While traveling abroad, it is always advisable to buy travel medical insurance as it is possible that you might get sick or injured no matter how healthy you are. Many unexpected things may happen when traveling abroad that you may not expect while at home.
I (Narendra) and wife Jagruti were traveling to Gujarat, India for a family vacation. I am from Ahmedabad and Jagruti is from nearby Vadodara. We were planning to be there for a few weeks. While at my parents' home, there were always stray dogs around the neighborhood that we carefully avoided.
However, just one day before traveling back to the US, right after getting out of the house and getting into the car, one of the stray dogs bit Jagruti. We panicked not knowing the dog's medical situation. The fear of rabies was real. Dog had bit hard and there were teeth marks and there was blood.
We immediately knew that we needed to go to the doctor right away. It was not really necessary to go to the hospital for this.
Being in the travel medical insurance business, we of course had taken appropriate insurance with us. Even though many insurance plans have pre-certification requirements where you have to inform the insurance company in advance, we already knew that it was not required for this situation. But even if was required, it was not a complicated procedure and merely a phone call away.
When we visited the doctor's clinic, he gave one rabies shot and one tetanus shot. He also gave the schedule for the remaining shots. As the doctor's bill was short, we paid out of pocket, for filing reimbursement later.
The bigger question was that we were flying out the next day and how we should arrange rest of the shots. The doctor gave us all the shots supply, provided we could keep it in an ice bag. We carried that bag back to the US.
After coming back to the US, we went to the clinic where the doctor administered the shots. The continuing medical treatment that was medically necessary was covered in our travel insurance (not available in all the plans from all the companies.) For the medical expenses that occurred in while in India, we filed a claim for the reimbursement and we got paid back promptly. We submitted the doctor's bill along with the diagnosis and the bill for the shots supplies.
Fortunately, the incident was relatively small and it occurred in a location where we had family support and we were also familiar with the city. That made it considerably easier to deal with the matter. However, that is not always the case. When you travel to a foreign country, if you get sick or injured in an unfamiliar place, dealing with medical treatment can be challenging. Moreover, if the condition were serious, coming up with the adequate money can be even more challenging.