Whether you are traveling to the United States for a visit, study, business purposes, or other reasons you hope to have a great and exciting trip. You may be very busy making preparations, like completing all the necessary paperwork in the extensive visa process, purchasing an airline ticket, and researching places you would like to go sightseeing. While you are planning for those important travel plans, keep in mind that healthcare is very expensive in the US; for that reason, you should also make sure to purchase appropriate international medical insurance for your travels.
There are insurance plans specifically designed for the purpose of travel to the US and they are available for anyone coming to the US. As the plans are designed for short term durations, they cover a lot, but they don’t cover everything. Read the following tips to help you make the best of your US trip.
You should get a thorough physical checkup before traveling to the US. It is a good idea to do this even if you don’t have any medical condition. Also, consult with your family physician to understand the specific precautions you must take while in USA.
Getting a physical checkup would help you discover any medical conditions that you may not be aware of before you leave home. Depending upon what exactly is found, you should really consider whether it is appropriate to travel to the US at this time. If the doctor discovers a disease or potentially serious health condition, you can’t just expect to come to the US to receive treatment.
International students must ensure that they have the necessary immunizations. Many schools require all students, regardless of citizenship, to have the state mandated or college required immunizations before they allow you to enroll in classes. Even though it varies by state and school, the common vaccines are MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella), TD/TDAP (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis or whooping cough), TB (Tuberculosis) screening, and MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate).
If you are a visiting tourist, vaccinations are not mandatory. However, if you are visiting in the U.S. to help your pregnant daughter or daughter-in-law, many gynecologists/pediatricians advise that all adults living in the same household also get the TD/TDAP vaccine to protect the newborn from those infectious diseases. If this is your situation, consult with your physician to make sure the vaccine is safe for you and get the necessary vaccines in your home country before visiting the USA.
If you are taking any prescription medications, be sure to carry a sufficient supply for your entire duration. In fact, get more than what you think you will need, just in case you decide to extend your stay in the US. You will need to carry the prescription from your home country’s physician to justify those prescription medications while traveling to the US.
If you run out of your prescription medicines, you can’t just go to the pharmacy and get more. Even if you have a prescription from your home country, a US pharmacy will not give you prescription medication based on what your doctor in your home country wrote. You will need to visit a US physician who will have to prescribe you the medications after they have examined you; the visit to the physician, any necessary tests, and the prescription would not be covered by any international medical insurance plans.
Also, if you have preferred any over the counter (OTC) medication for common minor ailments such as headache, fever, or pain relievers, be sure to bring enough for your full duration in case you can’t find what you want while visiting in the U.S.
Before traveling to USA, it’s a good idea to visit a dentist and get a thorough examination done. If you need any fillings, root canals, crowns, bridge or implants, get it taken care of before traveling to USA.
Routine dental care is not covered by international medical insurance plans. They may cover injury to natural teeth in case of an accident.
There are dental discount plans available for dental work if you need dental work done while in the U.S. However, it is still better to get everything possibly needed in the home country.
Get an eye exam done by an ophthalmologist and a vision test by an optometrist. Eye examinations, prescription glasses, and contact lenses are not covered by international medical insurance plans. Vision discount plans may provide some coverage but services can still be quite expensive.
If you wear prescription glasses, make sure that they are in good condition. Additionally, make sure to bring at least one extra pair of glasses, just in case.
If you wear contact lenses, be sure to bring enough that will last you through the entire duration of your trip. If you think you may stay longer, bring at least a one year supply.
Self-Monitoring Medical Machines
Many people with high blood pressure or diabetes are used to visiting the doctor's office to monitore their levels. With international medical insurance, it would not be covered and could become troublesome.
Monitoring machines and supplies can be purchased for home usage, so you should travel with a blood pressure and/or glucose monitor, and necessary testing supplies. You can use them to find out the readings at any time.
If such monitors and supplies are not available in your home country, you can buy what is needed from many stores in the US, such as Walmart, Walgreens, Costco, Rite Aid, Target, and even online, from sites like Amazon.com, to have them delivered to your hosts' home.
It is very important to carry recent medical records with you when traveling far from home. Your medical records would be helpful if you became sick while in the US. Additionally, they would be helpful in getting your claim processed more quickly as the insurance company may request them when processing a claim.
As the United States is a vast country with varied geography, you should pack clothes appropriate for the parts of the country you will be visiting and the season(s) you are traveling.
Packing clothing like shorts, saree, short sleeved shirts, or shoes like chappals, chanclas, or other sandals/flip flops to wear is not appropriate attire in the cooler climates while visiting the US; especially in winter, but also autumn and spring. Rain, snow, and ice storms can sometimes happen with only a few days’ notice from meteorologists.
Choosing the right clothes will help you avoid any weather related illnesses such as sunburns, heat stroke, flu, cold, frostbite, and allergies. You can ask your host or research online for appropriate clothes before you pack.
Major Medical Procedures
If you have a major surgery or other procedures pending, definitely have it done before traveling to USA.
Don’t wait until it is too late and you need a procedure performed immediately while in the US. Necessary procedures that you are already aware of would not be covered in international medical insurance plans.
E.g., if you have a cataract issue but it is not bad enough yet and you are advised that you can wait before having surgery. Get it taken care of in your home country before it gets worse and you can’t see when visiting in the US.
E.g., if you have kidney stones or gallstones, but they are not causing too much pain. Take the medications or have the surgery to get it taken care of before traveling. If you suddenly have pain that is unbearable, it may not be covered by international medical insurance.
Of course, purchase suitable international medical insurance to cover you for unexpected and unforeseen illnesses, injuries or accidents while in the US.
Following the above tips would help you make the best out of your trip to the US.