Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Emergency medical care outside of home country--How much did it cost you?

Emergency medical care outside of home country--How much did it cost you?

Old Nov 2nd, 2015, 05:40 PM
  #41  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,166
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Last year I was traveling in Italy when I got a bad throat infection. I asked the hotel manager for help and he recommended a doctor in the neighborhood. The hotel manager even went with me to translate since the doc speaks no English. The doctor charged me nothing and the 4 prescriptions he gave me cost a whopping 8 euros in total. After starting my meds I felt better in just a couple of days.
P_M is online now  
Old Nov 2nd, 2015, 11:28 PM
  #42  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,124
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I took a terrible fall in London and broke several bones and was taken to the ER for treatment. I needed surgery and elected to fly back to the USA for the surgery and aftercare, but all the X-rays, putting a dislocated shoulder back in place and putting me in two casts didn't cost me anything. I could have had the surgery done in the London Hospital and they said it would cost me $500, which would have been a bargain. My treatment was excellent and the ER Doctor called me at my hotel twice to see how I was dong before my flight home. Our travel insurance paid for our travel home and also paid for having to cancel our cruise and some other things events on our trip.
Cali is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 12:16 AM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
bvlienci,

The chances of a tourist being able to find their way to a specialist in an emergency outside of the public health system is next to nil. Someone facing an emergency on vacation should approach the public system, not ask their hotel to find them a private doctor.

As you point out, all the reputable specialists are in the public system. Yes, many also have a private practice, but a tourist have a hard time finding them that way, so why not go to the public system that will lead you to the specialist?

Most people on vacation in Italy who tear a tendon are not going to have the surgery done in Italy. In life threatening emergencies, especially for travellers who do not speak the language, there is no reason to delay to go around looking for recommendations for private care in a country where public care achieves equal outcomes and better outcomes in some cases than US or other European systems.

NYTraveler posted about her iron-clad rule of never using the public health care system for medical attention in Europe, but in Italy you run the risk of wrong diagnosis asking your hotel to find you a private doctor. Go to the pharmacy for smaller issues, who may be able to solve the problem right there or, if not, will direct to the local doctors with open office hours. For bigger issues, go to the hospital.

It is simply bad advice to tell people visiting Italy to try to find a private doctor if they need medical care.
sandralist is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 12:28 AM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,585
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I had a bad cough/cold and needed an antibiotic.

I can't see to type because of the steam coming out of my ears.
MissPrism is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 12:40 AM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,934
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Seven minutes consultation for an ear infection in The Turks & Caicos resulted in a prescription for the drugs I knew I needed anyway.

The bill : $150.

No wonder the was a new Range Rover parked outside.
BritishCaicos is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 12:42 AM
  #46  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 23,802
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
For anybody needing to see a doctor in Paris or any other big city in France -- but not needing to go to the emergency room -- I recommend going to a <i>Centre Médical</i>. A GP is 23€, a specialist is 35€ and just about every field is covered. Most of them open around 7:30 or 8:00 including Saturday and stay open until at least 19:00. They also do blood tests and all of the medical imagery, the results of which you can generally pick up the following day.

In Paris, I go to this one, the location near Saint Lazare: http://cosem.fr/

You can find dozens of other addresses on Google or www.pagesjaunes.fr
kerouac is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 12:42 AM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,763
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Those are just like American prices.
sparkchaser is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 01:24 AM
  #48  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
By the way, for history lovers, I think I am correct in saying that the first "hospitals" as we know them were created in Italy to care for pilgrims who had arrived in Rome ill. Traditionally one's family would care for anyone sick, but pilgrims, far from home and having no families nearby, needed places to stay where others would care for them until they had recuperated. The original hospital created to do this still exists near the Vatican (and I think has a nursing museum inside it). Later on, as more and more people left or were forced from land, families divided and disintegrated, having hospitals for everybody became a necessity.

So the principal of foreigners having access to health care in Italy has a very very long tradition and isn't some attachment Italians allegedly have to "socialism" or anything like that.
sandralist is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 01:47 AM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,826
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Mrs Bilbo recently needed emergancy UK treatment (we are Brits) on her eye. As usual the srevice was pretty good and she is all better, note that we are near a big city but way outside London. Chatting to doctor friends, medical insurance etc everyone advise us that the kit in the NHS was the most modern for what was needed (all toe curlingly nasty) so just by chance we checked in a private clinic for a similar service (and I used to make a version of the kit in a factory) and yes, the kit was older etc.

My advice would be to use the national services rather than go private in those countries that mainly use national services, they get the expenditure invested in them and they get the training.
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 01:54 AM
  #50  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,247
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's a mixed bag in Germany.
As we do not have a state-run health system, but have most of the workforce insured obligatorily by state-supervised private health insurers and some with extra (voluntary) private insurance, you can get two-class healthcare at hospitals.

The same treatment can cost substiantially more if you pay by yourself (or get reimbursed by your own private insurer) than if you opt for "2nd class".
The latter does not give you any worse treatment, but a more comfortable accomodation (single occupancy rooms), daily check-up by highest-ranking physician or specialist (regardless whether you need it or not), etc.
The same treatment can be billed at much higher rates than as for the "2nd class" patients.
In most cases, it's more a matter of wellness, but which can run up daily extra costs of several hundred euros with no substantial extra medical benefit.

If you are unsure if or how much you get reimbursed at home, you can demand upon check-in at the hospital to be accomodated and treated as if you had mandatory German health insurance.
You won't be waiting longer for a PET scan or surgery than the "1st class" patients, but may have to share a room and get more basic/ghastly hospital food.


It's different when you don't need a trip to the ER but just a regular doctor.
Almost all doctors and specialists in Germany also bill private patients, so when you need to see a GP or ophtamologist or dentist, make sure to say that when you ask for an appointment. It will make appear vacant spots in the doctor's agenda miraculously.
Aside from dentists, which can be really expensive, other specialists charge somewhat moderately. For example, a next day appointment with an ophtamologist who did a number of diagnostic checks with his machinery (retina, eye pressure, vision) which took about an hour cost me bit less than €100 altogether.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 02:32 AM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,585
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bilbo makes a fair point.
If something goes wrong in a private hospital in the UK, you have to be rushed to a NHS hospital.
It happened to a friend of mine.
MissPrism is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 02:42 AM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 23,802
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
Is it time for our medical singalong yet?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVgOl3cETb4
kerouac is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 03:52 AM
  #53  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,023
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sandralist, I agree that in an emergency, you should go to the nearest emergency room, and I would add that I would <b>never</b> have surgery at a private clinic. I just wanted to correct the statement that private doctors were "second tier". I have had superb care for rare conditions in Italy, from private specialists who charged a very reasonable fee for consultation, and who referred me to public hospitals and laboratories for tests and procedures. Two of these doctors are internationally known for their expertise in their fields. In the US I couldn't have afforded such eminent specialists, even assuming they would have been willing to see me.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 04:02 AM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,023
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I also agree that a pharmacy is the best place to go for minor matters. They will even do minor checkups, such as checking your blood pressure. I would also trust a pharmacist much more than a hotel to recommend a doctor should it be deemed necessary.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 04:16 AM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,763
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I need to sit with Bilbo for a beer or three so he can explain this NHS vs private insurance thing.
sparkchaser is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 04:28 AM
  #56  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,297
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think this had been an informative thread since none of us ever know if we will need emergency medical care when away from home. Obviously, all of this is anecdotal but it does help people to have a general idea of what types of costs they might incur in different places around the worls, something we would not know since we are all familiar with our own system at home and its pricing vagaries.
julies is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 04:33 AM
  #57  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 12,820
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I hope everyone has this link in their favorites

http://www.insuremytrip.com/index.html?linkId=ER791460

If you haven't purchased medical insurance for a trip before, CALL THEM before your trip. It takes awhile to learn the insurers, and types of insurance available as supplements or primary
FrankS is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 05:03 AM
  #58  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,826
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Sparki,

it is complicated

"I need to sit with Bilbo for a beer or three so he can explain this NHS vs private insurance thing."

In the UK

1) there are dentists in the NHS but not enough and not distributed evenly over the country
2) so I use a private dentist
3) ditto eye regular eye checks, though these are private they are given for free in the hope you buy their glasses (as if) (glasses are bought privately and I get max two every couple of year for £70 for both)
4) private insurance for foreign travel (but I get it free from my bank (which itself is free))
5) Ehic card (public from the government) accesses EU European health as it would cost the locals
6) NHS for all other medical stuff
7) but, and this is just stupid, for certain specialist services and to jump queues, private medical insurance within the UK

simple really
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 06:18 AM
  #59  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 6,325
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You have to be careful in Europe to use the public hospitals. If you break a leg on a piste in Austria, they'll take you to a private hospital, which our local public health insurance will not reimburse. If you plan to go skiing, make sure your insurance covers that.

Here in Belgium we pay for doctor's visits, but the health insurance reimburses most of that.

I know someone who ended up in a US hospital with Guilhem Barre syndrome. This was years ago, and luckily he was well insured. His insurance company was desperate to move him back to the Netherlands, but he couldn't be moved for weeks. Imagine having to pay for weeks of intensive care in a US hospital.
Tulips is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 06:55 AM
  #60  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,606
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My experience was on a cruise ship and I might have well been in the US! doctor consultation (10 minutes)about $125, antibiotics another $125 for a bad cough (probably from a virus). My US health insurance only covers for emergencies (was I supposed to wait and get sicker?) but I had purchased a policy thru GEOBlue which covered most of the expenses.

OTOH we had a great experience in an Italian pharmacy on a trip when DH forgot his blood pressure meds. In 10 minutes we were sold, for a very reasonable price, a 2 week supply. No need to go to a doctor or even provide any prescription.
suec1 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -