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Rheumatoid arthritis travel insurance

There can be confusion about the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While osteoarthritis, often shortened to simply ‘arthritis’, is caused by wear and tear on the body’s joints over time, rheumatoid arthritis happens due to a problem with the body’s immune system.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Like other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints in the body, making them stiff, swollen and painful. Usually, it is the hands, wrists and feet that are affected.

However, unlike other forms, this type of arthritis is an autoimmune condition. This means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks cells the body needs – in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the cells that line the joints. As a result, the damaged cells cannot provide adequate cushioning for the joints, causing pain and inflammation (swelling).

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) state that over 400,000 people in the UK have rheumatoid arthritis. Since it is often impossible to see the affects of the condition, it is considered an invisible illness, although it greatly impacts the lives of those who have it. As such, the NRAS have created a National Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week, to highlight the condition and help people understand its effects.

At Free Spirit, we can offer medical travel insurance for people with rheumatoid arthritis of any age.

Why do I need specialist travel insurance to cover rheumatoid arthritis?

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis tend to come and go, in what’s known as ‘flare ups’. During each flare up, the affected joints suffer more damage, which is why the condition worsens over time. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but it is possible to treat the symptoms and minimise the chances of flare ups.

However, not knowing when a flare up may occur can make it difficult to plan time away from home. You may worry that an unexpected flare up could mean that you can’t travel as planned, or that you may need medical care while you’re overseas. At the same time, many standard travel insurance providers won’t cover rheumatoid insurance, which can leave you uncertain where to turn.

That’s where specialist travel insurance comes in; cover that’s specifically designed to cover people with most medical conditions including rheumatoid arthritis. The Free Spirit policy will cover you for medical expenses if you require emergency treatment abroad*.

There are other benefits to our rheumatoid arthritis travel insurance too – you’ll also be covered for a multitude of non-medical eventualities, including a loss or theft of baggage, medication, journey disruption (Super Duper cover only) and repatriation costs. Take a look at our summary of cover.

One of the most important aspects of our medical travel insurance is that you are covered from the moment we issue your policy for cancellation cover**. This means that, should a flare up strike during the run up to your departure and you’re too unwell to go, we can help you recoup some or all of the travel and/or accommodation costs you’ve already spent*. And, as we can also cover those you’re travelling with on your Free Spirit policy, we can cover their costs too.

*Subject to the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.

** Cancellation cover starts from the issue date on a single trip policy, and from the start date you select when taking out an annual multi-trip policy.

How can I get rheumatoid arthritis travel insurance?

We seek to offer medical travel insurance for rheumatoid arthritis for people of any age. Our application process is designed to be as simple for you as possible; you can get a quote online by filling in our form or call us to speak to one of our friendly and experienced team members. You can call us on 02392 419 080, Monday to Friday from 8am-6pm, excluding Bank Holidays.

To create the most suitable policy for you, we’ll need to ask you some questions about your rheumatoid arthritis and how it affects you. For example, we may ask you:

  • Have you had any joints replaced or resurfaced?
  • How many unplanned hospital admissions have you had for rheumatoid arthritis in the last year?
  • How many medications do you take for your arthritis?
  • Do you currently use any mobility aids because of your arthritis?
  • Has this condition also caused lung problems?

Tips on managing rheumatoid arthritis on holiday

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you’ll likely be accustomed to looking after yourself and minimising your risk of flare ups. Taking a few more precautions before you travel, like the ones below, can help to further reduce your chances of your condition causing you pain and discomfort while you’re away.

Talk to your doctor about your travel plans, ideally before you have booked any elements of your trip. They will be able to advise on taking medication away with you, to organise a larger supply if you will need it, and whether your chosen destination requires you to have any vaccinations. There may be extra arrangements to make; for example, if you use a syringe to take your medication for rheumatoid arthritis and you’re planning on travelling by air, you may need to consult your airline on taking this into the aeroplane cabin. Your doctor will be able to point you in the right direction.

Make your journey to and from your destination easier by packing light and using a bag with wheels, so you don’t have to carry anything too heavy. Don’t hesitate to arrange extra help transporting your luggage if you need it; staff at airports and train stations should be happy to assist you if you call ahead.

However you choose to spend your holiday, we hope you have a wonderful time with plenty of time to relax!

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