Diabetes is said by many health professionals to be the fastest growing serious health issue. Around 3.5 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with the condition, and there are probably several hundreds of thousands more who have diabetes, but haven’t been diagnosed. 1 in 16 people living in the UK are either diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetics, and although this condition can be managed successfully, it can have serious implications when it comes to looking for medical cover for trips overseas.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
When applying for travel insurance, the applicant has to declare any existing health conditions such as diabetes, asthma or anything else. Each and every illness declared will bump up the cost of the insurance premium, with the more serious illnesses such as cancer or heart conditions adding the most to the cost. These increased costs can deter travellers from taking out insurance altogether. Alternatively and even worse, they can opt out of being covered for that particular condition, which could leave them facing huge medical bills if they fall ill overseas.
EHIC Options for Diabetics
One of the better solutions for people living with diabetes is to explore the options available using an EHIC card. EHIC – the abbreviation for the European Health Insurance Card – allows European citizens to access state healthcare across all countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA). Unlike many private medical and travel insurance policies, pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes are covered. This means that should you fall ill while on holiday, you can seek treatment in a public hospital or health centre either free of charge, or at reduced rates. In an emergency, it should be straightforward to obtain prescriptions for extra insulin or other medication if you require it.
The best advice for anyone with diabetes planning a European break is to get organised. First and foremost, get online and apply for EHIC cover for every member of the family. Do some research online to find out how the public health service works in the country you’re visiting, and see if you can find out where you can get supplies of insulin – do you need to go to hospital, or would a pharmacist be able to help? Speak to your GP for advice on any other precautions you should take, and if you are insulin-dependent and need to carry syringes and insulin in hand luggage, it is always best to take a note from your doctor explaining this to speed progress through security. Look into special travel insurance policies for people with diabetes and always declare any conditions in full as insurance companies can use non-disclosure as an excuse for not paying out a claim. Most of the travel policies designed for diabetics will require you to have EHIC cover too. Make sure you take all of you documentation with you when you travel, as you will need to show your EHIC to medical staff overseas in order to be treated under the public healthcare system.