Whether you are on a prolonged holiday or prefer the nomadic life-style, healthcare should not be an issue, but a topic to take care of before leaving home. If your campervan is what you call home and have embraced completely the hippie life, than additional measures are needed to enjoy the freedom without worrying about disease or extraordinary costs.
The first rule of stress-free holiday or semi-nomadic life is prevention and health planning. Before enjoying the independence of a motorhome in the great outdoors, be diligent and visit your general practitioner for a routine check-up and a re-fill or at least prescriptions for your existing health issues.
Older travelers, sometimes nick-named “grey-nomads” are among the most exposed group to problems during travelling due to age and chronic conditions and are advised to pay extra attention to organizing their medication in order to enjoy the time and avoid being a burden for the local medical systems of the areas where they camp. In the words of Dr Rob Whitehead:
“I think it’s great that people can get to see a very special part of Australia but it does put an added strain on health services that are already overstretched at times,” he said. “So I think making sure that your health has been checked over by your GP before you leave, is probably a really useful thing to do.”
A recent study on this problem pointed out that:
“The prevalence of chronic diseases in those aged 65 years or over was 68%; 57% had sufficient chronic medications for the entire trip; 19% had a list of long term medications; and 9% of those with chronic diseases had a health summary from their usual general practitioner.”
This means that there is still a long way to go as regards the education of the traveler and making them conscious about the risks they are exposing themselves when leaving home without proper medical aid.
The second rule is being well-documented about the place you are about to go as regards some drugs and over the counter medication. If you rely on special substances that are not available or recommended in some states, just make sure you have enough to last you through your trip. Registering as a new patient with a new doctor can impact your budget, so thinking in advance pays off.
Another idea that could save you from draining your budget due to medical issues is to get a motorhome insurance which also covers medical problems or hospital expenses as well as being relocated home in extreme cases. This might set you apart a few dollars in the beginning, but can be totally worth on the long run.
The most difficult situation is faced by people who don’t have a permanent address; therefore they don’t belong to a GP. In this case it is advisable to ask a relative or friend to let you use their home as your permanent residency, as most insurance companies don’t accept camper-van places as residencies.
An article describing the medical struggles of permanent motorhome residents states:
“Nomads have always had to shop carefully for plans that have access to a provider network that are in locations they are most likely to travel, and the ACA has added some extra complexities to this by tightening down provider networks to reduce costs. Nomads should pay specific attention to what a plan’s deductible for ‘out of network’ services will be, as they stand a higher likelihood of needing to access care while away from a provider within their network.”
The same article recommends that permanent nomads seek insurance with organizations or religious organizations that can have larger impact when negotiating terms with insurance companies, much like a large employer.
When you have taken care of all the medical details of your trip you are ready to book a van and head out to nature to make some ever-lasting memories. Just use the same diligence in planning your trip and start with a customer friendly rental, at Motorhome Hire.