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Trip Report: My Encounter With the Italian Hospital System

Trip Report: My Encounter With the Italian Hospital System

Old Mar 3rd, 2015, 08:15 AM
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"Paris was the worst emergency room. I begged and begged for them to call my cardiologist in the US and they simply would not."

no, they will not. sylvester i empathize with the fear you must have felt, but they acted correctly.

while you are under their care they are responsible for you. it's like this: if you fly Delta, the pilot will not call united for tips on how to fly the plane, because you normally fly united.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2015, 09:14 AM
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and yet you survived,, without them phoning your American doctor...funny,, they must have had a clue themselves what was going on.. they are just as good..

And many places will not give you water to drink until they are sure you will not require a surgery.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2015, 10:40 AM
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<On the subject of travel insurance, in general pre existing medical conditions are not covered.>

Some travel insurance providers (Travel Guard is the one I have used) will waive the pre-existing conditions exclusion if you purchase the insurance within a short period of time after making your first payment for the covered trip.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2015, 11:02 AM
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That airplane analogy makes no sense. If you were a Delta pilot flying a plane that suddenly developed a problem in flight, and Delta had little or no experience with this type of plane, you damned well better call somebody with experience with that type of plane.

If I had a patient with a past history of heart condition, I would certainly want to talk to his cardiologist, if only to have his records faxed to me.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2015, 11:43 AM
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what part of being a Brit means I'm not allowed toilet humour.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2015, 01:53 PM
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As the Italian EHIC doubles as a tax code cards, all Italians have it and routinely bring it in their wallet (it is required, for example, to buy drugs on the national health system, or to register a cell phone or a car). So bringing it when I am travelling is not really a problem.

In order to get reciprocal assistance from non-EU countries a proof of being insured is needed, usually as a statement stamped by our local health system office. In some cases this type of assistance is reserved to workers travelling abroad and not to tourists.

I never needed foreign assistance; my wife used a couple of times Austrian assistance on E-111 forms before the standard EHIC card was developed - formally, you should have to enroll the Austrian system before using it, but her Austrian doctor took care of this and visits and drugs were free.

The most interesting stories were when I was working a few weeks in China. We had an Israeli temporary worker with us that developed a gynecological condition needing immediate surgery. She was kept one week and was billed at Chinese prices (the equivalent of 20-30 euros, everything included). It helped that Israeli people are generally an open and adventurous bunch.

Unfortunately, another lady working with us at the same time had a stroke and died almost immediately, even before an ambulance could reach her. The repatriation of the corpse was paid by our employer.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2015, 02:09 PM
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Just a vent about the US health "system" and costs.

Nearly everyone (except for employees of the big corporations, which still offer the blue ribbon policies) has some complex employer sponsored plan with some things at no cost, office visits with co-pays, then "coinsurance," which is the snazzy term for insurance not covering something, i.e. your personal funds are "coinsurance" funds, which are paired with insurance funds to pay the total bill.

So my wife needed a second colonoscopy ($9000 with polyp removal, surgeon fees, and pathology-- and of course the mandatory second opinion of pathology). The first one is free by the ACA, but any other one within the next 12 months is non-routine, that means $350 deductible + 15%, not a small sum when you are talking $9000.

Anyway, when after the second colonoscopy the doctor recommended a third colonoscopy in 6 months, I'm saying "Whoa, these are not cheap, this (waving my arms around) costs $9000, and $1500 of that is our funds, and this third one you are recommending, even if there ends up not being any surgery, at least $800 of our funds, so can we wait 9 months from now and then it's another year and it's free (100% covered)?"

And the doctor haughtily rolls his eyes and says, "I have no idea what any of this costs," implying any consideration of cost is beneath the medical profession.

And I am thinking, "How many possible cost codes can come up in a colonoscopy? 6? 10? How many costs does an architect or engineer or contractor have to carry around in their head, hundreds? Unit costs for different carpets, and roofing materials, and siding, and pipe, and on and on. They have to know hundreds of unit costs and you, with your $450,000/yr salary can't manage to know 5 or 10?"

So doctors, too, are a big part of the cost of the US medical care with their indifference to the costs.

Incidentally, he did say, sure, we could wait 9 months since there was no research to back up waiting 6 months or 9. So $700 dollars saved, you would think he would know that since these time frames are standardized under the ACA.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2015, 02:24 PM
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<i>Nearly everyone (except for employees of the big corporations, which still offer the blue ribbon policies)</i>

And employees of the State of California who are willing and are able to use Kaiser Permanente. The Blues require a higher financial participation from the patient.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2015, 03:22 PM
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9000 dollars for a colonscopy.. ugh... that's adding injury to insult.. lol

What do people do who are not covered by insurance... oh yeah.. wait till the cancer is full blown and they are bleeding from their butts and then they can get some treatment for free at an emergency ward at a public hospital. Of course that will cost way more in long run and they will likely have a less then steller prognosis at that point.. but hey.. who cares?
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Old Mar 4th, 2015, 05:13 AM
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>>>what part of being a Brit means I'm not allowed toilet humour.<<<

Only if it's on a Delta plane evidently.

If you want to read a very interesting hospital experience (in Ukraine) while on vacation, this was posted a few years ago when some former Fodorites ran this board. At one point there was a blog link with pictures, but I don't see it now.

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