Just before Christmas 2018 I broke my leg badly in an unfortunate skiing accident while on holiday in Japan. This incident brought home to me just how important both medical and travel insurance are in protecting us when we suffer unforeseen accidents.
Relieved to have had the support of a first rate, high quality medical insurer to assist me, I wrote a cautionary tale to those underestimating the value of these types of insurance. The message was that if there is one time when you really don’t want to be cheap it is when buying medical and travel insurance.
Little did I know that just over a year later, having recovered almost seamlessly from the skiing incident, I would yet again be thanking my lucky stars for great doctors and comprehensive insurance in relation to an entirely different experience. Because no sooner had the broken tib and fib been dealt with then I became embroiled in medical drama number two.
Being sick is never fun, especially if the illness is significant, but when your body doesn’t respond to treatment and you find yourself getting sicker rather than better, it’s terrifying. This is what happened to me at the beginning of 2019 kicking off a long and frightening journey which lasted all year.
There was no question of bad diagnosis or medical mismanagement – I was undoubtedly being treated by the best doctors in Bangkok – but this was a complex medical disease which eventually got out of hand.
At first the doctors took a cautious approach avoiding steroid treatments which can have significant side effects. However when the initial medication failed to work and my symptoms were worsening week by week my health deteriorated to such a point that I had to be admitted to hospital and steroids became unavoidable.
And so began the long, slow road to recovery which had many twists, turns and roadblocks. In addition to the steroids I was treated with gene therapy, an extremely expensive process in which the defective genes that are causing problems in the body are replaced with healthy ones. While initially I responded well, six months later I hit a wall and progress stopped while I was still far from recovered.
Thank goodness for the second opinion service provided by my medical insurer. I was fortunate to have my full medical history reviewed by a specialist in the US. He gave his opinion and for a while everything seemed to be on track yet full recovery or remission remained elusive.
After several more months with little progress another opinion was sought, this time from a doctor in Europe. With three doctors from three different continents working in tandem, I was finally referred to an exceptional doctor on a fourth continent, this time in Australia.
So it was that I found myself flying to Melbourne for three weeks during which time I was treated with an aggressive dose of gene therapy drugs, only returning home on the last flight out of Melbourne before the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed.
After a couple of weeks in isolation I returned home and I am continuing my treatment regime with my doctor here in Thailand. Remission is now within reach and I am looking forward to getting the awful drugs out of my system so that I can focus on getting fit and healthy again… and back on the ski slopes!
Once again, medical insurance has proved invaluable to me. The support I received from my insurer was second to none. They provided me with a dedicated nurse to handle my case and gave me access to second opinions from medical experts across the globe. And, of course, they picked up the tab for the horrendously expensive treatment that I have received over the last year, both in Thailand and Australia, which I would have struggled to afford on my own.
Grateful seems too tame a word for how I feel right now – towards both my insurance company and the doctors who continue to treat me. And yet again, I cannot stress enough how important comprehensive medical insurance is to each and every one of us.
And comprehensive is a crucial word here. It’s a mistake to base your decision about which health insurance policy to choose purely on price. I would always advise going for the best insurance you can get for your budget. It is important to consider the following aspects of any policy:
- Who actually provides the underwriting for the policy?
- What are you covered for?
- What is excluded?
- What locations or areas are covered?
- What are the limits and are there any sub limits on certain conditions?
If you’d like help sifting through the medical insurance options available to you, please get in touch. Our consultants are experts at matching individuals and families with the right policy to meet their needs.
Don’t take a gamble with your health and skimp on medical cover. As I’ve learnt from experience, it simply isn’t worth it.
I can honestly say that my main driving force at Infinity is a fundamental belief that good financial planning makes people’s lives better. People working abroad really do have an enviable opportunity to make a huge success of their lives, and making good financial decisions is essential…as well as working damn hard!