Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Medical care overseas

It's the holiday season - at last. Time to think about the year gone by, eat some nice healthy low fat turkey meat - and maybe even take a little trip abroad.

If you find yourself overseas then there's a good chance you will have thought out all the different things to make sure you've organised before making the trip. Things like cancelling the newspaper deliver while you're away and getting your health travel insurance sorted.

Travel insurance is extremely important and you'd simply assume that every single person who went abroad would have purchases travel cover. Not so. In fact - and this is really quite amazing - around a fifth of travellers aren't covered. But it's not down to an overly laid back, "oh whatever" kind of attitude when people go uninsured. In fact it's often down to a mistaken belief that the government would pay for any treatment needed.

In the case of people who are living abroad longer term, in most cases experts strongly recommend international medical insurance - this is because treatment can be expensive and in some countries the state medicla facilities can be quite basic. This type of cover also includes medical repatriation - which is very dear indeed if you haven't got expat cover and end up having to pay for it out of your own funds

For an interesting look around various world country's health systems in brief, then take a look at the travel section within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website - it's very useful for finding out in which countries you need medical insurance. the site also has useful information on the general safety of places including a guide to the number of annual visitors who've required consular assistance in the past year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Health news roundup

Hi and welcome back to Your Private Healthcare Insurance Blog. I'm unwell today (this cold/ flu thing that's going around), so in lieu of a post proper - here are some of the most interesting health stories in the news right now.

The £100 genome. In the near-decade since the Human Genome Project was declared complete in 2003, things in the world of genetic study have moved on apace, and according to the health news this week we could be within sight of an era where your "entire DNA" could be mapped at very little cost. A huge breakthrough in terms of the potential for improved health care, but what are the privacy implications?

Athletes and Ibuprofen. Taken as a prophylactic against muscle pain, Ibuprofen is on the shopping list for a lot of athletes. But could it be doing more harm than good? According to recent research, it may be causing intestinal damage, but the long-term effects are as yet unknown.

The secret to longer life? Have children, according to new research from Denmark, using data from tens of thousands couples treated at IVF clinics in the country

The effects of energy drinks - the Guardian's readers share their experiences (and opinions) of enerhy drinks in this interesting article. For the record, I myself avoid carbonated drinks but I have tried one of those little 5mil energy drinks capsule bottles. They were being given away as part of a promotion - but to be honest I have no idea if I felt energetic afterwards! (It was three years ago...)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dental health latest - news from around the web

For quite a long time there's been talk of how gun health could have some link to heart health, bu tthe nature of this link isn't yet known - and may not be a causal one. Basically one theory is that  people for whom  diseased gums are an issue may also be people who are less likely to maintain recommended exercise levels and perhaps not eat such a healthy diet. So it may a be a holistic health issue rather than there being a risk of diseased gums causing heart disease - indeed, there have been reports this year that it's a 'coincidental association'.

And on the Dentistry website this week is the news that bad gums could also be linked to other problems. Quoting from a study in the Journal of Sexual medicine, the article states that "men in their thirties, who had inflamed gums caused by severe periodontal disease, were three times more likely to suffer from erection problems". Again, this could be a 'coincidental' association but either way it's a reminder to keep the gums as well as the rest of the lifestyle as healthy as possible too.

In other dental news, the BBC reports that a device known as the "Tianjie Dental Falcon" - a hand-held x-ray device - poses a health risk due to 'accumulated radiation' in users such as dental nurses.

Meanwhile, for people without dental insurance it means going to the dentists knowing that you'll need to foot the bill, and it can sometimes be confusing knowing what's what - and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is encouraging people to get more info on their rights. The OFT's Right To Smile campaign page has all the info on it and is well worth a look. Especially if you're unsure about what's involved in treatment charges and so on.