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WARNING AA Travel Ins - Allianz Global Assitance

WARNING AA Travel Ins - Allianz Global Assitance

Feb 26th, 2013, 10:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 2
WARNING AA Travel Ins - Allianz Global Assitance

WARNING to all travelers considering using Allianz Global Assistance for an AA flight.

We recently had a flight to Rio booked where we were recommended to purchase trip insurance through Allianz Global Assistance and were told that for ANY medical event which led to cancelation, this would give us a full refund.

Unfortunately a few weeks before the flight my wife did require a trip to an OBGYN specialist and her Provider restricted her from all travel for 8-12 weeks (which fell right in the middle of the trip). We got supporting documentation from the clinic including a SIGNED letter from the Provider confirming he was restricting her from travel. He acknowledged that he was not comfortable release private patient information to an agency or outside organization who is NOT rendering medical care to the patient, and that any such act would result in a violation of the HIPAA patient privacy rights we are afforded in America. Unfortunately the folks at Allianz Global Assistance are not educated in the ways of privacy acts and said they have a firm policy for a policy holding patient to disclose the entire personal and private medical records release from the providers (and then asked for it in a NON-SECURE and non-encrypted manner for that matter! Another clear violation of the law). An employee there speaking on anonymity on the situation disclosed that they are instructed to just reject all claims and that they are only looked into if the customer files an appeal (and even ten he said they are audited and measured by the amount of claims they are able to reject). You all will have much better luck getting the airline to waive the cancelation policy in a circumstance like this (at least they don't flat out disregard the customers privacy rights) then you would be going through a 3rd party vendor like this who measures bottom lines and fiscal year profit reports on policy purchases vs adjudicated claims. We have traveled the world and have close to 1 million miles with both American and United, and never in a million years would I recommend any travel utilizing a company Allianz Global. (and for that matter, I would recommend another Airline since AA still elects to send their customers to a group like this).
FALC is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,238
Let me get this straight, you decided to go with this company based on an airline's supposed recommendation.

You did not validate the quality of this by checking out any internet reviews; many of which are negative.

You didn't say which state you're from so I picked Georgia to see what their rider would say, which is as follows:

"We have issued the policy and any attached riders based on your payment of the premium and on
the information you included in your enrollment [or other] form. The statements you made in your
enrollment [or other] form are representations and not warranties. We may use this information to
reduce benefits or defend our decision about a claim."

I'd say, now that you've spent the $$$$, why don't you find out exactly what Alliance needs to validate your trip. A signed letter from a clinic doesn't carry much, if any, weight. If your Doctor doesn't want to sign anything, then I would be blaming your Doctor, not AA or Alliance.

The net is that you gave them flimsy evidence of a reason for a trip cancellation. What do you think any insurance company would do?
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 12:54 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,238
BTW: are you a lawyer? If not, how do you know they've violated the law?
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 12:55 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,201
HIPAA allows the release of your medical records to whomever you give written permission.
abram is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 01:23 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
I think you're misunderstanding how HIPAA works. The law says that no medical practitioner can release private medical information without the signed, written consent of the patient. As abram says above, your wife can authorize her physician to release the records. That's the only way he will be allowed to do that. The clinic/hospital where he practices should have someone who handles HIPAA matters and can provide the forms and facilitate the process.

No insurance company is going to accept a simple signed letter saying "So-and-so can't travel." They will need to know why. Start working with your wife's doctor and the clinic/hospital to provide that information to the insurance company.

I don't see this episode as any reason to avoid Global Allianz. They're not violating any law.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,008
I agree with Jeff.

You can't expect an insurance company to pay a medical claim without the medical details. That's just silly.

Get your wife to sign the authorization and your claim should be paid.

BTW, it's not just Allianz that requires this info for a medical claim. We had to file a claim with Travelsafe for my husband when he came down with pancreatitis and was too weak to travel. I provided the doctor's statement, copies of hospital bills and prescription drug invoices to show why he could not travel. Our claim was paid quickly and fully.
bettyk is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 03:36 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,667
Any patient has a RIGHT to their medical records with a signed release. The only one (possibly) violating any laws is the physician who is (alledgedly) refusing to release them. Your wife can get copies of her medical records and send them out with your annual Christmas card if she so chooses.
tenthumbs is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 05:47 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
No, the MD is complying with the law. He can't release anything without signed patient consent.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 07:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,463
I'm guessing your claim is rather large? Of course they are going to want the medical records, and they will probably verify the info again with the medical facility or doctor once they get them. On top of that, if your policy did not cover pre-existing conditions, they are going to want even more proof this was not a pre-existing problem.

Your doctor is wrong. He can send all the necessary records once you direct him to do so in writing. You can mail them in a sealed pouch or deliver them in person, if you feel sending the files via internet is unsafe, but I guarantee you will not get paid now (or on appeal) before they have the info.

Think carefully about this. Do you want to get in a spittin' contest over the proceedure or get paid on your claim?

I hope your wife is better. No matter what, her health comes first!
lcuy is offline  
Feb 28th, 2013, 05:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,948
I think a letter from the MD signed and stating she was restricted from travel for the time frame of the trip should have been enough.

Entirely too much medical information is getting out into the domain of various bureaucracies, and I do think the MD's word that he legitimately restricted her travel should be enough.

I've had travel insurance twice -- on one trip I had to fly back emergently due to a very close family member's mental health crisis. NO WAY am I getting those records and giving them to an insurance bureaucracy to do with what they will. So I was SOL on the trip.

I recently cancelled a trip I've insured, due to sudden death of my brother. I got lucky on canceling most of the trip, but I will eat the "redepositing the miles" charge from United--just isn't worth submitting the claim to Allianz (with whom I have the policy).

As both a health care consumer and provider, I say the less health info into the information stream, the better.
annw is offline  
Mar 1st, 2013, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,349
Entirely too much medical information is getting out into the domain of various bureaucracies, and I do think the MD's word that he legitimately restricted her travel should be enough.>>>

Tje problem is anyone, a 5-year-old, could mock up a doctor's letterhead and sign it.
sf7307 is offline  
Mar 1st, 2013, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,008
When you purchase insurance, you agree to provide certain information required to process the claim. If you don't want to provide this information, then WHY bother to get the insurance???
bettyk is offline  
Mar 1st, 2013, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,948
A state license is required to practice medicine. Easy enough to Google, and call back/fax back from office. The pharmacies seem to accept that for ordering life-threatening medications.

IMO it's a lot less to ask than the voluminous paperwork the insurance folks require of consumers.

I would provide medical info on myself if the cost were great and worth the loss of privacy, but certainly not personal medical information on family members whose crises would have initiated the claim but who had no say in my procuring insurance in the first place.
annw is offline  
Mar 1st, 2013, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,032
As bettyk observed, insurance is optional. Anyone who doesn't want to play the game as the insurers want is free to pay for their treatment themselves. No big deal here.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Mar 1st, 2013, 09:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,463
Well, the person upon whom the insurance was procured is the only one who can choose to authorize the release of the records. They may not have had a say in allowing you to buy the policy, but they certainly have a "say" in whether you can complete the claim.
lcuy is offline  
Mar 1st, 2013, 10:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,948
Actually if they are impaired they really can't make such authorizations, but that's another matter.

I don't know about the OP, but in general the higher the potential loss the more likely I would be to buy insurance. I would not bother with smaller losses for the very reasons being discussed.

We had better luck just appealing directly to the airlines (and hotels) than with insurance as the OP mentioned. And a basic physician letter did the job.
annw is offline  
Mar 1st, 2013, 10:30 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,948
FALC clearly signed up with a ax in need of grinding, but I still think the topic is worth a discussion.
annw is offline  

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