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You’re abroad and a medical emergency hits. How do you get adequate care? Companies such as Motorola and American Express offer special programs for their international travelers. (There are independent programs as well.)
Last year, Motorola approached International SOS Assistance to design an international medical program for its company. Employees fill out a medical history profile, which is stored in SOS’s database. In an emergency, SOS can access the medical history and relay it to the attending physician. SOS also refers Motorola employees to approved doctors and hospitals around the world, handles emergency evaluations (which can run up to $100,000 otherwise) and provides interpreters and hospital claims assistance. According to SOS spokesperson Stacy Bronstein, similar programs can be customized for other companies.
Individuals can also enroll in International SOS. Among the services offered are: worldwide medical assistance; personal assistance with legal services and lost documents; emergency travel assistance; travel security; and medical and travel insurance.
Before you travel overseas, get the proper immunizations and have medical records handy in case of an emergency. Your hotel can provide a list of nearby hospitals when you check in. University hospitals are usually the best bet.