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Separate Trip or Yearly Travel Insurance


Darcy03231
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I have a 10 day land-based vacation booked for next spring (Curacao), will be home for 4 days, then leave for a 7 day cruise.  Would it be better to get a yearly travel policy to cover both trips or separate insurance for each trip?  While we don't have anything else planned for 2022, if the right deal came along we'd probably do another trip in the fall.  We will need primary medical coverage as DH is on Medicare.

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Earlier (young) with our travel's we would often have no insurance. Then as we aged we would just have the cruise ins offered by the cruiseline.

Then realized that 3rd party was a better option.

Now that we're both on Medicare we've found that due to our age insurance is getting very expensive to insure each trip individually so we're now looking into GeoBlue Trekker Choice an annual policy since we have several trips planned for 2022.

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Just be aware that annual policies often have little if any cancellation coverage, if that is important to you. They provide good medical but not so much for travel benefits. Many people pair them with premium credit cards in order to get additional cancellation, trip interruption, etc.

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9 hours ago, Babr said:

Just be aware that annual policies often have little if any cancellation coverage, if that is important to you. They provide good medical but not so much for travel benefits. Many people pair them with premium credit cards in order to get additional cancellation, trip interruption, etc.

Yes aware of this thanks.

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On 10/22/2021 at 11:05 AM, Darcy03231 said:

I have a 10 day land-based vacation booked for next spring (Curacao), will be home for 4 days, then leave for a 7 day cruise.  Would it be better to get a yearly travel policy to cover both trips or separate insurance for each trip?  While we don't have anything else planned for 2022, if the right deal came along we'd probably do another trip in the fall.  We will need primary medical coverage as DH is on Medicare.

Hi darcy032231,

 

It's probably not worth paying for an annual plan. Separate insurance for each trip is likely a better choice, especially if you have to be quarantined by a doctor due to covid.

 

Steve Dasseos

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  • 2 weeks later...
46 minutes ago, ljones said:

I'd like to find an annual plan as I have Primary Medical / Evacuation coverage with my Medicare Advantage Plan - BUT virtually none cover WA residents.  Any suggestions from WA residents?

Move to Oregon :).  Ok, am sorry but could not resist.  I have never understood the position of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner's Office in excluding many policies written by non Washington State companies.   Consider that GeoBlue is approved to sell their products in nearly every State of the country (the last I looked only Washington and NY put up roadblocks).  And it is true with some other companies that are able to operate in nearly every State.  

 

As I have warned on other blogs, I am not sure that relying on a Medicare Advantage Plan for outside the USA coverage is a good idea.  My own Medicare Advantage Plan (Aetna PPO) also covers international urgent/emergency care....but a lifetime of working in the government healthcare industry has convinced me to not rely on this coverage.  Keep in mind that providing "coverage" is one thing, but how much they would pay if you file a claim is another issue.  I have long been uncomfortable that they would fall back onto only paying what they would normally pay for a Medicare claim (such as paying $5 for a $40 charge).  Within the USA, those who are enrolled as Medicare providers are obligated to accept those payments as payment in full (subject to deductibles and possible copays),   But providers outside the USA are not enrolled Medicare providers and could care less about what is Usual and Customary for Medicare.  They simply bill the charges, insist you pay (usually before you can leave the facility) and then it is up to you to submit the claim and try to get yourself made whole.

 

Hank

P.S.  In the interests of full disclosure, regular Medicare does not pay anything for foreign claims (except under two very rare situations) and many Advantage Plans also do not provide foreign coverage.  So folks need to read and understand their own plan.

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My travel buddy LIVES in Oregon!  Wonder if she could just ADD me to her policy!!??  ;-(   

 

And most of the information in my 'Evidence of Coverage' Booklet refers to "In-Network" payments...Emergency & Urgent Care (as Defined) are covered "Worldwide" BUT at what percentage / amount is NOT defined...and so I am looking for an annual plan that is available in WA (VERY FEW!) to supplement it...PS - Have sent messages of my displeasure to the WA Insurance Commissioner.  

 

 

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On 11/6/2021 at 3:16 PM, ljones said:

My travel buddy LIVES in Oregon!  Wonder if she could just ADD me to her policy!!??  ;-(   

 

And most of the information in my 'Evidence of Coverage' Booklet refers to "In-Network" payments...Emergency & Urgent Care (as Defined) are covered "Worldwide" BUT at what percentage / amount is NOT defined...and so I am looking for an annual plan that is available in WA (VERY FEW!) to supplement it...PS - Have sent messages of my displeasure to the WA Insurance Commissioner.  

 

 

Hi ljones,

 

> My travel buddy LIVES in Oregon!  Wonder if she could just ADD me to her policy!!?? 

 

No, that would be fraud and any claims you have would be denied.

 

Steve Dasseos

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On 11/6/2021 at 1:16 PM, ljones said:

- Have sent messages of my displeasure to the WA Insurance Commissioner.  

 

 

I've also sent e-mails asking why GeoBlue can't sell in Washington. I obviously didn't ask the right question in the correct manner.

Their reply was "GeoBlue could sell in Washington State. They currently choose not to", which we all know is not the total answer. Either GeoBlue's policy as generally written is not accepted by our Insurance Commissioner, or our Commissioner wants the policy reworded or amended in some way that GeoBlue doesn't want to do.

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On 11/6/2021 at 4:16 PM, ljones said:

My travel buddy LIVES in Oregon!  Wonder if she could just ADD me to her policy!!??  ;-(   

 

And most of the information in my 'Evidence of Coverage' Booklet refers to "In-Network" payments...Emergency & Urgent Care (as Defined) are covered "Worldwide" BUT at what percentage / amount is NOT defined...and so I am looking for an annual plan that is available in WA (VERY FEW!) to supplement it...PS - Have sent messages of my displeasure to the WA Insurance Commissioner.  

 

 

That is actually a very interesting answer and you would probably have a real challenge to get to the actual reasons.  I believe that GeoBlue is approved to sell in 47 or 48 States (my info is out of date so this might not be current) so I imagine there is more to the story (as you suspect).  We do know a few folks that prefer the annual plan sold by Allianz but we have never fully explored this option.  But you might want to do a quick online check for their options.  I do believe their medical coverage is not as high as Geoblue but they do include some travel related coverage not included in the Geoblue policies.

 

If you get frustrated with your search you might want to reach out to Steve Dasseos at the trip insurance store.  

 

Hank

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17 hours ago, klfrodo said:

GeoBlue could sell in Washington State. They currently choose not to"

You are correct on the WA Insurance Commissioner's Office NON-Answers.  Here is the one I received: 

 

"We welcome any new travel plan as long as the company provides the requested documentation to our rates and forms staff. "

 

To which I responded "I've found that answer to be a non-answer.  I highly doubt so many insurers simply will not send documentation to WA State... 

 
I will see if I can get someone who might look into the issue I asked about.
 
Thank you.
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15 hours ago, Hlitner said:

annual plan sold by Allianz

Thanks.  I did check w/ Allianz and they do sell (at this time) Annual Plans for WA state.  Since I have Primary coverage for Medical / evacuation (Note:  did find that IF I receive Prior Approval - I would be charged at the In-Network rate.  Additionally I have a fairly low Maximum Out-of-Pocket amount).  I telephoned Allianz after being unable to research a 2023 Plan (used dates in 2021 to get an example).  Allianz simply does not offer an Annual Plan that far in advance.

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1 hour ago, ljones said:

Thanks.  I did check w/ Allianz and they do sell (at this time) Annual Plans for WA state.  Since I have Primary coverage for Medical / evacuation (Note:  did find that IF I receive Prior Approval - I would be charged at the In-Network rate.  Additionally I have a fairly low Maximum Out-of-Pocket amount).  I telephoned Allianz after being unable to research a 2023 Plan (used dates in 2021 to get an example).  Allianz simply does not offer an Annual Plan that far in advance.

You are touching on a terrific issue (that should concern all of us with medical insurance) as to just how much will an insurance company pay for a service and the related issue would be "is it enough."  Most Americans, who have insurance, just assume stuff is covered except for any normal co-pays/deductables.  But all the rules change once we are talking about medical bills from outside the USA.  The truth is that none of us are ever sure that insurance will pay it all or only a portion.   I would be concerned with a many US policies that might fall back on what they pay, within their own network, for a medical claim.  In-Network payments are generally negotiated and are part of written agreements between the network providers and the insurer.   These payment amounts involve big discounts from charges and this can be seen if you get an "Explanation of Benefits" similar to what is provided by Medicare.

 

IMHO an insurance company, when it comes to out of country payments, should pay something similar to the "Usual and Customary Rate" (UCR) for the area from where you got the treatment.  If they apply a Washington State standard to a medical bill in France that may or may not be reasonable reimbursement.  The worst scenario would be a Medicare Advantage Plan (I have one such plan) that would only pay the normal Medicare Rate to a foreign provider :(.   I only mention all this to alert any reader that it can be an issue that would leave the cruiser paying a lot of money for medical treatment above what is reimbursed by their insurer.  Perhaps this makes an even stronger case for most folks to find a decent insurance broker who has lots of first hand experience with how the claim process works.   

 

Hank

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2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

issue (that should concern all of us with medical insurance)

It is back to the 'Fine Print' issue & not knowing what you will Actually receive (You can determine by complaints made against Insurance Companies that the person Never Read the Rules)...and even then I am not truly convinced that what is Told me on the phone is not what will happen in Reality. 

 

AND a side note on "Gotcha's" - Most Medical Insurance 'coverage' - if you are Hospitalized - will Require you be "Formally Admitted as an Inpatient"!  Even if you stay in a hospital overnight, you still might be considered an "Outpatient" - with Less Coverage!!

 

That being said, my Evidence of Coverage from Kaiser Permanente lists what my In-Network (Requires Prior Approval) out-of-pocket costs will be and what is NOT covered by my plan.  

 

The actual Evidence of Coverage must be requested...it is a rather thick booklet.

 

And I do still have more questions to ask them...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/6/2021 at 3:51 PM, Hlitner said:

P.S.  In the interests of full disclosure, regular Medicare does not pay anything for foreign claims (except under two very rare situations) and many Advantage Plans also do not provide foreign coverage.  So folks need to read and understand their own plan.


While that is correct as to regular Medicare, I just wanted to flag for folks who might not be aware that some of the Medicare Supplement plans do have coverage for foreign medical claims. Plan G, for example, has a lifetime max of $50K for foreign medical clams. 

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3 minutes ago, Turtles06 said:


While that is correct as to regular Medicare, I just wanted to flag for folks who might not be aware that some of the Medicare Supplement plans do have coverage for foreign medical claims. Plan G, for example, has a lifetime max of $50K for foreign medical clams. 

We completely agree :).  But folks also need to be cognizant that Medicare Advantage plan coverage of foreign claims does not mean they will pay the entire claim...or even anything close to the entire claim.  In nearly all cases the cruiser/traveler will need to pay their entire medical bill (before discharge) and later seek reimbursement.   Imagine the typical cruiser/travelers being handed a discharge bill of $30,000 and having to somehow pay that bill out of their pocket.  And the shocker can really hit home months later when their insurer only reimbursed $10,000 saying that is their Usual and Customary Payment for those services.

 

So, it is not enough to simply have insurance but one needs to do their best to ascertain that their insurance will pay the entire bill (or at least something close).

 

Hank

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 11/6/2021 at 12:05 PM, ljones said:

I'd like to find an annual plan as I have Primary Medical / Evacuation coverage with my Medicare Advantage Plan - BUT virtually none cover WA residents.  Any suggestions from WA residents?

 

Hi Fellow Washingtonian. After much research and great information, especially from Hank, I discovered that if you got to the GeoBlue website and try getting a quote after inputting your zip code, that the site will say, "You are eligible for an HTH Travel Insurance Policy".

Also, our Advantage Plan through Regence, gives us great international medical coverage. I was so shocked when I called about 1-2 years ago. They just do not make it obvious. It also includes evacuation.

 

Of course, these do not include any trip cancellations, etc

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Reading Nini's last post reminded me that at one time Geoblue did not write insurance policies for residents of New York and Washington States.  I am not sure whether this is still true.  It was rumored that this happened because of roadblocks created by the State Insurance Commissions in those States.  If that is still true than it might explain why an attempt to get a GeoBlue policy got you the suggestion to look at HTH.  

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27 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Reading Nini's last post reminded me that at one time Geoblue did not write insurance policies for residents of New York and Washington States.  I am not sure whether this is still true.  It was rumored that this happened because of roadblocks created by the State Insurance Commissions in those States.  If that is still true than it might explain why an attempt to get a GeoBlue policy got you the suggestion to look at HTH.  

 

That is what I am thinking. I commented on this with Regence Advantage Customer Service but I do not think he could connect the dots and the whole irony of it. But the HTH does not get us anything that we can not get just through our Advantage Plan.

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On 1/20/2022 at 12:39 PM, nini said:

Of course, these do not include any trip cancellations, etc

I actually ended up getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card - $95.00 annually that does have Trip Cancellation coverage + more.  Trip cancellation max is $10,000.00 as I recall.  Do some research on them - might be an inexpensive way to get some insurance coverage if you use a credit card to book travel.

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2 hours ago, ljones said:

I actually ended up getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card - $95.00 annually that does have Trip Cancellation coverage + more.  Trip cancellation max is $10,000.00 as I recall.  Do some research on them - might be an inexpensive way to get some insurance coverage if you use a credit card to book travel.

 

Wow! $95.00 per year is fantastic! Thanks for the heads up!

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54 minutes ago, nini said:

 

Wow! $95.00 per year is fantastic! Thanks for the heads up!


Check any charge card insurance coverage carefully.  (Check ANY policy terms carefully, of course.)

 

Some of them won't cover anything related to pre-existing conditions, and there may not be any look-back window timing involved.  Also double check if the total amount of coverage available per person or per trip is sufficient.  (And of course, it doesn't have to cover ALL of the costs to be very useful.)

 

GC

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2 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:


Check any charge card insurance coverage carefully.  (Check ANY policy terms carefully, of course.)

 

Some of them won't cover anything related to pre-existing conditions, and there may not be any look-back window timing involved.  Also double check if the total amount of coverage available per person or per trip is sufficient.  (And of course, it doesn't have to cover ALL of the costs to be very useful.)

 

GC

Hi GC,

 

A drawback to the trip cancellation coverage from credit cards is that there is no pre-existing conditions coverage.

 

Another drawback is that they won't pay costs that are incurred when the customer is put into a medically-imposed quarantine due to a positive Covid test or other infectious disease.

 

Steve Dasseos

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