travel medical insurance??

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May 9th, 2003, 03:32 AM
  #1
k
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travel medical insurance??

We are taking a 2 week safari trip and staying in high quality lodges. Do we need the medical travel insurance. If so, where should we look.
we've had all our shots and malaria meds for the trip, and are very cautious travelers. we've never purchased the travel insurance before. But then, we've never been to Africa, other than Egypt for a few weeks.
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May 9th, 2003, 05:28 AM
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Hi K:

Just check with your tour group to see if if supports something like the 'Flying Doctors Program' (for Kenya & Tanzania) where you pay a slight extra fee but it covers your getting flown to a hospital or a doctor getting flown to you.

Aside from that, check with your medical program where you live - I'm in Canada and my medical program coveres me when I travel out-of-province BUT only at the rates that similar services would be in my home province ... however, for $60/year I can buy suplimental insurance (that covers the difference between what the remote medical rates would be & what my home province will pay) for an unlimited number of 15 day (or less) trips outside of my home province (as long as I'm in my home province 158 days/year).

So for me the cost was minimal & I wouldn't leave home without it. But depending on where you live it may be too expensive.

Z
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May 9th, 2003, 05:43 AM
  #3
nkh
 
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If you can afford it I would definitely purchase medical insurance - the cost is pretty small in comparison to your trip, and a medical accident (fingers crossed, knock on wood etc etc it wont happen, but such a thing could happen anywhere) could cause very expensive bills. We are in Canada and purchased insurance through Blue Cross - not particularly expensive.

We also looked into the Flying Doctors membership and decided it was worth going for.

http://www.flyingdoctorsocietyafrica.com

For up to 2 months of membership it is only $25 USD per person for transfer to Nairobi for a 500km radius. If you dont use the service the money gets put towards medical care for those who cannot afford it. If you are going to the area covered (useful map on website) this would probably be a worthwhile peace-of-mind investment as well even if your company does not offer the service.

Have a fantastic trip!
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May 9th, 2003, 10:37 AM
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When we went to Kenya and Tanzania last year, I checked with our health insurance company to see if it covered us outside of the U.S. It did, however, we were advised to bring a credit card to charge any medical expenses, since our Anthem insurance card is basically useless outside of the U.S. The insurance company said we would be reimbursed medical charges on the credit card. We also bought two memberships to the Flying Doctor's Society. Nominal cost in the grand scheme of things and we felt better having that in case anything did go wrong. As "nkh" wrote, if the Flying Doctor membership is not used, the money spent on it goes toward helping provide healthcare to those in rural East Africa. It's a win/win situation. Have a wonderful time on safari!
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May 9th, 2003, 10:08 PM
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I can't recall when I've ever purchased travel insurance, but I did for this African safari. And our normal medical insurance already covers many expenses outside the US. But I want to be sure and also wanted the other insurance that came with this (emergency cancellation, etc.). It's one of those things, you hope you don't need it and then you may feel you've wasted your money. But better that than really needing it and never having bought it.
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May 11th, 2003, 06:27 PM
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In preparation for my May trip to South Africa, I purchased travel insurance. I agree with Clematis that it might be wise to be covered for trip cancellation/postponement, especially in light of potential travel interuptions (terrorism), lost bags, etc... It's hard to put a price on 'peace of mind.' Others may be more comfortable with risk.
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May 16th, 2003, 04:53 PM
  #7
sandi
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With exception of travel within the US, I've always purchased trip cancel & interruption insurance... "just in case" which can be loss of job, called for jury duty, family illness, death, or something happening while on trip... slipping and breaking your leg, or being bitten by something, or just anything. While it seems to be an overpriced expense, and it is, you just never know, and if you have to be repatriated or have to spend time in a hospital and don't have insurance, then it's up to you to pay, and sometimes for a first-class ticket.
You'll be spending alot of money for this trip, don't be shortsighted and skimp on insurance... more than likely you'll never need it, but don't go without.

More important... do you and your travel partner know your "blood-types"... we thought we had everything planned but just never checked this until a few weeks before leaving... like a lightbulb went off during a dream. Hopefully, you'll never have a situation that requires blood, but know this information.
 
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May 16th, 2003, 05:25 PM
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Hi Sandi,

I do the "same" thing re trip interrruption & cancellation. Of course,I won't leave home without medical insurance-you never know what can happen;no matter what,I'd be too afraid to chance it.
I live in Canada so going for all my shots was not expensive. Above all else,have fun.
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May 16th, 2003, 05:28 PM
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I considered travel insurance but then I decided to pass on it. It would have been about $500 for my wife and I, or about 5% the cost of the trips worth.

I am just playing the odds and I think that far fewer than 1 in 20 people have to cancel their trips, at least for anything that the insurance would cover.

Last year I did get stuck in Zimbabwe for an extra night, but in retrospect, I am glad I did. It allowed the opportunity to stay one free night in a junior suite, with meals and drinks included, at the beautiful and historic Victoria Falls Hotel, compliments of the Matetsi Water Lodge for failing to reconfirm my flight info (the flight was cancelled and I had to fly out the next day).

The Mount Nelson Hotel was gracious enough not to charge me anything for being a no-show the first night and I ended up cancelling two nights at the Grande Roche in the Winelands and extending my stay at the Mount Nelson for 50% discounted last-second rates.

Most of us that already have decent health insurance would already be covered if we needed medical attention abroad. While we may have to pay out of our own pockets initially, a decent health care provider would then reimburse the expenses.

Admittedly, I am a bit of a risktaker but I think it is worth the risk instead of paying 5% extra (which is $500 in my case).
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May 17th, 2003, 01:02 AM
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Before making your decision, do a little research, and ask yourself a few questions. Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions which would not be covered by the travel insurance (or require additional premiums)? Does your medical insurance at home cover you in the countries you will be visiting? Does it cover you for medevac or repatriation to your home country? Does the travel insurance cover you for the above?

You have been wise to get your shots and malaria meds to protect you against endemic diseases, but are you prepared for the consequences of accident or sudden unexpected illness? Remember that when you are out in the bush, you are a long way from western standard hospitals. I have heard of the Flying Doctor Service before, but didn't realize you could buy a policy. I will definitely check that out before my next visit to East Africa.
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May 17th, 2003, 09:20 AM
  #11
 
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There is also a policy called Medjet that only covers flying you back home, which many evacuation clauses do not cover. I opted not to get it because I felt the odds were small that this would be needed unless your trip is longer ( you can get covered for a year). Also, many travel insurance policies will cover pre-existing conditions *if* you purchase the policy within a certain time limit of paying the first deposit on your trip (7 -30 days). It's important to research insurance early.
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May 17th, 2003, 02:27 PM
  #12
sandi
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Roccco and Clamatis?
If I figure correctly $500 for both of you is 5% of a $10,000 trip and you won't buy the insurance. In fact $250 person is rather cheap for insurance... is that just medical or interruption, baggage, delay etc.
Yes you have to read all policies carefully and compare a few as "all policies are not equal"
Keep the following website handy and you can compare policies for future trips: www.insuremytrip.com
all the big companies are there.

As far as Medjet is concerned... their family fee for one year is worth it if you travel regularly anywhere 50 miles from home (so even here at home in the States)... and while they primarily do get you back home to a hospital they provide excellent support services for medical references. It is not something to brush off that easily... especially if you travel alot and not just overseas.
 
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May 17th, 2003, 06:28 PM
  #13
 
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Hi Sandi,
I couldn't agree more, even when I go to another province I am fully insured --it just wouldn't make sense to me otherwise.
I've impressed that upon my 26 yr old son as well,if I'm not fully insured I don't go.
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May 17th, 2003, 07:31 PM
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Hi Sandi - If you read my earlier reply in this thread you'll see I did purchase insurance. I just didn't opt to buy any additional Medjet insurance. For $300, they had several limitations - you can't have an air-borne contagious disease (so if you had TB or SARS they won't fly you), you have to get yourself to a local hospital first and be admitted and that doctor and Medjet are the ones to decide if you have to be flown or not - it is at their discretion not yours. It will not cover anything considered an "act of war." Now if one of us ended up in a hospital for more than broken bones (which they will not fly you home for) and we didn't have Medjet, we'd manage to get home. We are already covered for immediate evacuation out of the bush to get to the closest hospital by both our regular insurance and our travel insurance. I decided it wasn't a good economical choice in our case but might be for someone else and that's why I brought it up.
Our travel insurance cost $740 for my husband and myself because of the trip cancellation clause. It ended up being much less than 5% in our case.
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May 18th, 2003, 06:17 AM
  #15
sandi
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Clematis - I wasn't familiar with the current limitations that Medjet has instituted, but guess they have to make changes as the world changes. Last time I checked Medjet had been about three years back, so I wasn't up-to-date.
For our trip back in '01 our trip cancel/inter came to about $600 for both of us.
 
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