Club Lindisima

A recent story in The New York Times discusses cases of illegal and (some) legal immigrants in the United States who have been deported, not by the USCIS, but by hospitals. When someone gets seriously ill, by law, the hospitals are required to treat a person. However, very soon the issue of who is going to pay the bills pops up. Since it is nearly impossible to pay the medical bills resulting from a serious injury, these hospitals have no choice but to get rid of these patients.

I can understand why hospitals would dump these patients knowing fully well that they will die once they stop getting the medical care available in an American hospital. Indeed, there is a humanitarian argument to be made, but other than that it is important to understand that hospitals or the US Government have no obligation to treat a foreigner, especially illegal. I recall that when I took a trip to Paris recently, the French insisted that for my 10 day trip, I buy tourist travel insurance in order to get my visa. Remember that I have full health insurance in the US and always carry it with me. I also have credit cards that cover me when I travel.

So what can you do to make sure that unexpected emergencies do not end your or a family member's life?

1. Try to find if you can get some kind of health insurance. It is better to have some coverage, however minimal, than no coverage.
2. Stay healthy by eating right and exercising regularly.
3. Save for medical emergencies.
4. If you are not a US citizen, try to have a plan of action for a medical emergency. Who will bring you to your native country and how? How will it be paid for? What hospitals to go to? Trust me, you may be able to get cheaper medical care in your native country.

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