My wife and I have taken 38 cruises to date. Until last year, we had never seen the inside of the ships infirmary but, last year on the Celebrity Infiniti, my wife had to get treated for an upper respiratory infection and, this year on the Sea Princess, I was treated for a non-seasick digestive tract upset. We had trip insurance on each cruise that was provided by the cruise line. We learned that this is not primary insurance but is secondary to your own medical insurance and that Medicare does NOT cover medical expenses incurred on a foreign flagged ship. The travel insurance company nevertheless requires that you get a written denial from Medicare and submit that together with the payment explanation from your other medical carrier before paying you whatever their policy provides. It is a hassle that is avoidable simply by purchasing trip insurance which is primary and, although the cost is greater than for the secondary insurance, the elimination of the hassles which inevitably occur
when dealing with three medical insurers makes it worth the difference.
So, when obtaining insurance for your cruise, always ask whether it is primary or secondary coverage.
A major online site, that gives quotes on different travel insurance policies, will list if the coverage is primary or secondary by highlighting it in yellow or gray. Pay attention when purchasing this coverage.
If the coverage is secondary it does not mean the insurance company will not pay but it does mean it will take longer for you to receive full reimbursement of your expenses and you will have more paper work because you will have to file claims with your primary insurance company and your travel insurance company.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
judgepb and mike---you both are 100% correct and anyone thinking about insurance might want to review. We have purchased the insurance Mike mentioned in his reply. The internet site lets you look at dozens of policies and then tailor the coverages to your needs, We find the price to be reasonable and we too have the "three insurances" we have to consider. We still talk with people that don't understand the difference between primary" and "secondary" and even after we explain that , they don't seem to want to accept. At times seems like you are paying for excessive coveage but when something really big happens and you have that coverage the feeling is great at that time knowing you've got some financial relief.
We've had to use our travel insurance twice...won't go on even a short seven day cruise without it! Cruise ship medical care is not just a trip to your local doctor's office. It's expensive!
BTW: Just met a man in the doctor's office last week who was in a cast up to his thigh...he had fallen at the very start of his Princesses cruise and broke his leg. He said he had to be airlifted off the ship and then flown home first class. O.K. doesn't all of that sound expensive? YUP!
Lesson learned....don't cruise without 'cruise/travel' insurance....ever!
Also remember that not all travel insurance covers pre-existing conditions. Most travel insurance requires you to purchase w/i a short (7-10 days usually) time of initial booking in order to get pre-existing condition covered. I was recently diagnosed with a heart condition. I made sure mine covers pre-existing. Please check with your travel agent or directly with the carrier. It's more expensive but well worth it if you have anything that could present a problem.
I have both private insurance and Medicare because I am physically disabled. My mom is 65, so she got Medicare in October on top of the private insurance. The big question: "Will my private insurance cover me when I am in the Bahamas?" If not, I will get cruise insurance from Carnival.