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Will You Choose Destinations Based on Medical Facilities?


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If you travel (either cruise or land based), and get the virus while traveling, as it stands now, you won't be able to come back to the US.  In fact, due to either rules or just concern for your fellow man, you may not be able to leave the country where you are diagnosed.  So, I'm guessing that most are going to take into consideration the medical facilities available at the places being visited, right?

 

If you decide to visit a small island in the Caribbean, for example, with almost no medical facilities, and become infected, what can you do?  If you think that you are in a life or death situation, and you have a bank account that would be meaningless if you die, is there a way to safely buy your way to good medical facilities somewhere else?

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15 minutes ago, jtwind said:

If you decide to visit a small island in the Caribbean, for example, with almost no medical facilities, and become infected, what can you do?

Based on my experience - choose the private hospital over the public hospital.

 

But given that AFAIK any of the available vaccines are sufficient to keep you out of the hospital should you contract COVID away from home, the first priority is to travel vaccinated, stay home until then.

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I've never given thought to medical facilities when I cruised pre-Covid.  Not sure why I would in the future if it's been deemed to safely cruise and I've had vaccinations.  Regardless, if you are a smart traveler you will have insurance to cover all contingencies. 

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I haven’t and don’t plan on choosing a cruise based on medical facilities in ports. When you travel there is always a risk of getting ill/injured and being stuck, at lead temporarily in the hospital at the location. That’s just a risk of traveling.

 

the risk that is potentially new and different with Covid is getting stuck in a foreign port if you test positive, even if only mildly ill. So I will be choosing my travel style/destination based on how that will be handled. I don’t intend to cruise if I’ll be put off the ship in a port due to a cough and testing positive. I won’t cruise if a positive test from someone I don’t know on the ship means I’ll be quarantined in my cabin. So those are questions I will want to see answers to before I book a cruise. 

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25 minutes ago, ColeThornton said:

I've never given thought to medical facilities when I cruised pre-Covid.  Not sure why I would in the future if it's been deemed to safely cruise and I've had vaccinations.  Regardless, if you are a smart traveler you will have insurance to cover all contingencies. 

COVID is a named exclusion in probably every travel policy since about the beginning of March 2020.

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17 minutes ago, Underwatr said:

COVID is a named exclusion in probably every travel policy since about the beginning of March 2020.

 

That may have been correct information back then,  however I just Googled and found many companies that cover. 

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I don't plan to travel at all until we have been vaccinated. If the vaccines live up to their billing, I shouldn't need to worry about needing hospitalization due to COVID. In any case, we have good travel insurance, and it does include coverage for COVID medical care. We don't plan any vacation based on Medical facilities at destination. Some people with serious medical conditions may need to, but (knock on wood) we haven't reached that point.

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3 hours ago, jtwind said:

If you travel (either cruise or land based), and get the virus while traveling, as it stands now, you won't be able to come back to the US.  In fact, due to either rules or just concern for your fellow man, you may not be able to leave the country where you are diagnosed.  So, I'm guessing that most are going to take into consideration the medical facilities available at the places being visited, right?

 

If you decide to visit a small island in the Caribbean, for example, with almost no medical facilities, and become infected, what can you do?  If you think that you are in a life or death situation, and you have a bank account that would be meaningless if you die, is there a way to safely buy your way to good medical facilities somewhere else?

Many countries are requiring COVID insurance for entry.  Also, a land traveler from the US is more likely to bring COVID into a Caribbean country than to get infected by COVID while on the island.  A cruiser will be more likely to catch COVID from someone on the ship than from a local in port.

 

Amazing how these countries have done a way better job of mitigating the virus than we have here in the States.

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Just now, evandbob said:

Many countries are requiring COVID insurance for entry.  Also, a land traveler from the US is more likely to bring COVID into a Caribbean country than to get infected by COVID while on the island.  A cruiser will be more likely to catch COVID from someone on the ship than from a local in port.

 

Amazing how these countries have done a way better job of mitigating the virus than we have here in the States.

Hopefully, universal vaccinations will resolve the virus, and who knows, maybe there will even be a cure in a few years.

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4 hours ago, Underwatr said:

COVID is a named exclusion in probably every travel policy since about the beginning of March 2020.

Not at all true.  In fact, we are living in Puerto Vallarta for 10 weeks (our normal winter home) and had no problem obtaining excellent health insurance that specifically INCLUDES coverage for COVID.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that one will usually pay more money for such a policy.  We actually have a Geoblue policy with $1 million of medical coverage.   When we shopped for a policy back in December there were several good options.

 

Hank

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But if the unthinkable happens, and you contract the virus even though you are fully vaccinated...are there ways to safely and legally get to a country with better medical facilities if things get really bad?  Medical repatriation insurance probably wouldn't provide a way to get back to the US, I would guess.  Are there any countries that would accept a medical evacuation jet with a covid patient in really bad condition?

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1 hour ago, jtwind said:

But if the unthinkable happens, and you contract the virus even though you are fully vaccinated...are there ways to safely and legally get to a country with better medical facilities if things get really bad?  Medical repatriation insurance probably wouldn't provide a way to get back to the US, I would guess.  Are there any countries that would accept a medical evacuation jet with a covid patient in really bad condition?

 

I really don't think your country of residence will reject you due to covid at this point. That was a bigger issue when there wasn't much covid yet in the US. Now we are one of the covid centers of the world and they have practices and protocols for medical facilities to treat covid patients and avoiding spread. true, if you are in Jamaica with covid, Mexico may not let you in. But if we are talking about a Caribbean cruise wouldn't the US be the most logical choice for a seriously ill patient anyway?

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8 hours ago, ColeThornton said:

 

That may have been correct information back then,  however I just Googled and found many companies that cover. 

Fair enough; shopping for travel insurance has been the farthest thing from my mind in the past year.

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I haven't given any thought to COVID treatment, but I do check on a country's medical resources before travel--really only to judge whether to purchase travel insurance with a higher benefit for medical care, especially medical evacuation.

 

Last year I was on a cruise that changed course to facilitate the transport, by helicopter, of a passenger to the Turks and Caicos. Now, the standard of medical practice there is good, with doctors from Canada or the U.K., but Grand Turk has only a 10-bed hospital and Providenciales only a 20-bed hospital. The patient was going to be evaluated and stabilized there, for subsequent air evacuation to Miami. It's a different proposition from countries where I might want to be brought back to North America but it likely wouldn't be essential. I first thought about this when planning travel to the Faroe Islands, where doctors are either from or trained in Denmark, but serious cases may require air transfer to Copenhagen.

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I should not choose it for my own safety but I might choose destinations with good medical facilities if that mean that Covid cases will be taken care of so that the rest of the cruise don't have to be cancelled.

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I have travelled to some pretty remote regions where medical facilites were far and few between. I've taken the risk before I can't say COVID will change that. Hopefully when I get vaccinated I won't need to worry about hospitalisation for COVID👍.

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I think if you have to take into consideration the medical facilities of the places you visit you should probably just stay home close to the facility you feel comfortable with.  

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12 hours ago, jtwind said:

Medical repatriation insurance probably wouldn't provide a way to get back to the US, I would guess.

 

Why would one buy that insurance policy if it didn't provide that service?  Don't "guess" when it comes to something that important.  Research specific policies.

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14 hours ago, jtwind said:

But if the unthinkable happens, and you contract the virus even though you are fully vaccinated...are there ways to safely and legally get to a country with better medical facilities if things get really bad?  Medical repatriation insurance probably wouldn't provide a way to get back to the US, I would guess.  Are there any countries that would accept a medical evacuation jet with a covid patient in really bad condition?

I think you are taking the cart before the horse.   When you talk medical repatriation with COVID the first problem is how you can be evacuated.  Most air evacuation companies will not transfer folks with COVID.  There are some exceptions but even they are limited to certain places.  You would also need insurance for that service or be prepared to spend 10s of thousands of dollars out of your pocket.  

 

As an example, we live in Mexico during the winter (are there now) and have very good health insurance including air evacuation coverage.  But our air evac coverage "excludes" evac for COVID.  If we needed t to be hospitalized here we would simply go to an excellent private hospital.  Another issue is that most air evac policies require advance approval of your attending physician, receiving physician, and the insurance company.  With the exception of a few policies (such as Medjetassist) there must be a good medical reason for the transfer.  If you are hospitalized for COVID and not on a ventilator it would be difficult to justify a transfer.  And if you were on a ventilator it would be difficult to get permission for a transfer since your condition might be viewed as too serious.   So while you raise a good point about a country that would accept the patient the big hurdle would be to even find an aircraft transfer service that would take you to any country.    Even Medjetassist (one of the best evac insurance plans) will only consider COVID air evac from Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and some Caribbean islands.  If you are elsewhere in the world you are out of luck.

 

By the way, a majority of air evacuation is actually done on commercial aircraft (with the permission of the airline) with a nurse accompanying the patient.  But no commercial airline will move a person who has COVID.   Even when you have decent air evacuation insurance the insurance company will normally arrange for commercial airline transfers and only use a private medical aircraft as a last resort.  It is a matter of cost.  When my DW needed to be evacuated from Japan back to the USA it was done on a regular scheduled Delta flight with the lay flat seat costing about $10,000.  If they had used a medical jet aircraft the cost would have likely been close to $100,000.

 

Hank

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OK.  So even though we hear that you currently cannot fly to the US unless you have a recent negative COVID tests, an expensive medical evacuation may be an exception?

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When some of the European cruises started up, I remember some of the criteria for resumption included a pre-arranged plan of action with each port of call.  Items included agreements to accept off-loaded COVID-infected passengers from the ship, obligation to properly treat and quarantine those passengers (requiring adequate facilities to do so), and responsibility to repatriate as soon as health and quarantine mandates allow.

 

I would hope these things are thought through as part of opening up sailings from U.S. ports.  Additional communication with passengers should be who bears what costs.  This can help the consumer to have some confidence that they won't be stranded if they succumb to COVID, let them know what the plan would be, and help them decide if cruising is right for them at this time.

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I am not travelling at the current time.  By the time I return to travel, I expect the COVID risk to be minimal.  I do think that availability of health care make sense which I have thought about more from an independent travel perspective rather than for cruising.  I now even get insurance which I never considered when I was younger!

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Posted (edited)

The challenge might not be the country's medical facilities but rather how far you might be from them in the case of a medical emergency.

 

We have spent a number of winters in Southern Thailand. One of our hosts, a Swiss expat, explained the medical realities of living where he did in the event of an emergency.

 

Sometimes time is critical.   He resolved himself to be history if he was ever in need of urgent care.  By the time he was transferred to a proper facility he would be deceased.  That would not be the case if was living in a major center like Bangkok.   

 

This may well hold true no matter if you are at home, depending where you live, or you were travelling.

Edited by iancal
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