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Health insurance for international cruises


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My husband and I (75 and 71) are planning on taking a South Pacific cruise next year from LA to Sydney. We are US citizens with Medicare and supplementary insurance.  I understand this only covers medical expenses in the US. Should we purchase any extra insurance, and if so, are there any recommendations? We usually purchase a Medjet policy but that only covers an evacuation, not necessarily medical expenses in a different country. Thank you.

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Posted (edited)

Our in country medical costs are covered.

 

We never travel outside the country without having out of country medical coverage.   Our coverage includes evac.  In our late 60's and in good health today.  Who knows about tomorrow?

 

A very experienced TA advised us years ago not to buy the insurance from a TA, travel vendor,  a bank, an auto club.  We found this to be true....the coverage is typically less and the premium more costly.  At least where we live...in Canada.

 

Edited by iancal
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I have to agree with Iancal. We, too, never travel out of the US without comprehensive travel insurance (medical, evacuation, missed connection, etc.). We have had to use it a number of times – never for the reason we thought (e.g., heart attack requiring surgery in Argentina, altitude sickness in Tibet, arriving in Spain but our luggage had not yet departed the US, etc.).

 

I had 44 years in the insurance industry before retiring, so I probably pay more attention to policy terms than most people, and I therefore never had a problem getting full coverage - and assistance. People have had problems, with the same company we use, because the insurance company strictly adhered to the policy terms. (But, as I said, I read the terms when I receive the policy and never had a problem – and if I read something that I questioned I immediately called to get clarification.) I also kept records and receipts at least until we arrived back home.

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On 3/27/2021 at 6:58 PM, Wavelet said:

My husband and I (75 and 71) are planning on taking a South Pacific cruise next year from LA to Sydney. We are US citizens with Medicare and supplementary insurance.  I understand this only covers medical expenses in the US. Should we purchase any extra insurance, and if so, are there any recommendations? We usually purchase a Medjet policy but that only covers an evacuation, not necessarily medical expenses in a different country. Thank you.

 

We would NEVER travel outside the USA without travel insurance, for several reasons.

One of them is obviously paying for medical care.

 

Here is a link to the CC Travel Insurance sub-forum:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/499-cruisetravel-insurance/

 

We also strongly recommend www.TripInsuranceStore.com

The owner, Steve, is incredibly helpful finding the "right" policy for your trip and your particular needs or concerns.

(There is no extra cost to the traveler; the insurers pay the commissions.)

 

We've purchased quite a few policies through them, including from Travel Insured.

Importantly (and unfortunately), we've had several claims, two of them relatively large.  All were paid promptly.  The one time there was a bit of a delay, it was understandable, because of loads of claims due to hurricanes, even though our claim had nothing to do with that.   Anyway, Steve helped get our claim processed in a timely fashion.

 

We also very strongly suggest that you call  and NOT rely only on the online summaries.  The fine print REALLY matters here (and probably just about everywhere else, too!).

 

GC

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/31/2021 at 3:10 PM, mort&fran said:

I have to agree with Iancal. We, too, never travel out of the US without comprehensive travel insurance (medical, evacuation, missed connection, etc.). We have had to use it a number of times – never for the reason we thought (e.g., heart attack requiring surgery in Argentina, altitude sickness in Tibet, arriving in Spain but our luggage had not yet departed the US, etc.).

 

I had 44 years in the insurance industry before retiring, so I probably pay more attention to policy terms than most people, and I therefore never had a problem getting full coverage - and assistance. People have had problems, with the same company we use, because the insurance company strictly adhered to the policy terms. (But, as I said, I read the terms when I receive the policy and never had a problem – and if I read something that I questioned I immediately called to get clarification.) I also kept records and receipts at least until we arrived back home.

Hi, who would you recommend for insurance? I will be sailing (hopefully) overseas in October

and if it is allowed, even sooner. After 44 years,  it sounds like you are probably very knowledgeable and would love to know what company you would recommend.🙂

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Before I answer your question I want to again state that I know people have had problems with the company from whom I purchase travel insurance. The company is Travel Guard; we hope to cruise again next year, and if we do we will be purchasing travel insurance from them. (Plus, I will review the policy terms before we go, and will keep all receipts and relevant records at least until we have unpacked at home after the cruise.)

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Medicare doesn't cover international expenses, but some of the supplemental policies do so you might want to check with your particular insurance. I generally get travel insurance anyway in order to cover other expenses that medical insurance wouldn't cover (e.g. extra costs due to having to rebook travel arrangements, medical support during the trip home, expenses for a companion; someone on a trip we took in China had the hip replacement fail and their travel insurance paid for first class airfare home because they needed the upgraded seat due to the joint failure). 

My Medicare Advantage provider, Kaiser, does cover emergency medical care outside the US. I used it when I broke my arm in Thailand. I put the medical bills for the several night hospital stay and operation on my credit card and submitted the expense when I got home. Everything was promptly refunded minus the same hospital copay I would have had for the care at home. I had travel insurance, but United was willing to rebook my flights without extra charge when I called them and told them about the accident so I ended up not needing the insurance for even that; possibly my frequent flyer status helped with that. 

 

I generally go to insuremytrip.com to find a suitable insurance policy. They have support (either chat or phone) if you are having trouble deciding on which policy best fits your needs. 

 

Even with trip insurance, you will generally have to pay the bills and get a refund from the insurer. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

As far as needing insurance you will have seen several different scenerios above.

Many advantange plans do provide some coverage when overseas.  If you have an advantage plan I would suggest finding out exactly what is covered.  Normally it only covers the medical needs.  Are you also going to want coverage for being delayed, baggage, spusal hotel expenses if one ends up in the hospital, travel cost if it needs to be changed. etc.  In other words - comprehensive coverage.

If you have a regular supplemental medicare plan then they will only cover $250 coverage for your lifetime.  Again you need to consider do you need comprehensive coverage.  Addintionally, if you have a regular supplemental medicare plan you need to consider if you want the international travel to be the primary insurance you need to specify that when bius.  It will be an upgrade charge but has never been that much for us.  If it is not primary you will have to submit everything to medicare and wait to have it declined.  Only after medicare and the suppplemental policy (minus the $250) has declined can you submit it to the international travel company.

 

You can go to some of the insurance brokers online - Insuremytrip.com or TripInsuranceStore.com and see what the various comprehensive policies cover.

 

If you decide you need to buy travel insurance I would second www.TripInsuranceStore.com .  I feel Steve does the best he possible can to find the correct policy for you based on your requirements.  He is willing to answer any questions you might have; including exactly what do you need to insure and what you don't need to insure..  He also has a number of blogs covering various subjects that you can access from the above mentioned website.

 

Stan

 

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Let’s be honest: In almost every instance people only buy insurance when they have to, and then only look at the price. In the case of travel insurance, though, you are looking to be protected from costs beyond what you are prepared to pay in the event of something you had not been expecting. So since it is a voluntary purchase, and since for what it will actually be needed is not known, price is only one consideration. At least as important is what the policy will cover, and how difficult will it be to deal with the company in the event the coverage is needed.

 

In one instance, we planned a cruise from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile. My mother-in-law was not well and I thought we might have to rush back, so I purchased the coverage. (NOTE: I made sure to read and comply with the policy’s requirement for the pre-existing exclusion waiver!) However, 5 days into the cruise I had a heart attack and the insurance covered the following costs: the medical care on board (that saved my life); 5 days in the ICU at a clinic in southern Argentina because ash clouds from a volcano in Chile had caused the suspension of all flights; my wife’s staying in a hotel for the 5 days; one-way business-class air for my wife and me back to Buenos Aires; heart surgery (successful, thankfully) in Buenos Aires; my wife and me spending 6 days in a hotel in Buenos Aires while I recuperated; one-way business-class air for my wife and me back home; reimbursement of our phone bills.

 

The following year we signed up for another cruise, and purchased travel insurance because of that prior experience. That cruise we had to cancel at the last moment because my wife needed surgery.

 

On another cruise, we made it to the departure port; however our luggage arrived a day late. (We intentionally arrived a couple days early to tour the city, so it was not a major loss.)

 

As far as I am aware, Medicare (even most Medicare Advantage plans) does not cover these expenses.

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Posted (edited)

We always travel with out of country medical/evac.

 

We do not buy cancellation insurance.  Only had to cancel once in 50 years.  DW had to have surgery.

 

As luck would have it we bought the China land trip on our premium credit card. It had trip cancellation insurance.  Submitted the claim and was paid out inside of fifteen business days-full amount of the claim.  Don't even know if there was a ceiling dollar limit  on the insurance.

 

Don't know about baggage insurance..  Since retiring nine years ago we have been traveling with carry on only.

 

Our card does have trip interruption insurance.  Not certain about the T's and C's, hope that we never have to look them up either.

Edited by iancal
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  • 3 weeks later...

I learned that when initially purchasing travel insurance (Travel Guard, in my case), I only had to pay up to the amount that had been paid to the cruise line.  To clarify, the total cost of my cruise is $25,000.00 and my deposit is $1800.00 so Travel Guard only billed me for the $1800.00 that was paid.  When I pay the balance owed to the cruise line I will then owe Travel Guard the rest of the insurance premium.  This is usually  not disclosed by the travel insurance company and if the cruise is canceled one cannot usually recoup the premium payment.

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On 6/3/2021 at 2:53 PM, peanut head said:

I learned that when initially purchasing travel insurance (Travel Guard, in my case), I only had to pay up to the amount that had been paid to the cruise line.  To clarify, the total cost of my cruise is $25,000.00 and my deposit is $1800.00 so Travel Guard only billed me for the $1800.00 that was paid.  When I pay the balance owed to the cruise line I will then owe Travel Guard the rest of the insurance premium.  This is usually  not disclosed by the travel insurance company and if the cruise is canceled one cannot usually recoup the premium payment.

Thank you for that post!

Also, note that for the pre-existing condition exclusion to be waived coverage must be purchased within 15 days of making the initial down payment, and every time thereafter that a payment is made for the trip (and not just to the cruise line) the coverage limit must be increased by that amount within 15 days.

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