Medical Care for Brits in the USA
If you are thinking of going on a dream trip to the US, whether you are planning a city break to NYC, or a 3 month roadtrip that takes you from coast to coast, there are many considerations to run through before you book your trip.
Firstly, to visit the US, you will require some form of visa. If you don’t already have any type of visa then the best solution may be to apply for an ESTA if you are a British citizen. An ESTA provides travel authorization for trips to the US for up to 90 days at one time.
One of the other big concerns that you will need to address is your medical care. Even if you are fit and healthy, there is a chance that you could take ill or you could have an accident whilst you are in the US. The healthcare system in the US is very different to the UK, where we have free healthcare from the NHS. In the US, patients are required to pay for medical treatment (or their insurance company pays), whether they are residents or visitors.
If you have travel insurance then your medical care may be covered under this, but you should check through the details to ensure what you are actually covered for. Different travel insurances provide differing levels of cover, so it is better to be sure that you have adequate cover.
You might think that the chances of getting ill or having an accident are very slim and they probably are but when you weigh up how much it could potentially cost you if you needed to be taken to hospital, it is not worth taking that risk.
Even just a consultation with a doctor can cost a lot of money, whilst if you were to require an ambulance or even surgery then this could easily amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Medical care does not come cheap in the US, so if you are planning on visiting you should check that you are covered under your existing travel insurance or take out specific health insurance for your trip.
If you are planning on participating in what would be considered to be high risk sports e.g. scuba diving, skiing, snowboarding, canoeing, jet skiing etc. then you might find that injuries from these sports are excluded on standard travel insurance policies. So if you are intending to take part in any of these kinds of activities, check that your policy covers this and if it doesn’t you will need to take out a different insurance policy to cover you in the event that you are injured doing any of the activities that are excluded.
It is a good idea to use comparison websites to find the best travel/health insurance deals for travelling to the US. They will also list the different levels of cover and any exclusions, so that you have a better idea of what you are paying for and to make sure that every eventuality is covered so that you can concentrate on enjoying your holiday.