Health concerns are minimal in the Cayman Islands, and Grand Cayman offers some of the Caribbean's finest medical facilities. Though there have been isolated cases of dengue fever (one or two annually, contracted elsewhere), the last on-island outbreak was in 2005. Airlift to Miami for serious emergencies is available. Physicians are highly qualified and speak English. Be sure to pack prescription medications; consider wearing a MedicAlert ID tag if you suffer from such chronic conditions as diabetes, epilepsy, or heart disease. Though many hospitals offer reciprocity with U.S. insurers, you can also purchase medical-only insurance. Tap water is perfectly safe to drink throughout all three islands. Be sure to wash fruit thoroughly or, better yet, peel it before eating. The subtropic sun can be fierce, especially at midday. Be sure to wear sunglasses and a hat, and use high-SPF sunscreen (most U.S. brands are available). Beware of dehydration and heat stroke; take it easy the first couple of days. Insects can be a real nuisance during the wet season (July–November); bring along repellent to ward off mosquitoes and sand flies. Shops also stock numerous name brands.
Medical Insurance and Assistance
Consider buying trip insurance with medical-only coverage. Neither Medicare nor some private insurers cover medical expenses anywhere outside the United States. Medical-only policies typically reimburse you for medical care (excluding that related to preexisting conditions) and hospitalization abroad and provide for evacuation. You still have to pay the bills and await reimbursement from the insurer, though.
Another option is to sign up with a medical-evacuation assistance company. A membership in one of these companies gets you doctor referrals, emergency evacuation or repatriation, 24-hour hotlines for medical consultation, and other assistance. International SOS Assistance Emergency and AirMed International provide evacuation services and medical referrals. MedjetAssist offers medical evacuation.
Medical Assistance Companies
AirMed International. www.airmed.com.
International SOS Assistance Emergency. www.internationalsos.com.
National Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. National Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 877/394–8747; www.cdc.gov/travel.
World Health Organization. www.who.int.
International Medical Group. 800/628–4664; www.imglobal.com.
International SOS. www.internationalsos.com.
Wallach and Company. 800/237–6615; 540/687–3166; www.wallach.com.