It can´t be told too many times: before going to the US; check it out that you have a travel insurance which is paid for, before you go and it covers essential topics and that you have a contact back home, if anything should happen.
In most cases, (especially in Scandinavia) you have a travel insurance as a part of your property insurance at home. Sometimes it is a limited version, it is a good idea to buy the extended version and that is usually not a lot of money.
If you pay for your travel tickets with any of the well known credit cards (VISA, Euro Card, AMEX) you have a travel insurance from that credit card. But that insurance may be limited; check it out so you know what you are protected for!
The third option is normally only applicable if you are going to stay away more than those 45 days, which is the usual limit for the above mentioned insurances. If that is the case, you have to shop around. Especially if you intend to visit the US. And let us be frank on that.
It is absolutely nothing wrong with the care and the treatment you get in the US, should you need it. It is of the highest standard. But what will come as an unpleasant surprise are the costs, if you have to pay for it yourself. It is not our intention to discuss the financial aspects of the US Health System. But it hits hard if you are not covered by a travel insurance. But you should also know, there are ways to make the encounter smoother – depending on the situation.
First, there are two different ways to consult medical resources in the US. If you are involved in a serious road accident with bodily injuries, you will of course be brought to the ER at the nearest hospital. But quite often, your problem is (hopefully…) of a less serious nature and you can take yourself to an alternative type of care. There are two different reasons for not going to the ER at a hospital.
One reason is the costs. If you have a travel insurance, perhaps you may not need to worry about that. But also important: the waiting time. If you go the hospital ER, you have to wait – perhaps for hours – because of the different ailments (simple or serious) of the persons, before you in the waiting room. Because a hospital has to accept all and everyone coming in.
Instead – if you are in a reasonable shape – you could consult one of the Urgent Care clinics around. They may have some waiting time too, but it is a totally different story. And the costs for a visit are reasonable – also to compare with European costs. They have of course not the same resources as a big hospital and if they judge it you need more specialized treatment, they will remit you to a suitable hospital. And if they do, you will avoid discussions with your insurance company: you have only followed their professional recommendations. Here you will find locations and addresses to a number of Urgent Care drop-in resources in the central part of St Pete: Urgent Care units
Don´t forget to save ALL receipts for your costs – many hospitals and Urgent Care units have no contracts with European insurance agencies, so you must pay up front yourself and later get it refunded from your own insurance company.
And don´t forget the receipts for your medicine – which is expensive in the US!