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Why You Need Travel Medical Insurance

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

Here is an example why you must have travel medical insurance when you travel international. I read a news report regarding a family traveling on a cruise through the Caribbean. While on the ship, the father had a stroke and his heart stopped. CPR was performed and he regained his heartbeat. Once stabilized on the ship he was taken to a local hospital on the Caribbean Island of Curaçao for additional care.

The family became concerned with the quality care provided by the hospital and with the cost of the $10,000 hospital bill. Fortunately, they had Travel Medical Insurance. They contacted their traveler insurance company for assistance with transport back to the US and assistance with payment for the hospital bill. There was some delay because of the logistics but now they have everything corrected and the father is enroute back to Boston, MA to continue treatment. Click here for the Full Story. (Courtesy of Fox25News Boston)

We all can relate the anxiety the family had working with the insurance company and wanting things to move quickly; however, I understand the process that is involved. I’ve been involved in a few medical incidents while traveling internationally and had to work together with the insurance company to get the patient proper medical treatment and a safe return home.

There is a process, that goes on in the background to which I’ve been a part of in the past.

Here are some steps taken within the process:

  1. The insurance company must contact the hospital and verify the treatment provided and cost before they send the hospital guarantee of payment.

  2. The insurance company must coordinate with a local doctor to determine if the patient is stable to be transported.

  3. The insurance company must locate a local hospital in the US near the patient's home for the patient to be transported to and make sure the hospital has an available bed.

  4. The insurance company must coordinate a nurse or doctor to fly to meet the patient with medical equipment to return to the US.

  5. They must coordinate the flights and accommodations for the nurse or doctor, flights for the patient and family, ambulances, customs, proper medical equipment, and medications. (In one of the cases I had to handle we had to work around geo-political issues.)

The takeaway is that when you travel international, it is important to purchase the correct Travel Insurance to make sure all of the unexpected costs are covered. There are several different types of insurance to be aware of. They are medical coverage, trip cancellation/interruption coverage, and coverage for lost or stolen belongings. In this case, they were able to use the medical insurance. Hopefully you will never need to use it but can help you in what will be a very stressful time.

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