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Travel Medical Insurance - is it really necessary? (Italy)

Travel Medical Insurance - is it really necessary? (Italy)

Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 04:24 PM
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The one and only time in many years we were without travel ins the unthinkable happened..a stroke....You bet you should have it. Ins. not the stroke. Canada pays $100/day hosp and $42/day doctor for out of country care and 7 weeks in the US of A came pretty dear. Excellent care, excellent facilities, excellent staff but WOW!!!. with $100,000 staring us in the face and pocketbook I repeat YOU GET THAT INS!!!!! Stupidity (ours) caused this financial chaos. Nukesafe your plan is a good one but I want a glass of bubbly in hand with the rest!!!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 04:30 PM
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When we were in Italy, emergency room service was fully covered; we did not pay anything for treatment of my wife's broken ankle. This may apply to hospital stays related to emergency treatment. We had to pay about $1000 for further treatment in France, and that included casting, two visits to the specialist, 6 weeks of daily nurses visits for injections, and weekly lab tests. We could have covered that on our own.

We do not take out insurance when traveling because we know we will be reimbursed by our health plan past and current which has not changed under ACA. This has happened several times when traveling abroad.

The real issue is if one needs a medical evacuation. That is very expensive, and we are not covered for it. If that worries you, perhaps you should take out insurance that provides such coverage.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 04:32 PM
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Sorry, I did not notice the date of the original posting. But the discussion may still be useful.

Has anyone else suggested to the editors that it might be useful to freeze postings so that one can still read them but not add to them after a certain amount of time, maybe a year?
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 05:06 PM
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When there is a medical emergency away from home, the cost of treatment is not the only expense (which in Western Europe will be much lower for care that is equal or better than that in the US). There may be lost deposits for onward travel, extended lodging for the patient's traveling companion, fees for changing return flights, fare class upgrade to accommodate a leg in a cast, and more. So in considering whether to self-insure, don't forget these possible expenses.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 05:31 PM
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kayd..how right you are..All I mentioned was the hosp and dr expenses..to add to the mess, 2 missed graduations, 2 plane tickets, 2 train tickets, 2 months car rental, misc.eating and an additional return ticket home and back to attend to business..A right well done mess couldn't have done it better if we'd tried..Don't think I can even count that high nor do I want to do so!!! I repeat myself..GET THE TRAVEL INS!!!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 05:33 PM
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You need to check your insurance before you go abroad. Most private insurance will eventually repay you for costs for which you have legitimate detailed receipts.

However, Medicare does not pay for any care outside the US.

And if you are a member of a restrictive HMO it may not for anything out of network (out of the US).

So definitely check before you travel - esp if you have the potential for a serious problem.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 07:10 PM
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My work insurance covers emergency and urgent care while abroad, but I still need medevac insurance. I have read carefully what the plans cover - some do say that you get to make the call as to whether you need the evacuation and where to (home). Does anyone here have some actual experience (yours or someone known to you) with a carrier they could recommend?
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 07:29 PM
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As I wrote above, I broke my wrist in Switzerland in 2005. I got myself to the hospital (and the US medical insurance I had at the time paid the hospital bill), but my medevac insurance - tenweb.com - got me back to the US. They sent a car and drvier to get me to Geneva airport, and the driver handed over the plane tickets to get me home.

The key word is "repatriation". "Evacuation" gets you to the nearest medical facility, "repatriation" gets you home. After my experience in Switzerland I considered switching to DAN, which is cheaper and is popular on the Asia board here, but when I called them they said they would NOT have got me home from Switzerland.

I think tenweb is currently associated with Seven Corners, which I have dealt with when I needed longer coverage than tenweb offers.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 07:49 PM
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Thank you for your testimonial, thursdaysd. I was looking over tenweb's site and it certainly does look like a very good deal, so it's good to know they are a straight-up outfit.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 07:53 PM
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After one trip to Italy where I had a serious injury and a 3 1/2 operation on my left arm and shoulder for free in a public hospital, I would not travel ever again without Travel Medical insurance. While I was treated without charge as an emergency patient in Italy, I was in extreme pain. What could I have been thinking traveling without medical insurance. One misstep on cobblestones in the rain changed everything. I had to remain in Italy waiting for my return flight because I did not have evacuation insurance. No, it wasn't fun.

I simply get an annual policy now from Travel Guard, as I travel at least once a year and don't want to worry about it for each trip. I have never had to use it--and I hope that I don't--but I would never ever travel without medical/evacuation insurance again.

I did write a piece on the entire experience on my website:

http://altecockertravels.weebly.com/...-disaster.html

I eventually had surgery totally replacing the shoulder with what is called a "reverse total shoulder replacement".

Something like this can happen to anyone.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 08:45 PM
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"If I have to recover from a broken ankle, I would LOVE to do so in Paris, rather than back home. "

Not if you were traveling on your own, you wouldn't. Even if you're not on your own, you would find it very different from traveling without an injury. Just think of all those stairs. I wound up hopping round Turkey on crutches with a badly sprained ankle, and even with the support of a tour group, it wasn't anything I'd volunteer for. And why should you be a charge on the French health system?

"Something like this can happen to anyone."

Very true. It only takes a few seconds for your life to change. Even if you're a "young invincible" (who on earth coined that phrase?).
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 12:16 AM
  #32  
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I am a firm believer in insurance. And even if this thread is ages old, I'm glad to see it resurrected if it helps our fellow travelers understand some of the important distinctions between types of coverage.

May we all travel injury-free from now on, and may we all have the coverage we need should our best hopes go awry!
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Old May 25th, 2014, 09:12 AM
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>>>Has anyone else suggested to the editors that it might be useful to freeze postings so that one can still read them but not add to them after a certain amount of time, maybe a year?<<<

If you want thousands of frozen useless posts, TA has them. You can find threads where people might have some info you need, but you can't ask. If this hadn't been topped, I might not have learned about tenweb.
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Old May 25th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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Old May 25th, 2014, 11:20 AM
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I've had to take visiting friends and relatives to the hospital three times since I've been living in Italy.

The first time was for a dog bite, which required minor surgery to see if a tendon was damaged. The wound was cleaned, stitched and bandaged. The dog had all his shots, and the tendon wasn't damaged. There was no charge.

The second time was for a young woman who had several fainting spells while here. She had all sorts of tests done in the emergency room, including a scan of her head, an electroencephalogram, an electrocardiogram, blood tests, and a stress test. She had travel health insurance, but was told she'd have to pay up front and get reimbursed. The charge was so small (under €100) that she didn't bother filing a claim.

The third time was for another young woman who was admitted to the hospital for several days for testing for puzzling symptoms after returning from six months in Africa. Again, the charge was so small that she just paid it without filing a claim.

So, I can conclusively say that you do have to pay for emergency service in Italy, although sometimes they may not bother charging you for it (as in the first instance I mentioned). I wouldn't bother getting an expensive policy. Medical care in Italy is of high quality, and it may be better to be treated here than to undertake a journey with an untreated condition.

When I travel to the US, I used to always get a Travel Guard policy. Then once, I just got the cheap policy offered by Expedia when you buy a flight from them. That was the one time we needed medical treatment. The Expedia insurance paid for nearly everything, and since then that's usually what I get.
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Old May 26th, 2014, 12:16 PM
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I once had to use my medical travel insurance before I even left home due to unexpected surgery. It covered the cost of the pre-paid air fare and would have paid pre-paid hotels if I had had those. I never book a trip without taking out insurance.
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Old May 26th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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A zero-line travel insurance policy costs so little… (in other words, a policy with $0 in trip cancellation insurance). Choose a company that offers primary coverage, such as Travelex. Just a $50 deductible per person.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 09:48 PM
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I had to use our medical travel insurance when I fell in London and had to fly home to have surgery. I had excellent emergency medical care in London but wanted to fly home for surgery for a badly broken shoulder and elbow (different arm) and I had to pay a lot of money to change our airline tickets to fly home. We were flying business class but to change them to business class with a two week earlier return it cost $3,000. The insurance paid for the airfare change, our canceled cruise and some other smaller expenses. It was well worth the price we paid.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 10:04 PM
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 04:29 AM
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Some clarification of terms:

Medical insurance would pay for your treatment
Medical evacuation insurance would get you to the nearest hospital
Repatriation insurance would get you home - that is what paid for Cali's plane tickets.

You need all three. Some medical evacuation policies don't include repatriation - read the fine print!
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