While it's easy in Spain to walk into any pharmacy
and get a prescription for cold, flu, diahhrea,
or other minor illnesses,
more serious injuries may mean surgery and a hospital stay
or even transport back to your home country.
And though there are many anecdotal stories
about people receiving kind and free medical treatment in Spain
it is a good idea to be sure major medical expenses
by a policy you can purchase before leaving home.
There are two types of insurance you will need
to consider when traveling to walk the Camino.
The first is medical coverage.
The second is trip coverage.
Sometimes, you might find a policy covering both.
My experience in not being able to get home last year
when my sister in law passed away
has changed my mind about trip coverage insurance,
which never before was a priority.
One of my Camino acquaintances, Johnnywalker,
who lives in Spain and works in the Pilgrim Office
recently posted regarding medical insurance
while on the Camino:
"It may be helpful to note the advice given
by the US Government on this matter:
Important: American Citizens living or traveling abroad
should be sure they have adequate medical insurance
that will cover expenses incurred abroad.
Medicare and Medicaid are only valid in the United States.
Some private American medical insurance companies
will pay for expenses abroad,
but most require that the patient pay the bill first,
then file for reimbursement.
Hospitals and health care providers will expect payment
if you are not covered by the Spanish health care system.
The United States Embassy does not have funding
to help cover medical expenses of American citizens in Spain.
You may find it useful to look into the possibility
of obtaining a policy that specifically covers expenses
Places to check for both types of coverage include:
Your personal medical plan
Your credit card companies
The airlines you purchase your ticket from
Private travel insurance companies online
Here is an important link
to the American Embassy in Spain.
There, you will find information about travel in Spain
as well as important emergency telephone numbers
that will connect you with English speaking doctors
and other officials.
Please go there
and read the information.
You may want to jot down the web address
and important telephone numbers
for yourself and for your family.