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How much medical and evacuation is enough?


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We’re considering buying an annual plan instead of individual policies. We have three cruises (all 7 days or less) scheduled in the next 12 months. My major fear for expenses is medical, as opposed to trip cancellation. Nationwide offers an annual policy for $79 that has $20K emergency medical and $250K medical evacuation. This seems like a pretty good deal for something I hope we never use, but are those limits too low?

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My opinion only

$20K medical is too low. Is that per person per year? or per person per event? Is that Primary or Secondary?

 

I say too low because if you remember the couple from Atlanta who got stranded in Cozumel,,, his medical episode was an issue with Diabetes. They were stranded over a $14K bill. My wife got injured in Cancun recently. ER visit, x-rays, stitches came to $3600. 

$20K is going to get eaten up fast.

 

The policies I purchase are $100K medical and $1M evac.

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Posted (edited)

The $20K is per person/per event and it’s secondary. Not surprising considering the low cost.
 

Of the three cruises we have planned we only paid for one of them. The other two are casino cruises and we’re driving to one so the only thing we would lose is airfare for two of the three. I point that out to say that paying extra for traditional trip insurance doesn’t really make sense other than to recover airfare, so medical is the most important.

 

I wonder about buying the cheap Nationwide policy and then also getting separate trip insurance? Can you file claims with the second company once you exceed the limit of the first, or is it legally problematic to “doubly insure” yourself?

Edited by Elkins45
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With secondary coverage, you’ll have to file with your standard insurance first. The secondary will cover out-of-pocket or deductible costs left over. I don’t know how it works with yet another policy in addition to those two.

 

If you are thinking about getting trip insurance, which I take to mean a comprehensive plan that covers both medical and cancellation, just because of air fare consider that it may be difficult to collect on that. Most airlines issue vouchers for cancelled air, and the insurance company considers it to be compensation. No claim.

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Many years in the insurance world (for the government) gives me some strong views on the OP's question.  One can certainly debate what is acceptable minimum medical coverage but IMHO $100,000 is a reasonable minimum.  The only reason I would accept less than $100,000 of medical coverage is if there was no reasonable option (this can sometimes happen to seniors beyond a certain age.   As to $20,000 the OP should understand that while that will cover most minor medical issues, a major medical problem (major trauma, stroke, heart, etc) can easily run up $20,000 in bills within a couple of days of hospitalization.  A good friend of mine would say that $20,000 is better then zero, $50,000 is better then $20,000, etc.  

 

As to Nationwide I am not a big fan of secondary policies (for International Travel).  In practice this probably means you will have to pay all of your foreign medical bills out of pocked and then seek reimbursement from your primary insurer.  Assuming your primary will not cover all or part of the claim you would then need to submit to the secondary (Nationwide) unless your primary plan is helpful and handled the claims coordination.  This can all take months which might be a problem if you are out of pocket for 10s of thousands of dollars.

 

One other issue I saw in the general Nationwide language under exclusions:

"being under the influence of drugs or intoxicants, unless prescribed and used in accordance with the instructions provided by a Physician;"

 

A lifetime in the insurance world makes me cynical and one could interpret that clause to mean that if you get drunk, and fall down the stairs and break your back the insurer could ( I emphasize "could") argue that you were under the influence of an intoxicant and deny coverage.  I doubt if Nationwide would do this, but the clause would cause me enough concern to ask some questions.

 

Hank

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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

Many years in the insurance world (for the government) gives me some strong views on the OP's question.  One can certainly debate what is acceptable minimum medical coverage but IMHO $100,000 is a reasonable minimum.  The only reason I would accept less than $100,000 of medical coverage is if there was no reasonable option (this can sometimes happen to seniors beyond a certain age.   As to $20,000 the OP should understand that while that will cover most minor medical issues, a major medical problem (major trauma, stroke, heart, etc) can easily run up $20,000 in bills within a couple of days of hospitalization.  A good friend of mine would say that $20,000 is better then zero, $50,000 is better then $20,000, etc.  

 

As to Nationwide I am not a big fan of secondary policies (for International Travel).  In practice this probably means you will have to pay all of your foreign medical bills out of pocked and then seek reimbursement from your primary insurer.  Assuming your primary will not cover all or part of the claim you would then need to submit to the secondary (Nationwide) unless your primary plan is helpful and handled the claims coordination.  This can all take months which might be a problem if you are out of pocket for 10s of thousands of dollars.

 

One other issue I saw in the general Nationwide language under exclusions:

"being under the influence of drugs or intoxicants, unless prescribed and used in accordance with the instructions provided by a Physician;"

 

A lifetime in the insurance world makes me cynical and one could interpret that clause to mean that if you get drunk, and fall down the stairs and break your back the insurer could ( I emphasize "could") argue that you were under the influence of an intoxicant and deny coverage.  I doubt if Nationwide would do this, but the clause would cause me enough concern to ask some questions.

 

Hank


The “falling down the stairs” example is exactly what happened to a cruiser on Viking. I can’t point to the specific place I read it, but I think I was looking at reviews of Viking’s insurance. It is administered by TripMate.The point of contention, as you might guess, was how much the claimant had to drink. Unfortunately, I don’t remember all of the details, but the claim was denied. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm looking into annual plans as well but don't even know where to start. We are both over 65, US citizens living overseas. I dread trying to find enough insurance to cover us IN the US where we only have Medicare Part A (hospitalization).

I agree that $100K would be the minimum I would look for but we are sometimes unable to find any insurance for ANY price. I just want the medical coverage. If my $20K vacation goes belly up, we won't be bankrupt. Any uninsured medical bill may do that though.

Any suggestions? 

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3 hours ago, Gail & Marty sailing away said:

Try Med Jet and G O Blue

Keep in mind that GeoBlue does include plenty of evacuation coverage ($500,000).  While Medjetassist does certainly offer some advantages one should evaluate whether it is worth the extra money.  

 

By the way, there is some benefit to having evacuation insurance coverage provided by the same policy that provides the medical coverage.  It gives the policyholder (patient) some leverage when dealing with the insurance company in terms of evacuation.  So, for example, when DW needed evacuation from Japan to the USA (quite expensive) the insurance company could have made the case that DW did not satisfy the terms of the policy because, at the time, she was technically not an impatient in an acute care facility (a normal requirement of even Medjetassist).  But if the insurance company had denied the evacuation the alternative could have meant weeks in Japan (in and out of the hospital) with huge medical bills.  So it was in the best interests of both the insurance company and the patient to get her evacuated back to the USA (which then got the travel insurance off the hook).  Insurance companies can often be quite reasonable/flexible  when it is financially in their own best interests.  It also helped that the ship''s physician told the insurance carrier that if they wanted the patient to be an inpatient he could quickly arrange for that to happen :).

et the insurance company involved (they will open a case file) as early as possible in the scheme of things.  They can then participate in the actual "case management" which may lead to medical evacuation.  In order to get medical evacuation the insurance company must be involved in the decision making so  (as a general rule) the earlier they are involved and the more then understand the case the better for everyone involved.

 

Hank

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40 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Keep in mind that GeoBlue does include plenty of evacuation coverage ($500,000).  While Medjetassist does certainly offer some advantages one should evaluate whether it is worth the extra money.  

 

By the way, there is some benefit to having evacuation insurance coverage provided by the same policy that provides the medical coverage.  It gives the policyholder (patient) some leverage when dealing with the insurance company in terms of evacuation.  So, for example, when DW needed evacuation from Japan to the USA (quite expensive) the insurance company could have made the case that DW did not satisfy the terms of the policy because, at the time, she was technically not an impatient in an acute care facility (a normal requirement of even Medjetassist).  But if the insurance company had denied the evacuation the alternative could have meant weeks in Japan (in and out of the hospital) with huge medical bills.  So it was in the best interests of both the insurance company and the patient to get her evacuated back to the USA (which then got the travel insurance off the hook).  Insurance companies can often be quite reasonable/flexible  when it is financially in their own best interests.  It also helped that the ship''s physician told the insurance carrier that if they wanted the patient to be an inpatient he could quickly arrange for that to happen :).

et the insurance company involved (they will open a case file) as early as possible in the scheme of things.  They can then participate in the actual "case management" which may lead to medical evacuation.  In order to get medical evacuation the insurance company must be involved in the decision making so  (as a general rule) the earlier they are involved and the more then understand the case the better for everyone involved.

 

Hank

Med Jet takes you and your Matt.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

For medical, you should consider any COVID medical coverage required to enter a foreign country.  For example, Chile currently requires proof of $30k COVID medical coverage.  Granted, most foreigners are not currently allowed into Chile, it is possible they continue this coverage requirement for entry into their country once entry restrictions are removed.

Edited by Aggie83
clarity
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On 6/27/2021 at 8:53 PM, RomanyUY said:

I'm looking into annual plans as well but don't even know where to start. We are both over 65, US citizens living overseas. I dread trying to find enough insurance to cover us IN the US where we only have Medicare Part A (hospitalization).

I agree that $100K would be the minimum I would look for but we are sometimes unable to find any insurance for ANY price. I just want the medical coverage. If my $20K vacation goes belly up, we won't be bankrupt. Any uninsured medical bill may do that though.

Any suggestions? 

I was just reading back through this thread and noticed (for the first time) that you show Uruguay as your location.  If that is your legal residence I would assume it creates further issues when it comes to travel insurance.  So while I agree with Gail and Marty regarding GeoBlue and Medjetassist (if you want the best evacuation insurance) I think that would depend on you having a legal USA address.

 

Hank 

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On 7/9/2021 at 8:35 PM, Hlitner said:

I was just reading back through this thread and noticed (for the first time) that you show Uruguay as your location.  If that is your legal residence I would assume it creates further issues when it comes to travel insurance.  So while I agree with Gail and Marty regarding GeoBlue and Medjetassist (if you want the best evacuation insurance) I think that would depend on you having a legal USA address.

 

Hank 

That has been the problem. Once they find out we live in Uruguay they have nothing for us.

I DID have a chat with InsureMyTrip the other day and was told that there were medical only plans to cover us:
1. You can only purchase them within six months of the trip - which is why nothing comes up when I search for coverage for next year.
2. They will cover up to $50K but you can buy $100K plans too.

So at least we have that we can rely upon. Celebrity allows us to cancel without penalty up to 48 hours before, so that's good. We have a gazillion frequent flyer miles with American that we will use for the trip so I'm not worried about flight cancellations.

 

I think we'll be okay this time.

 

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On 6/12/2021 at 5:15 PM, Babr said:

With secondary coverage, you’ll have to file with your standard insurance first. The secondary will cover out-of-pocket or deductible costs left over. I don’t know how it works with yet another policy in addition to those two.

 

If you are thinking about getting trip insurance, which I take to mean a comprehensive plan that covers both medical and cancellation, just because of air fare consider that it may be difficult to collect on that. Most airlines issue vouchers for cancelled air, and the insurance company considers it to be compensation. No claim.

One thing I learned about vouchers that shocked me.

You would THINK that when they say "good for one year" it means one year from the date of cancellation. Nope. One year from the date that you BOOKED the tickets.

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21 minutes ago, RomanyUY said:

One thing I learned about vouchers that shocked me.

You would THINK that when they say "good for one year" it means one year from the date of cancellation. Nope. One year from the date that you BOOKED the tickets.


Thanks for clarifying that. I’m sure lots of people book well in advance in order to get the flight they want and may not realize they have to consider the booking date. That could considerably shorten the time they have to use the voucher.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This thread has been quite helpful; I can see that $100K medical is the minimum we should look for, and GEO Blue seems like a great option for an annual policy.

 

I do have some question though as to whether $250K is enough evac (Trekker Essential), or whether it's better to go with the $500K evac (Trekker Choice).   

 

Thanks,

Mary

 

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14 hours ago, Mary loves to travel said:

This thread has been quite helpful; I can see that $100K medical is the minimum we should look for, and GEO Blue seems like a great option for an annual policy.

 

I do have some question though as to whether $250K is enough evac (Trekker Essential), or whether it's better to go with the $500K evac (Trekker Choice).   

 

Thanks,

Mary

 


Others may advise differently, but I think $250,000 is adequate. Remember that evacuation usually  means transporting you to the nearest appropriate facility until you are able to travel. Then you’ll be returned home by commercial air.

 

The need for an air ambulance to return you to a hospital nearer your home is another matter. If you need a higher level of care or extended care, it is possible you’d require that kind of transportation. Also know that you don’t necessarily get to choose when that happens. It requires concurrence of the attending physician, the receiving physician, and the insurance company.  
 

It will be costly depending somewhat on where you are and the severity of your case. Nevertheless, I expect $250,000 to cover it. No need to worry about using up the policy limit. Once you get to that point, you likely won’t be traveling again during the policy period.

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On 8/7/2021 at 6:57 PM, Mary loves to travel said:

This thread has been quite helpful; I can see that $100K medical is the minimum we should look for, and GEO Blue seems like a great option for an annual policy.

 

I do have some question though as to whether $250K is enough evac (Trekker Essential), or whether it's better to go with the $500K evac (Trekker Choice).   

 

Thanks,

Mary

 

Hi Mary,

 

$250,000 is enough evacuation coverage. I've never seen one costing more than $127,000.

 

Steve Dasseos

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