Travelling & Living Away From Home with Type 1 Diabetes: Staff Feature with Lauren Francis
What is your name and job at Healthcare International?
Lauren Francis – Business Relationship Manager
Tell us a little about yourself
I have worked in the insurance sector for 6 years now, for 3 of them I was based in the Middle East.
One of the biggest worries when moving abroad was how I was going to manage my diabetes. Being from the UK I took for granted how much my day to day management would cost (insulin, blood strips, needles etc.)
Did you have any problems with your condition when you lived away from home?
The heat would play havoc with my blood sugar levels to start with but I just had to get myself into a new routine and continuously monitor my blood until I found a happy balance.
My IPMI was a life saver and the insurance company covered all costs related to my condition including a weeklong stay in hospital (which wasn’t cheap!!).
What general tips would you pass on to someone else moving to abroad that has a preexisting medical condition
- Make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t covered on your insurance or travel policy so there are no unpleasant surprises.
- Ensure you have a list of all your medicines before you leave. Also find out before leaving/traveling if the country you are going to prescribes said medication. (Some insulin was not available in the Middle East and I had to change).
- Have something in your wallet/purse that states in English and the language of where you are travelling ‘I am Type1, Insulin Dependent Diabetic’
- Over pack on everything, accidents happen and insulin cartridges can break.
- Have sugar on you at all times!
What tips would you pass onto someone who also has Type 1 Diabetes specifically who may be relocating abroad
As well as all the above, consider medical facilities before you go. Know where your nearest GP is, Diabetic Clinic and emergency room. As soon as you arrive make it your priority to get signed up to a clinic and make sure they know of your condition.
What was the hardest thing about being away from home?
Missing Family, Home Comforts, and friends.
Why should someone moving abroad take out private medical insurance?
We are extremely lucky to have the NHS in the UK, but I think many people do not realize how much things cost when you are abroad. A trip and fall can end up costing thousands, but if you ensure you have a decent medical insurance before you go, you will never have to worry about not being able to afford the treatment you need.
Why would you recommend HealthCare International to someone moving abroad?
HCI may not be one of the biggest players in the market, but we have a heart and a personal touch. Should you ever have to claim, which is never a nice experience as its always followed on from an accident or illness, you will get to deal with one person who will guide you through the claims process and try and make things as seamless as possible.
Learn more about Healthcare International's expatriate medical insruance policies here.