I have travel plans for a family trip with my two grown sons, to Aix en Provence next October. I have recently been educating myself about the possibility of me breaking a hip while in France (I have osteoporosis), and I am now wondering if I should go on the trip. Can anyone let me know their experiences with this situation? Obviously, I would be careful while on the trip (no skate boarding, etc. - HA). There is the option of buying overseas medical coverage (in addition to travel insurance), but I'm afraid that if complications occurred, I could end up spending a large sum of money, because of having to stay in France for months. I am 67 years old and in good health. I hate the idea of not going (my sons would go by themselves), but I am also trying to be realistic about possible outcomes. I guess it boils down to me buying insurance, taking precautions and hoping for the best. But, again, I'm curious about other people's experiences....
I was diagnosed with osteoporosis at age 60, five years ago. Otherwise my health is good. We always buy a good medical and evacuation policy when we travel internationally. It never crossed my mind not to travel because of it.
What is your doctor's advice?
I'm puzzled about the implication that you have previously left the country without any medical insurance. Did your home policy provide full coverage? I also needed Travel Insurance because of my aged parents who were not coming with us. I should note that I was pleasantly surprised when I (as is essential) read all 24 pages, l learned that the Pre-existing Conditions exclusion (for my brand of insurance) only applied to the Travelers, and not to family members whose illness could permit a cancellation claim.
If you’ve made plans but not paid expenses or deposits buy travel insurance. If you’ve already paid money and it was more than 10-14 days ago insurance may not cover pre-existing conditions. Travel insurance usually covers medical evacuation but that is to the nearest hospital capable of caring for your condition. MedJet Assist membership will fly you home. I have multiple medical conditions including osteoporosis. I’ll stop traveling when one of those conditions stops me in my tracks. At our age if you go down the “what if” rabbit hole you’ll never leave home. Take precautions, insure for the worst case and keep on traveling!
Medical care in France is excellent. Even the food is good. A friend who had two identical breaks, one on each side of her body, got to compare her US care with her French care. In the US, after surgery to set her bone, she was sent home after 5 days with a friend to take care of her though she was bedridden and wheelchair bound. In France when she fell on the other side, after surgery and hospitalization, she was sent to an inpatient rehab center for three weeks. And the cost was minimal, care was excellent, and the food was good.
If anything were to happen, I would get my care in France.
Have you asked your doctor’s opinion? If your hips are exceptionally fragile and you have limited activity here at home, then you should take his/her advice.
But if you live a relatively normal life now, just get a travel policy that includes coverage for overseas medical expenses & evacuation back to US if needed. Then join the rest of us with our osteoporosis & arthritic joints & various replacement parts, and go explore Europe!
Definitely go to your healthcare provider for advice.
I was diagnosed a number of years ago with osteopenia but had gotten back into the green zone with my last DEXA. Talk with your provider about specifics for your particular needs as they might be different from mine. You do not need to give up on life because of your diagnosis. Bone density can be increased and risk of fracture decreased.
I do use a BOSU for balance challenges in the lead up to travel and do specific yoga for osteoporosis based on the peer-reviewed studies by Loren Fishman, MD.
Sending you thoughts for strong bones!!
PS I’m 72 and traveling independently in France at present. I do have travel and med-evac insurance.
Have you looked at MedJet insurance? They will transfer you back to a hospital in the US by private aircraft with a medical team if necessary. I think it would give you extra confidence to know that you would not be stuck in France for months.
Secondly, there are things you can do between now and then to reduce your risk factors. Exercise and balance skills can help this situation. Many rec centers will have a group exercise class called "better bones and balance" or something similar.
Don't stay home out of of fear. Provide for medical evacuation insurance "just in case", do what you can to mitigate risk, and then go enjoy this trip with your sons!
Medjet is great value for the money, even if you have other types of insurance. You can buy it for varying lengths of time. The important thing when you're in a jam is to get the hell out of Dodge and back home to deal with it.
AARP used to offer MedJet with a discount.
Those who have used the French medical system know that care is excellent and is provided at a cost far less than what one typically pays in the US (I assume you live in the US).
Check into insurance and enjoy the time with your sons.
Obviously your doctor would be the place to start. What is your current mobility status? Our visit to Aix en Provence was relatively short, but my observation is it was a fairly flat city. I’m 69 and have had osteoporosis in my hips for several years and have continued to travel, as we are currently.
Aix is basically flat and a very interesting city which is very walkable. The only real stairs I came across was in a large park where there were bands playing. With arthritic knees it was a bit of a challenge but the music was worth it. Also Aix is near other towns that are worth a day trip. Go and enjoy
Before we aged out we always had Medjet assist which is supposed to airlift you home -- mostly probably commercial but if an air ambulance were necessary presumably they would do that. Of course you want to make sure you have travel insurance that covers pre-existing conditions (at 67 everything will be pre-existing) and a good evacuation home policy. When I broke an elbow and needed surgery in Menton, I spent 5 days and had the surgery -- excellent care and the bill was 4k -- for that care in the US it would have been tens of thousands of dollars. My travel insurance covered it and the follow up care in Paris by an orthopedic specialist and physical therapists. (cheaper than flying me home -- I was in the middle of a 12 week trip.
I would not hesitate to travel but would absolutely make sure I had good travel and evacuation insurance. Some travel policies will move you to the nearest hospital that can treat you -- you want to make sure you can be brought home -- which is why we had Medjet assist -- never used it so can't attest to if it is any good. You never know about insurance till you have to use it; we were totally pleased with Allianz when I broke my elbow; they paid the hospital before I was released and reimbursed me for the follow up care cost with my receipts.
Here’s AirMed info - they don’t have the same frustrating age-out issue as MedJet.
I want to thank everyone for their responses. It has been extremely helpful and I have decided to go on our trip in October. Again, Merci Beaucoup!
Great that you are going ahead with it. And yes, medical care in France is excellent as I alas had the occasion to find out. At our age and I am a decade older than you, who knows how much longer we will be able to have these travel experiences. Carpe Diem. Do it all until you can't do it anymore.
“Carpe Diem. Do it all until you can't do it anymore.”
THIS ^ ^ ^ !!!!