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••• The International Writers Magazine - 22 Years on-line - Healthcare & Creatives

Improving Healthcare Accessibility for Digital Nomads
• Indiana Lee
Having sufficient healthcare coverage is no longer a choice for Americans. If you don’t acquire health insurance, you may face significant financial penalties come tax time.

Pixabay Medic

It’s difficult enough trying to find coverage that caters to all of our right-now needs and future health goals when residing in the country. But what about those that travel full time or work primarily in different parts of the world?

When it comes to healthcare, many digital nomads are wary about sharing their personal information with providers across the globe because large-scale security breaches have exposed the private information of millions. Trying to rectify a situation like this in a different country can deter anyone from seeking healthcare at all while abroad.

World travelers and digital nomads alike are finding comfort in the technological advancements that help protect patient privacy, offer better access to healthcare, and provide varied options for ensuring their health and wellness are prioritized. 

Let’s discuss key changes in healthcare that matter to digital nomads and why it's so important for freelance and nomadic workers to have easy access to medical care. We’ll then leave you with a few actionable tips to implement if you’re currently seeking healthcare coverage.

Changes in Healthcare That Matter to Digital Nomads

Digital technology advancements are facilitating video interfacing, telehealth practices, and prescription delivery services for nomadic workers. Providers offering medical services on digital platforms are able to positively influence healthcare accessibility. This eases the nerves of nomadic workers unable to secure traditional healthcare coverage and services. 

Healthcare technologies offering virtual reality experiences are increasing in use as well. Virtual glasses pairing — in which the user “tries on” a pair of glasses — offers patients a chance to choose the right lenses from the comfort of their own home. VR technology can be vital to being able to work efficiently all over the world because it eliminates the need to be physically present in an office.

Changes in healthcare that matter to digital nomads also include:

  1. Pay-per-visit services/apps
  2. Online prescriptions or medical device delivery services
  3. The option for online or phone visits
  4. Telehealth services that allow you to see a provider that day and get prescriptions
  5. Apps to help you find providers wherever you’re located
  6. The use of artificial intelligence to mine data and design individual treatment and therapy plans
  7. Healthcare trackers, wearables, and sensors for things like blood sugar checks, birth control, monitoring oxygen levels or heart rate, fine-tuning workout routines, or tracking sleep

The future of healthcare remains rooted in the advancement of technology. Patients will continue using these digital services and tools as healthcare workers embrace emerging healthcare technologies. Healthcare services, facilities, and coverage options will need to expand to further include the needs of digital nomads and freelance workers by offering options specific to their lifestyle, health, and wellness goals.

Why Easy Access to Healthcare Is Important for Digital Nomads

When traditional health insurance isn’t an option, digital nomads still need access to quality healthcare in any capacity. No matter where you are, you’re susceptible to illness, accidents, and other health incidents that require professional medical care. Travel shouldn’t restrict you from access to healthcare.

Easy access to healthcare is so important for digital nomads because:

  1. Illnesses and diseases can vary from country to country, so in the case you fall victim to one, you need to be able to get medical attention quickly
  2. You aren’t in one place all of the time, so you need flexible options for healthcare
  3. Quality healthcare is scarce in certain countries, so having adequate coverage can help the process by granting you access to better facilities and medical professionals

Access to quality healthcare wherever you are should be standard, not a luxury.

Actionable Tips for Digital Nomads Seeking Healthcare

Are you a freelancer or digital nomad seeking healthcare coverage right now? Here are four tips for securing the coverage you need and using it responsibly:

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is very different from health insurance in that it’s meant for your average tourist. You can get travel insurance if, for example, you’re concerned about natural disasters likely to hit the area you’re visiting.

Travel insurance can be quite expensive and does not offer the extent of coverage that regular health insurance does. But it may be a good option to start with to have something in place should an emergency arise.

See if you’re home country health insurance has international travel coverage

If you have health insurance in your home country, see if it covers you while you’re abroad. Depending on where you’re headed, some private insurance plans, as well as government healthcare plans, provide international health care coverage.

Use medical care-related apps like Teladoc

With the advancement of technology seeping into the healthcare industry, it could be a good idea to see if medical care-related apps are accessible in other countries as well. Apps like Teladoc and Doctor on Demand offer same-day medical appointments and options for payment if you don’t have health insurance.

They can also get you same-day prescriptions pick-ups or delivery to your door. Look into apps like Better Help or Talkspace to care for mental health and wellness. If you do need to see a doctor in-person, the professionals on these apps can offer resources and point you in the right direction.

Research healthcare insurance options available to you in your current country

One of the best options for healthcare coverage is to research insurance options available to you in the country you’re residing in. Use the internet to sift through options or get on the phone with an insurance professional and narrow down your options to ensure you get the healthcare you need.

In addition to the above, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to maintain lifestyle habits that contribute to good health and mental wellness. Implement a regular workout routine, employ journaling to keep track of your emotional health, and stay connected to others even if virtually.

Improving healthcare accessibility for digital nomads will take time. It’s best to be proactive about your healthcare coverage by thoroughly researching all of the options available to you, being mindful of healthcare trends that could affect your digital nomad lifestyle, and implementing any lifestyle behaviors that contribute to a healthy physical and mental well-being.

Indiana Lee © Indiana Lee 3.09.21

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