It's important to make sure you have the correct travel and health insurance before any holiday, particularly an adventurous one, so James Rushforth, author of Ski Touring and Snowshoeing in the Dolomites, shares this advice.
UK citizens currently have reciprocal healthcare rights in Italy thanks to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme, formerly known as E111. The card is free of charge for UK citizens and can be applied for online. It is worth carrying this with you at all time as depending on the hospital and type of treatment, simply showing the card may be enough to ensure free treatment, although sometimes you may be required to pay upfront before claiming the costs back through the EHIC system. Private clinics will almost always charge for treatment and this is not always covered under the EHIC scheme.
Most of the towns and villages in the Dolomites have a small health centre which can deal with minor injuries and illness. Some of these have X-ray facilities and will otherwise be able to advise which hospital to go to. These may be the state-governed red cross or the regional white/green cross variants. There are numerous pharmacies (farmacia/apotheke) that can process prescriptions, but most prescribed medicines must be paid for.
In addition to the EHIC, personal travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover rescue, medical and repatriation costs in the event of an accident. The BMC offer excellent insurance packages: www.thebmc.co.uk/insurance. If you choose to use an alternative insurer, be sure to check that off-piste mountainous activities such as ski touring and snowshoeing are covered as these are usually excluded from standard snowsports packages.
Visiting the Dolomites?
Cicerone has a wide range of guidebooks to different areas of the Dolomites, including:
Ski Touring and Snowshoeing in the Dolomites
Walking in the Dolomites
Trekking in the Dolomites
Shorter walks in the Dolomites