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Emergency Medical Insurance - Best of Eastern Europe Trip

Forgive me if this question has been asked before. We will be traveling to Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia. I have a Medicare Advantage health care plan that does cover emergency medical care worldwide including emergency transportation to a hospital. They advise me that they will cover me but I would have to pay out-of-pocket and make a claim when I return. I plan on getting separate flight evacuation insurance for travel home if that were to be necessary.

Does anybody have a sense of hospitalization/emergency care costs in these countries? Do they have socialized medicine? I don't know if my three credit cards would cover a spendy emergency surgery for example.

Yes it would be nice if there was insurance I could rely on for immediate payment (if that is even available) but the idea of for double or triple medical coverage seems redundant and overkill.

Any experience or thoughts?

Posted by
6567 posts

Just to and enjoy your trip. You are traveling to countries with modern healthcare. I see no need to purchase trip insurance if you are already covered.

Posted by
18879 posts

My experience is pertinent to your destination but very limited:

In 2015 I picked up a gastrointestinal infection. On Day 5 I caved and went to a walk-in clinic in Ljubljana. It was a big operation that felt sort of like an emergency room. The clinic took a pretty detailed medical history, did blood work (results back in an hour or so), and gave me IV fluids for dehydration and low potassium level. They referred me to a nearby gastro clinic, probably because the infection was bacterial.

The gastro guys took a more complete history and did an exam. It was agreed that further treatment wasn't necessary since by this time (several hours after I walked into the clinic) it was obvious that my symptoms were abating. Total cost for treatment at both facilities was about US $222. My insurance (BC/BS) handled the claim more or less as it would have done for similar treatment in the US, I think. There was a $20 co-pay for the doctor's visit, and part of the rest was out-of-pocket to me since I hadn't yet met my deductible for the year. Otherwise, it was fully covered.

By comparison, I went to a private physician in Lyon, France, this summer for a possible eye infection and persistent bronchitis. She spent more than 15 minutes with me, and I paid her less than US $30. I didn't bother to file for that.

For what it's worth, in your shoes I'd just buy a policy to cover evacuation. I'll bet you've got a relative who could front the money for medical costs at the European level in a pinch. Even if not, if it was a really significant amount, I think something could be worked out with the medical facility.

One tip: It's worth a phone call to your insurance company before departure to find out whether--in the event you do need treatment--you need to provide documentation in English rather than in the local language. BC/BS accepted my Slovenian invoices, but I don't think it's safe to assume that all companies would do that. The reason you want to know is that, if translation is necessary, it might well be a lot less expensive to have the work done in the country where you receive treatment. Back in 1995 my mother's insurance company required English documentation to cover her extended hospitalization in Greece. We had that done before leaving Athens.

Posted by
242 posts

The big reason we get travel insurance is for the medical evacuation issues, now that we are a bit older. There is a website that many experienced travelers use to choose amongst the best companies: It will let you compare apples to apples.