What Good Is Health Insurance If You Can’t Find a Doctor You Trust?
It is interesting to me that when I speak with individuals and families who are planning to travel abroad how little attention is given to the question posted above. Unless you have been one of the unfortunate few who have truly experience a medical emergency while traveling outside the borders of your home country then little energy seems to be expended on this very subject.
But the truth of the matter is that when you are in a foreign country and more specifically in the more rural areas you may be traveling – whom do you contact in the event of a medical emergency or illness. Who will act as your advocate and guide you to where the best care may be found? How will you get there? Here in the states our domestic insurance companies are best suited to guide you in a medical emergency but outside the U.S. they are not.
GeoBlue has created an elite network of doctors from almost every specialty ready to see you in over 180+ countries. Only a small fraction of doctors around the world meet GeoBlue’s exacting standards—participation is by invitation only. GeoBlue seeks out professionals certified by the American or Royal Board of Medical Specialties who speak English, and they factor in recommendations by over 158 Physician Advisors from all over the world.
GeoBlue neither requires nor accepts fees or payments of any kind from healthcare providers. Development and maintenance of the Community occurs in four steps:
Step One – Provider Selection. Providers qualify for participation in any one of the following ways:
- Certification by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
- Membership in selected Royal Colleges of Medicine or Surgery, including those based in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
- Personal recommendation by Regional Physician Advisor, Medical Officer or Post Medical Advisor for U.S. or British diplomatic missions, GeoBlue staff person, or the Medical Director of a participating medical facility.
- Recommendation by a Recruiting partner such as Quintiles Transnational Corporation, Air Canada, British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa. (Quintiles, which is based in North Carolina, conducts clinical trials for multinational drug companies with physicians in more than 100 countries).
Step Two – Biography Submission. Qualifying providers must submit a biographical profile that is reviewed by GeoBlue’s provider relations staff. This biographical data is subsequently updated on an annual basis. Contact information is updated bi-monthly (see Step 4 below).
Step Three – Contracting. Providers must enter into a contract with GeoBlue specifying the terms of their participation in the Community. For example:
- Providers must certify that they are fully licensed to practice medicine in their country.
- Providers must certify that they have received post-graduate medical training in US/European (Western) style medicine at an internationally accredited hospital or medical center.
- Providers must certify that they are fluent in English.
Step Four – Ongoing Communication. The Community is maintained through an average of eight annual communications between GeoBlue and each participating provider, in addition to communications that pertain to specific customers and patients. A Community newsletter, called the GeoBlue Compass, is published bi-monthly and distributed to each provider. Most members of the Community communicate with GeoBlue using email, making regular communication quite simple.!
International Cover is a relatively new topic for the U.S. Traveler but not so much for those living in other countries. GeoBlue is the only U.S. based insurer that meets or exceeds the standards of care while their policy holders travel abroad.
DO NOT make the mistake of thinking your U.S. Domestic health plan is adequate especially in the event of a medical emergency. It could cost you your life or end up at the very lease a very expensive lesson.