseas, so yes that scares the shit out of me. What’s worse is they are something that you really can’t vaccinate for. Those are risks you deal with when you decide to be a globetrotter pure and simple.
- The leishmaniasis, for example, is transferred from a sand fly that tends to live in tropical and subtropical countries. If you look at this map, you can easily see that the risk is greater in parts of Africa and the areas of Indian, Nepal and Bangladesh. Would you like a skin-eating tropical disease with that plane ticket? NO thanks.
- Now I may have jumped the gun on my freak-out over the possibility of getting a staph infection. As many have pointed out, you can get those anywhere, but still… when I was reading about Jeannie’s stuff on FB, it was not a help to see people say, “That’s exactly what I got in the Philippines,” or something to that extent. It just weirded me out initially.
**Off topic, but did you know that the staphylococcus aureas bacteria can cause food poisoning?! Yep, it’s true. I took a food microbiology course in college; it was a rough semester after learning about all the things that could hurt me in food. It turns out that staph, once in food, can actually produce several toxins that make us sick when ingested! So, the staph itself doesn’t make us sick, but the toxins do. Now, how does the staph get in there? It could be from contaminated milk or cheese, but it could also be from poor handling by a cook, especially one that didn’t wash their hands properly or decided to rub their noise or touch their hair in the preparation process. Yep, staph is found on about 25-50% of people’s skin, inside noises and on hairs. This is one of the reasons I get so freaked out when I find a hair in my food.**
- The malaria… everyone has an opinion…
- Then, there’s the talk of getting vaccinated at all. Personally, I think it is silly to not get some vaccines, but if you’re down with taking risks, go for it.
That’s fine and dandy…
My readers can help me see the light on some of these issues, but man, oh man… when people talk about not needing travel health coverage, a fire is lit under me. I want to scream, “Uhm, what PLANET are you from?!”
Or maybe, what country are you from? Do you have a different view of health coverage because your home country has some awesome system? Are you the type of person that also doesn’t invest in anti-virus for your computer? Are you a Mac user?!
And that’s why I’m asking from the beginning of this post to enlighten me. Being from America, I know how much money it costs to be treated for even the most minor issues. It might be a couple thousand dollars to get your wisdom teeth extracted or have a root canal, and you might be able to handle that out of pocket. That’s cool that you have that cash floating around, but what happens when you spend one night in the hospital? Uhm. Bills happen. Gigantic, freaking bills. I’m just thinking back to my ACL knee surgery when I didn’t even spend a night in the hospital (all out-patient surgery, even though they offered me to stay once I had the surgery and was crying and dry-heaving uncontrollably) and those bills came to over $20,000! It was just a stupid knee surgery, in and out during working hours. I think, in the end, we only paid a couple thousand after insurance kicked in (thank you!).
Real Life Examples…
Since one of my commenters actually said they regretted purchasing health coverage while abroad, I tried searching the Web today to see if I could find examples of times when people had wished that they had coverage on their trips. You can see plenty of examples of when people were happy they had the coverage over on the World Nomads site.
Instead of finding that, I did run across a couple of great articles and blog posts that anyone debating getting health coverage during travel should consider.
But when disaster strikes – and it can indeed strike, as I have been witness to more than once – those travel insurance premiums may seem tiny in comparison to the medical bills you could be faced with.
This article was written by Nora Dunn, a popular traveler who discusses the ins and outs of the travel insurance world and just why she has been thankful to have it.
The real find was probably the article over on Hole in the Donut:
The article itself is a great read, but what I truly love are some of the comments. Here are some bits and pieces:
Without the inexpensive travel insurance policy I had purchased before leaving the U.S., I would have been out almost $2,000 in hospital and other medical bills.
Only now I can tell you how glad I am we made this decision after a $ 950 emergency root canal occurred in New Zealand which I ended it up pay only the excess fee of $50, phew!
Just because you buy travel insurance, head off and nothing happens isn’t the point. That’s great. Really. But consider how many policies we have to sell to cover the US$159,000 to get the guy out of Costa Rica who was jogging along a footpath when he had a brain aneurism? Or (yesterday) how the girl who got typhoid high up in Nepal and needed a helicopter.
However, I would always recommend people ensure they have comprehensive medical coverage. Emergency treatment might be available in a host country, but if you’re going to be recuperating from a multiple fractures after jumping off a cliff into way-too-shallow water in Jamaica, you’ll be wanting to do that back in your home country.
(the Jamaica story was a real situation I encountered while working in customer service for a health insurance company)
Have I sparked a chord with you on-the-fence readers yet? There are plenty of companies to assist with your health coverage needs.
I like to think that getting health coverage is just logic.
But what do I know?! I’m just a silly little germaphobic girl from the Midwest of the USA, otherwise known as the insurance company capital of the States, who didn’t have her first curry until she was 16 and was never taught to eat properly with both a fork and a knife until college. That’s me… who are you?
If you are someone who feels strongly about not needing health coverage abroad, tell me who you are, where you’re from, your age and whatever else you care to share.