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Old July 26th, 2014, 09:36 AM
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Default $500,000 med bill - good reason for travel insurance

Today program broadcast a segment about a couple who almost had a med bill for $500,000 to pay for injuries incurred on vacation in Mexico.

Of course the standard warning is to make sure your insurance in in effect especially in the face of what has happened this passed week concerning Obamacare.
Personally, I go the extra step of buyng travel insurance in addition to my regular insurance.
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Old July 26th, 2014, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bonnyprincecharlie View Post
Today program broadcast a segment about a couple who almost had a med bill for $500,000 to pay for injuries incurred on vacation in Mexico.

Of course the standard warning is to make sure your insurance in in effect especially in the face of what has happened this passed week concerning Obamacare.
Personally, I go the extra step of buyng travel insurance in addition to my regular insurance.
Your normal cruiser, even one that gets injured, does not face this kind of bill. Not saying the possibility isn't there, but it's rather minuscule.
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Old July 26th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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Yes, chances are you'll never need the travel insurance. But it's like I always say, you hope it's a waste of your money because if you need it, it's usually not for a good reason. But if you need it, you're damn glad you've got it.

To me, it's always been worth the price just to be on the safe side. We've been lucky because in our 47 cruises, we've only needed it twice. Once was no big deal, but the other time we would have lost alot of money! Just a couple of hours before flying to Europe for two weeks, including a 7-night river cruise, our son developed chest pains and had to rush him to the hospital. Fortunately, it was nothing really serious, but it did have to have his gallbladder removed. Needless to say, we had to cancel everything at the last minute resulting in no refunds whatsoever. The travel insurance paid for everything and we were not out of pocket any money, except of course the cost of the insurance.

I did have a friend of mine who is also an agent and her client had the worse case scenario occur. Two seniors on a Panama Canal cruise and the husband had a heart attack. They had to fly him to a hospital, where he remained in a coma for a week before passing away. The insurance company helped with everything and covered all costs that amounted to well over $100,000.

Doesn't happen often, but it's better to be safe than sorry. On average, we process about 3 claims for our clients every year and the reasons vary, but everyone of them will tell you they were really glad they had the insurance and would never travel again without it. In fact, one of the things I hear most often is when they tell me if anyone is thinking of not purchasing the insurance that I should have them call my client and they'll convince them it's worth the investment.

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Old July 26th, 2014, 05:37 PM
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Exactly....you purchase the travel insurance hoping you will not need it...On the other hand, look what happens if you try to save a few bucks and then need it....I will not travel, land or cruise without having it, you just don't want to be handed that kind of bill... Now, usually your regular insurance will cover the medical costs and you file a claim with them first, and anything they don't cover should be paid by your travel insurance.


Another note, be sure to keep all paperwork, for everything, you will need it for both claims, include any payments you may make. Keep in mind as well, if getting treated on an island or on ship, they require full payment before you leave.....Get travel insurance and have peace of mind...
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Old July 26th, 2014, 09:10 PM
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Exactly....you purchase the travel insurance hoping you will not need it...On the other hand, look what happens if you try to save a few bucks and then need it....I will not travel, land or cruise without having it, you just don't want to be handed that kind of bill... Now, usually your regular insurance will cover the medical costs and you file a claim with them first, and anything they don't cover should be paid by your travel insurance.


Another note, be sure to keep all paperwork, for everything, you will need it for both claims, include any payments you may make. Keep in mind as well, if getting treated on an island or on ship, they require full payment before you leave.....Get travel insurance and have peace of mind...
Well, sometimes your insurance will not cover you outside the US. Medicare will not, but it seems very few seniors are aware of this fact. And another thing to keep in mind is that a hospital half a world away from your home and insurance company wants their money up front, or before you go home. They are taking no chances. You best be prepared to pay by credit card and hope insurance reimburses you later.

One thing I am curious about, if anyone knows, is whether Travel Insurance is any more easily accepted by foreign hospitals and doctors. It would take my Blue Cross/Shield months to review the claim and make any payment. Does the Travel Insurance work any faster?

And one thing we often do is to upgrade our travel policy so that they pay primary before any other insurance. It does not cost much to do this.
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Old July 26th, 2014, 11:14 PM
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Travel insurance is a secondary reimbursement coverage, meaning you first have to claim with your primary health insurer. Then anything not paid by the primary insurer would be reimbursed by the travel insurance after the fact.

Keep in mind that when in a foreign country, no matter what type of health insurance you have, you may have to pay for it upfront and then claim for reimbursement from your primary health insurance company first, followed by the travel insurance company. Hospitals in some foreign countries don't work directly with U.S. health insurance companies like they do here.

It's best to talk to you primary care health insurance company before departure to find out how best to handle any health emergencies should they arise since each company is different.

But the important thing to remember is that you have to submit a claim to travel insurance company after the fact and they will reimburse you for any covered out-of-pocket expenses.

Pete
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Old July 27th, 2014, 11:30 AM
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Travel insurance is a secondary reimbursement coverage, meaning you first have to claim with your primary health insurer. Then anything not paid by the primary insurer would be reimbursed by the travel insurance after the fact.

Keep in mind that when in a foreign country, no matter what type of health insurance you have, you may have to pay for it upfront and then claim for reimbursement from your primary health insurance company first, followed by the travel insurance company. Hospitals in some foreign countries don't work directly with U.S. health insurance companies like they do here.

It's best to talk to you primary care health insurance company before departure to find out how best to handle any health emergencies should they arise since each company is different.

But the important thing to remember is that you have to submit a claim to travel insurance company after the fact and they will reimburse you for any covered out-of-pocket expenses.

Pete
It is possible to upgrade your Travel insurance to Primary. I remember doing this once for a trip. But, I don't know if it really makes any difference who pays first. You still have the hassle of the claims process.

But, I can just imagine the nightmare process of getting a claim approved with our regular insurance for something that happened in Belize! I have a hunch the foreign medical providers probably work with the big Travel Insurance companies often ( and of course, the travel company would not freak out over a claim from Belize ) and it might go a little more smoothly. But who knows, until you actually get in that situation. I hope I never have to find out.
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Old July 27th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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There are some insurances that are "primary" but they come with an added cost. Usually 50% to 100% more. Medical Insurance is the main culprit.

Until a few years ago I would obtain Primary Medical Insurance but a good friend of ours, who has had health problems, told us that once your claim is rejected by your own insurance, send it to the travel insurance and they will pay. This also depends on what travel insurance provider you use. Some are pains in the rear. He uses Alianz and our agent also uses them and I use them for our non-cruise travel.

The one thing to note is that you may be required to pay up front in some countries. A high limit credit card is a good idea. Some travel insurance will guarantee the cost with the provider and others do not. Some insurances will "float" a loan to cover the cost but will charge you interest, usually quite high, when the claim is settled. They will pay the bill but you pay them the interest.

Also, don't think things will be settled in days or a couple of weeks. I know people who have used "good" insurance and the whole process took months before final payment/reimbursements were made.

Take care,
Mike
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Old July 27th, 2014, 02:45 PM
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Yep, like Mike said!

We have a contract with Allianz for a policy that is only available through our company that is better than the average policy. We like Allianz, but the most important thing is that our clients like Allianz for their customer service. Obviously, that's extremely crucial for us.

But Mike hit the nail on the head. Each health insurance company is different on how they handle out-of-country claims, so there's no simple answer to the question. Bottom line is to check with your company and see what the particulars are should you have a medical emergency and then decide accordingly what to do. Keep in mind that you also need to discuss with them what constitutes a 'medical emergency' and what items may or may not be covered.

This is why the subject of travel insurance becomes very complicated very quickly because everyone's situation is different. It's so very important to discuss this subject with your agent and decide what's best for you.

Pete
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Old July 27th, 2014, 06:47 PM
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Good point Mike,
It does take a fairly long time, certainly far from instant...
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