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Medical travel insurance

We are a couple in 60’s and early 70’s traveling to France for several weeks next year. We have never bothered with travel insurance before but knowing Medicare doesn’t cover us in Europe, we feel it’s probably time to carry health insurance.

We don’t really need any of the other coverages, when we had to cancel this trip last year, we were able to recoup most of our money. We don’t check baggage. Rental car covered by credit card. No tours or cruises.

Both of us in excellent health. So just thinking for accidents or fluke medical emergency.

Insurance broker recommended GeoBlue tied to Bluecross Blueshield. This would run almost $20 a day for the two of us. That adds up! As said, we have no experience with these policies.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Posted by
826 posts

I'm in your demographic and similar situation. I have been buying the AMEX Assurance coverage for medical only. Just bought for December trip and it was about $65 for 100K coverage for two of us. Thankfully I've never actually had to use it. Hoping it works if I ever do have to.

Posted by
162 posts

I've used GeoBlue for the past couple of years for my trips and no complaints. They have a good website with helpful tools. They do have a few options about how much coverage you want and how much of a deductible you're willing to pay. I actually get an annual policy with them which is a good way to cover yourself for a number of weeks or more than one trip a year.

Posted by
6540 posts

Just checking - is Medicare the only health insurance you currently have at home?

Posted by
361 posts

We only buy medical and evacuation/repatriation insurance unless we have high non-refundable expenses. I’ve used GeoBlue for an annual policy and thought it reasonable but we are a few years younger than you. Also check InsureMyTrip or squaremouth websites to shop for different options. You can select the coverages you want and it will show you options available. It goes without saying, read all the fine print carefully so you know what you are buying.

Posted by
4870 posts

It is quite true that straight Medicare part A and part B do not cover travel overseas. However, many people have supplemental policies that might. My first step would be to closely examine the coverage that you have just in case. Would buying a supplemental policy that does cover overseas travel be cheaper than travel insurance? I don't know, you would have to price it out.

My medicare advantage plan does cover medical overseas for emergency or urgent care which is exactly the sort of coverage you are saying that you are interested in.

Posted by
20 posts

Our Medicare Supplemental Plan G (Medigap) and our Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa provide some medical coverage for international travel.

Posted by
2545 posts

Any coverage through your credit card or Medicare supplement is likely “pay and chase”. That is you pay for care up front and then collect from your credit card or insurance. Look at insuremytrip.com and call their customer service to review your options. Consider evacuation coverage as well as medical. The cost of evacuation can be quite high. Rare event but that is what insurance is for. $20/day? Not bad at all. With COVID the cost of insurance has risen dramatically.

Posted by
4870 posts

Alan, I don't think that too many people mind filing a claim upon their return. Maybe I am wrong but I would rather file a claim upon return for a known medical cost where the expense is covered by pre-existing insurance than pay for insurance coverage I may not need.

Posted by
2545 posts

Alan, I don't think that too many people mind filing a claim upon their return

Carol I would agree if it’s for the cost of a minor illness. But if you are admitted with a heart attack, a fracture that needs surgery or the like the costs add up quickly. Even with minor problems paying may be an issue. On our RS Portugal tour a member had a laceration requiring sutures. The facility demanded cash. Before they would suture him the guide had to make a run to an ATM.

Posted by
807 posts

Any advice would be appreciated.

A failure to have adequate health insurance for the period of you travel, would be grounds for refusing you entry to the Schengen Area. Now given the the checking is much more intense in recent times... the choice is yours.

Posted by
140 posts

In answer to other insurance- we do have a advantage plan but understand this only covers basic emergencies.

Posted by
140 posts

I appreciate all the input. Alan has it hit. It’s the freak accident where you may want evacuation. We aren’t hurting, but coughing up $50,000 + cash, even if finally being reimbursed, would be tough to do rapidly.

We do have Chase Sapphire Reserve cards, so I’ll look more closely at what they cover.

Sounds like peace of mind is what you’re buying.

Thank you!

Posted by
1533 posts

Andrea, These are GeoBlue and MedJet websites. If you think you will travel twice or more in 1 year, look at the annual policies. Both are cheaper than single travel. My cost for GeoBlue will be $265 and MedJet will be $295, traveling single so for one person. Divide that by two trips and it's a lot cheaper than single trip costs. GeoBlue will cover pre-existing conditions, at least they said they would when I emailed them after signing up in June for a September RS tour. I plan to travel again in June 2023 so am timing the policies to cover both tours. FYI I have medicare supplement part F which has $50,000 lifetime international benefit but these insurances are cheap peace of mind. I'm healthy however at 71 y/o who knows what will happen by September or June, or a stumble and fall during the trips. Although GeoBlue includes Evacuation, it doesn't get you home. Medjet is Evacuation, not medical, but will get you home. You can sign up for both online so you don't need an insurance broker.

Posted by
152 posts

If you have a good medical plan, they will cover you for emergency health situations that occur while traveling - in some cases you pay out of pocket and get reimbursed.

Posted by
5697 posts

Regarding Medicare supplement plans -- unlike Medicare Advantage plans, there is no annual "open enrollment" period so either you get in right after enrolling in Part B or you have to go through medical underwriting to determine whether they take you and at what premium.

Posted by
315 posts

Has anyone ever used "International SOS"? My husband's university, of which he has emeritus status, uses it, but it seems rather pricey.

Posted by
82 posts

With medical evacuation policies, it's entirely at the discretion of the insurance company whether they evacuate you.

You can't get evacuation because you don't have coverage in Europe and you want to go back home where you have coverage

At least I think that's the way it works.

Most travel policies seem to be secondary coverage. That is, you have to exhaust claims against your health insurance and then after that, they may or may not pay out your claim.

And you pay out of pocket first.

I remember reading stories about how people got medical evacuation from some developing world country under Amex Platinum coverage and the cost of the evacuation was well over $100k.

Posted by
1533 posts

As always read the fine print. I haven't looked lately but when I was researching in June, I think Medjet said that a doctor has to release you for medical evacuation and a receiving hospital where you want to go has to accept you.