Florida Guide > Planning your Trip
Having looked forward to your trip to Florida for so long, planned exactly what you are going to do – which Parks to visit, how many shopping trips etc, we none of us want our holiday spoilt by an accident or sickness.
Thankfully the chance for your holiday being spoilt by a health problem is rare………but it sadly does occasionally happen and it is a good idea to be aware of the Florida process!
As a Brit the absolute must is to ensure you have travel insurance in place.
Should you have any pre-existing conditions or have had recent surgery you must advise your travel insurance company before you leave the UK, otherwise you could find yourself in the unfortunate situation of not being covered by your insurance! Be warned – medical care in Florida is very expensive!
If you are staying in a villa take some time to read the guest manual which you will find in the villa. It will give you details of who to contact in an emergency. It will list the nearest hospital and walk in medical centre and if you are in any doubt or need advice then a call to the villa Management Company will point you in the right direction.
Some homes have a security alarm system fitted. Our own one has a button on the control panel which will call medical help if required – thankfully this has never been used and hopefully never will! !
Do I go to hospital or the walk-in medical centre?
I rough rule of thumb is that the walk in medical centre is roughly equivalent to the GP surgeries that we are familiar with in the UK. They are useful for minor ailments but for an accident of emergency then it is best to go straight to the local hospital Emergency Room – our equivalent of Accident and Emergency. The hospital will have full x-ray facilities and the ability to deal with the non routine and emergency issues.
As in the UK, if you do attend hospital you are first of all assessed by a triage nurse before you see the doctor. Hopefully there will not be too long to wait – in my experience the waiting time is short.
As medical care has to be paid for in the US, one of the first things you have to do is complete a form regarding your method of payment. Your insurance will be accepted but first you will have to call the insurance company helpline for authorisation and a reference number – then the hospital will agree to forward all bills to them for payment. Otherwise you will need to pay before you leave the hospital – so have your credit card handy! On the plus side there is a discount for immediate payment.
Also – be prepared to receive additional bills after you get home! The hospital will itemise different areas of the treatment you receive and invoice them separately – you could still be receiving bills several weeks later!
The strong message once again is make sure you are insured!
Remember too that it is very unlikely that medical problems will spoil your trip to Florida – but it’s a good idea to be prepared and know what to do in the event of needing medical help!
Enjoy your holiday!
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Page added on: 25 May 2007
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