Depending on you and your family’s needs, medical services will either be at the top of your list, or at the ‘ forgotten until an emergency hits’ end. It goes without saying that the sooner you get your expat healthcare needs covered, the less stressful it will be when an emergency happens. So you will need..
- Recent Health Assessment
- Preventive Care Provision (vaccinations etc)
- Health Insurance or some means of paying for your healthcare
- Copies of your medical records and contact details of your previous medical practitioners
- Medical Practitioners or Care Providers, such as
- General or Family doctor
- Emergency Room / Urgent Care Clinic
- Relevant Specialists
Over the next five steps, we’ll be taking you through the process of what you need to do and when you need to do things, but in the meantime, here’s a quick overview of the main points.
1. Be Prepared. Get appropriate insurance, copies of your medical records, and an accurate picture of your current health. If you have current providers that you like, ask them for any referrals or recommendations. Often there is a very strong specialist network that you can tap in to, and it makes the transferring of information a great deal easier.
2. Once you are in location, start asking people who they use. It’s a win-win situation, as most people will have at least one healthcare provider that they are delighted with and are happy to refer, and providers are always pleased with this demonstration of satisfaction with their services.
3. Visit with your new medical practitioners to meet them, before you need to use their services. Signing on with a new surgery is a labor intensive, time-consuming process, and it’s worth making sure that you are happy with the whole office set-up before you commit to that process. Call the surgery to discover how long it takes for a call to be answered, how long you are kept on hold, whether your health insurance is accepted there, how easily and quickly you can get an appointment, and how courteous the reception staff are. These are all indicators that give you an idea of how smoothly your relationship will progress, and how your emergency will be handled when you are under stress and in need of their services. Then visit the surgery to see how accessible , clean, how crowded the office is, and how long clients are left waiting in a waiting room. You don’t need an appointment to do this, just go and visit the office, and if you think you might like it, collect the paperwork to fill in in the comfort of your own home.