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Do I need to register for the Medicare scheme if I’m travelling to Australia?

If you are travelling to Australia you can enrol in Medicare which will entitle you to subsidised hospital treatments and medicines. You can do this by contacting a local Medicare office in Australia. All claims for refunds under the Medicare scheme must be made before you leave Australia. For more information on Medicare: visit: www.medicareaustralia.gov.au or email: medicare@medicareaustralia.gov.au

Can I get insurance without covering my existing medical condition?

Some insurers will issue you with a policy that excludes “anything directly or indirectly related to your medical condition”. I would strongly recommend that you do not travel without full cover.

What happens if I need to make a claim?

My advice is to take your insurance documents with you on your trip. That way you have the policy number and contact details of the emergency assistance company to hand should you need help whilst you are away.

If you do need to make a claim, contact your insurer as soon as you can. Remember too that if you need medical treatment while abroad, you should contact the emergency assistance number shown on your policy.

The insurer may require evidence to support your claim, for example, if you cancel your holiday due to ill health, your GP will have to complete a medical form.

If you are hospitalised abroad, the emergency assistance company will need to make contact with your GP to check your medical history. They will need to check this against what you have declared when you purchased your policy.

When should I take out cover?

You should arrange insurance as soon as possible after you have booked your trip. This will ensure you will be covered for cancellation. If your condition changes after you have taken out cover, check your policy wording to see if you need to tell the insurer – most will require you to do this.

If you have an Annual policy, you may have to contact the insurer each time you book a trip to declare your medical condition(s).

I am travelling with a family member who does not have a medical condition. Should they be insured on my policy?

I always recommend that all travellers are insured on the same travel insurance policy. This will ensure there are no gaps in cover that could arise if separate policies are purchased. For example, if you had to cancel your holiday due to your medical condition, your travelling companions on the same policy would also be covered for cancellation, which may not be the case if they had taken out cover elsewhere.

I am currently awaiting tests for my medical condition. Can I get travel insurance?

Insurers will usually not provide cover until you have had the results of your tests. My advice is to contact the insurer as soon as these come in.

Can I get travel insurance if my medical condition is terminal?

There are a few specialist providers, such as Free Spirit, that can provide cover for people with terminal or life limiting conditions. Cover is normally only available by contacting the travel insurance company by telephone as each enquiry is individually assessed. In some cases, you may be asked to obtain a letter from your doctor.

I’m taking medication to control my medical condition. Do I still need to declare it?

Even if your condition(s) is under control with medication, you still need to declare it.

The insurer may ask you about your medications and whether they have changed recently.

I tried to obtain a quote online but, having declared my condition, I was told to contact the insurer by telephone. Why would that be?

Many specialist providers will only quote for certain medical conditions over the telephone as they need to individually assess you.

Each travel insurance provider is different. Just because you haven’t been able to obtain the policy online, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to get travel insurance.

What information do I need to provide to ensure I am covered?

Different insurers will ask a variety of questions although many use the same medical screening system. However, it is a good idea to make sure that you have your full medical history to hand when applying for a quote. For example, you may be asked to declare the following:

  • Respiratory conditions (relating to the lungs or breathing)
  • Any heart, circulatory, kidney, liver, any condition relating to the pancreas e.g. diabetes, cerebral condition (relating to the brain)
  • Any stroke or central nervous system disorder
  • Any cancer that has been diagnosed or treated

My advice is to make sure that you tell the insurer everything – don’t hold anything back!