Eli Orzessek finds the answers to your travel questions.

I have to travel to Texas in December for work, but I have recently been scheduled for a hysterectomy in the public health system at the end of October. This means I'll have to fly around two-and-a-half months after surgery. My surgery is laparoscopic so I should be fully recovered at that point, but the thought of being in the United States — away from our public health system — so soon after having surgery makes me nervous. I have visions of complication coming up and languishing in a hospital room while the bills pile up. Do you think I will be able to get insurance for such a recent surgery?

I can understand your concerns — getting caught up in the US medical system can leave you with some extremely hefty bills, which would definitely ruin any trip. And after the tragic passing of New Zealander Abby Hartley in Bali recently, Kiwi travellers are definitely becoming more aware of the need to properly disclose any pre-existing conditions.

I'll assume your work is providing some basic travel insurance, so the first thing to do would be to get your hands on that policy and study it carefully. You'll still need to disclose your surgery, whether you arrange your own insurance or use your work's.


For what it's worth, I have also travelled a few months after having abdominal surgery — I had to answer a few questions about the nature of it and was charged an extra $99 for pre-existing coverage. Definitely worth it for piece of mind.

My contact Natalie Ball, director of Comparetravelinsurance.co.nz says a number of brands, including Travelinsurance.co.nz, 1Cover, and Columbus Direct have introduced online medical assessment tools which assess an incredibly broad range of conditions instantly — so that's a good place to start.

"All three brands cover travellers who have experienced hysterectomy due to a range of circumstances. You answer a few questions about your specific condition, and they'll be able to tell you if they can cover your condition, and if there is any increase to your premium.

"Cover may vary depending on the reason for the hysterectomy and whether it is related to any other future or recent treatment. For example, if you are currently fighting cancer and require ongoing chemotherapy, you may find it more difficult to find coverage.

"Alternatively, insurers may give you a medical form to take to your doctor, which can help your insurer assess whether you're fit to travel and whether they can cover you."

Readers respond
On last week's question about solo travel, Anne writes: "Your reader inquiring about solo cruise and rail travel might be interested in joining a Facebook cruise group such as P&O Australia Cruise group or NZ Cruiseaholics. People travelling solo will sometimes ask if anyone else wants to share a cabin."

This could be a good way to find a like-minded travelling companion and save some money on that single supplement.

Email your questions to askaway@nzherald.co.nz
Eli cannot answer all questions and can't correspond with readers.
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