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Expat Investor : August 2009
HEALTHCARE INSURANCE How to avoid swine flu This year, Swine Flu has been in most people’s minds, as experts try and monitor the risk of a worldwide pandemic. So far, reports Medicare International, the information indicates that the H1N1 strain carries a lower risk of fatality and serious long term illness than bird flu for example, as to be caught, it requires direct contact with infected humans. However, it is still early days and new information on the virus is emerging all the time as genetic tests are carried out. One thing is for sure, basic hygiene will substantially reduce your risk of catching this flu virus, wherever you live. David Pryor, Senior Executive Director at Medicare International, advises, "If people do find themselves falling ill abroad and are worried, it is vital they go to a local doctor and ask for tests. This kind of process is routine and will be covered by most international medical insurance policies.” Those who gain treatment in 80,000 travel claims rejected annually 50plusInsurance, one of the UK’s over-50s insurance specialists, is advising travellers to check travel insurance policies with a fine toothcomb to avoid their insurer rejecting any claims if they have to cancel. 50plusInsurance warns that up to 80,000 claims a year may be rejected because policyholders fail to declare facts before their holiday. Most good travel policies include cancellation cover for illness, death in the family, jury service and redundancy. Some will even include the death of a co-owner if you run a small business. 50plusInsurance warns people to be especially careful if booking online and that they should always check definitions, requirements and declarations in any policy wording to avoid becoming one of the many thousands of travellers, who find their policies annulled by avoidable mistakes. 50plusInsurance recommends: ? Don’t book online if you are unclear about any facts – always use a provider with a telephone support line. ? Always declare any illness of a close family member or business partner whose condition, if rapidly worsening, would cause you to cancel your holiday. ? Always clarify the insurer’s definitions, such as ‘close family member’ – this may only apply to parents, grandparents, children or grandchildren. ? Check that you, and anyone covered by the policy, are covered for any pre-existing medical conditions, including pregnancy. Medical conditions not declared in advance to the insurer will not normally be covered, which could prove to be an expensive omission for some destinations. ? In the event of cancellation check what proof is required, particularly in the event of an illness or death where relevant medical certificates may be needed. July/August 2009 ? EXPAT INVESTOR 15 the early stages are able to use two drugs, namely Tamiflu and Rilenza, which seem to treat the virus effectively. The initial symptoms of Swine Flu are similar to normal flu, namely a fever, cough, sore throat, aches, chills and fatigue. Follow these basic personal hygiene rules in order to minimise your risk of infection. ?Wash hands regularly with soap ? Try to avoid touching your face with your hands, unless clean ? Blow your nose into a clean tissue and dispose of it immediately ? Clean hard surfaces such as door handles regularly ? Seek medical attention initially by telephoning your doctor if you start to show flu symptoms
May June 2009
September October 2009