What saved our bacon was our membership in ExPats in Vallarta – the largest and most helpful community of snowbirds and expats in town. Whenever we ran into a speed bump or a “tope” as they are known hereabouts, an expat was there to offer assistance in the spirit of: We are all in this together!
Another bacon-saver is Pam Thompson. She not only fixed us up with a local doctor, but she also encouraged us to help others with international health insurance and emergency medical evacuation services through our website www.PV-Health.com.
We know that we are all in this together so, when someone asked me a question that was not covered by my experience in international health insurance and medevac, I gave her advice gleaned from living the expat lifestyle – another expat’s experience being the best source of reliable information!
She wanted to know who would speak for her if she was incapacitated and unable to speak for herself in a medical emergency in Mexico.
To answer her question, I did something that YOU MUST BE ABLE TO DO: I reached into my wallet and pulled out my international In Case of Emergency card.
You can´t buy an international In Case of Emergency card, but you can make one in just a few minutes and, should you end up in a Mexican emergency room where they don’t speak your language or have access to your medical records, it could make a very big difference for you!
Creating your international In Case of Emergency card is a three-step process.
Step One: Scan your passport´s signature and photo page. Then shrink it when you print it to 4 ¾¨ tall by 3 ½¨ wide. (That´s 12 cm tall by 9 cm wide in Canadian.)
Step Two: Create a separate document titled, En Caso de Emergencia / In Case of Emergency (Using red ink for the title can´t hurt).
On this document, you will identify yourself, your health history and your emergency contacts.
The following is a template for the card, You can complete your card by replacing the information I have in black with your personal information:
En Caso de Emergencia/In Case of Emergency
Your name as it appears on your passport (ex. Jack Snowbird)
Edad/Age: (ex. 66)
Reacciones o condiciones pre-existentes:
List any preexisting conditions, current medications (scientific name and dosage), and allergies (ex. diabetes, asthma, heart conditions, and cancer, drug reactions and allergies to food, medication, latex, penicillin, bee stings, etc.).
En Caso de Emergencia:
Who should be contacted
Karla Ann Snowbird
MX Land: 322-221-5128
MX Cel.: 044/322-172-0599
(ex. Your Local Doctor:
Dr. Antonio Matilla, Amerimed Hospital
044 322 205 7268
(ex. Your Next of Kin back home
Jerry & Mary Ann Snowbird
(ex. Your international health insurance ID)
Seguro/Insurance: Patriot PATII80961312
EE.UU.: 001.317.655.4500 1.800.628.4664
(ex. U.S. Consulate Puerto Vallarta)
(ex. Canadian Consulate Puerto Vallarta)
(322) 293-0098 & 293-0099
Fax: (322) 293-2894
Step Three: Shrink your page to fit on the back of the copy of your passport signature and photo page when you print it and tape the pages together. Fold them so they fit in your wallet with the title En Caso de Emergencia / In Case of Emergency sticks up a little above the facing page so first-responders will see it.
Depending on the computer, scanner and printer you are using, creating your international In Case of Emergency card will take a few minutes or a few aspirin. In any case, it is worth the effort! If you need help, call me (USA: 949-720-1664 or MX: 322-221-5128).
For example, with few exceptions:
Doctors here don’t keep your medical records – you must!
Doctors here didn´t learn English as their first language. Use your international In Case of Emergency card to help them spell your name correctly and learn your health history!
Doctors here won’t give you a receipt unless you ask for one.
Doctors here won’t accept insurance for payment. They expect to be paid in cash.
Hospitals here will accept your international health insurance for payment provided you get a Guarantee of Payment from your insurance provider. You or someone speaking on your behalf will need to contact your insurance provider to get this done.
If you don’t have a local doctor, contact Pamela Thompson and get one before you need one!
If you don´t have international health insurance and emergency medical evacuation protection, contact Mike Altman at www.PV-Health.com
Tel: USA: 949-720-1664
Be sure to register with your consular agent. They can assist in locating appropriate medical services and communication with your family or friends back home. If necessary, a consular officer can also assist in the international transfer of funds to pay for your care and, in the worst case, repatriating your mortal remains.
Most importantly remember: We are all in this together!