The majority of expats suffer from general every day health problems rather than emergencies that tend to make the headlines, according to a leading healthcare provider.
Having the right international healthcare is sometimes associated with emergency situations, such as evacuation from the middle of a jungle, life threatening cases of Malaria or major heart surgery on the other side of the world.
Research though by Medicare International shows that frequent claims on policies relate to the most common complaint and also shows that being in a new and different environment can also have an impact on health.
The most common ailment is back problems followed by respiratory infections, including flu that can be brought on by being in new surroundings and picking up viruses, which the individual has little or no resistance.
Third on the list for newcomers abroad gastro/abdominal problems. It says that although the days of Spanish tummy seem long gone now, unfamiliar germs and bacteria can play havoc with a person’s digestive system, if they are unlucky. More serious problems such as dysentery are still commonplace for visitors to India for example, if precautions are not taken. Even then, it is almost impossible to safeguard oneself from these types of illnesses.
Fourth on the list is cancer. The types of cancer costs covered by some but not all international health insurance would typically be diagnosis, drugs and treatment costs.
Asthma and Bronchitis are fifth on the list. As with respiratory problems, both conditions are exacerbated by poor quality air, new environments, or simply failing to treat existing health problems.
Chronic care costs such as these might not be covered by some insurers, but MediCare International policies do cover these ongoing costs, so asthma sufferers, for example, can receive the appropriate drugs, should their condition worsen when abroad.
Hypertension is the sixth most common ailment followed by knee problems, eczema and skin conditions that can be aggravated by different climates and urinary tract infections that can be exacerbated by hot weather.
‘People often associate private healthcare with medical emergencies. The truth is, the most common conditions reflect everyday living difficulties which can be exacerbated whilst abroad, whilst others are conditions which are often brought about from the effects of travel and simply being in new environments,’ said David Pryor, senior executive director at MediCare International.
‘What is striking, though, is the proportion of these complaints which have a chronic aspect to them such as back pain, cancer, respiratory problems, and skin complaints, all of these can require ongoing treatment, something we at MediCare International cover as part of our chronic care benefit. We pride ourselves in providing the best possible care for our policyholders, whether it is a new, curable condition or something which requires longer term treatment,’ he explained.
MediCare International provides healthcare cover for clients of over 86 nationalities in over 114 countries. With over 25 years’ experience, it is one of the leaders in the field for both individual and group cover and direct staff schemes, with group rates available on three lives or more.