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Friday, September 22, 2017

Medical Crisis in Mexico

Recently a we were contacted to solve a problem for a friend of a friend.  It seems he was cruising at Cozumel and suffered chest pain.   The cruise line sent the man to a local Cozumel hospital where the condition was medically evaluated.  Ultimately he would need bypass surgery but elected to go to the USA for that surgery.  The hospital refused to evacuate him to the USA until he paid $60,000 cash.  Essentially they held a sick person hostage until they paid.

We called our friends in the US government who told the family to contact the local US Mexico embassy for assistance.  Within a day or two he was airlifted to the US appropriately.

This is an excellent topic to understand.  As we age, we need to be prepared when traveling abroad so that we can get treated appropriately, and not put ourselves at further risk.  Let's review some basics about this topic.

1.  Travel insurance -- know what your policy covers.  The US Department of State has an excellent website outlining travel insurance options and has a list of vetted providers.

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/health/insurance-providers.html

2. Travel insurance will not always cover the cost of medical care overseas.  You may need to purchase medical travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance when you travel.  Medicare does not consistently cover foreign travel.  Go to this site to see what is covered:

https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/travel-need-health-care-outside-us.html

The medicare site is listed above is very confusing and only covers in very specific situations.  Do not rely upon Medicare coverage when you travel abroad.  If you feel that you are high risk for injury when traveling abroad, plan ahead with appropriate travel insurance.  Your travel agent should be able to help, but there are specific travel insurance agents who may have more options available than your travel agents.

Here is a good travel insurance agency to consider for information:

https://www.insuremytrip.com

There is much to consider when buying travel insurance from simple to complicated issues:

baggage delay or loss
weather or natural disasters
trip cancellation due to illness
trip interruption due to accident or illness
terrorism
evacuation to home
maximum benefits
exclusions.

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