Trip Medical Insurance: Anyone use

I will be traveling with my wife, but not on an organized tour, but by our selves. Both on Medicare; therefore need seperate medical policy. When reviewing policies on internet all positive responses are from people who never needed to use the policy that they purchased. Negative reviews from those who did. Has anyone purchased medical policy for traveling overseas and had to use it
My question is; what companies are good based on actual claim experance?

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
1076 posts

Several years ago we purchased trip insurance for the very first time - we were both on Medicare but also had a supplemental plan. We bought through Insuremytrip (HTH Worldwide). Yes, we did have to use it. My husband was hospitalized in France for 3.5 days. I had to cancel and rebook quite a number of things plus we had the medical expenses. We submitted our expenses to HTH who paid the expenses but worked with our supplemental insurance company to get payment from them. It worked out very nicely for us, and we will never travel without it.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5691 posts

I do purchase medical travel insurance and have had to use it. I was in Germany. I paid the bill and was reimbursed promptly by the insurance company. It was easy and all I had to do was fax the receipts. I use to compare policies and tailor it to what I need. I can remember if it was Travel Guard or Travelex I was covered by.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8458 posts

I have, fortunately, never needed to make a claim on travel insurance of any kind, but from reading of others' experiences, it seems that a lot of the negative experiences result from not knowing exactly what is covered and how to access it (Does the company have to make arrangements for care or transport? Do you need preauthorization?). It is also common for people to be confused about the fact that you generally have to pay up front and be reimbursed, instead of just pulling out your insurance card, like at home. Read carefully and make sure you understand what you are buying, and you won't be surprised.

Posted by Anna
Lawrenceville, Georgia
693 posts

I, too, buy medical travel insurance. The company I use has this requirement to cover preexisting medical conditions: No new symptoms and no new medications for six weeks before the trip begins. Most likely, other companies have similar conditions, so that would be something to keep in mind. I haven't had to use it but since it's through American Express I'm pretty confident it would work.

Posted by TC
774 posts

Bill, We use Travel Guard and have had to make only one claim. They did require documentation but nothing that was unreasonable. We have no complaints at all about them or the claim service. We still use them. You may also want to check MedJetAssist. It is strickly an evacuation deal that will fly you back to your home town if you are hospitalized.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
830 posts

My husband and I always buy trip insurance also. We have used the American Express Travel Insurance also mentioned on this site. We have also used Insure My Trip. When we were in Australia, six years ago, we had to go to two different doctors. Upon returning to the U.S., we just turned in our claims to American Express and we were immediately reimbursed for the office visits.

Posted by Carol
Atlanta, GA, USA
785 posts

I did not use it for me, but did have a woman I was traveling with have to use Travel Guard. It actually worked out well, they got her home, paid her bills etc,,, The most frustrating parts of the incident were not due to Travel Guard but the British healthcare system. Once I got her care transferred to a private care facility things went much smoother. (As the person at the private hospital told me "oh my, step one is to get her out of the grip of NHS".

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
22001 posts

Bill, I always purchase travel medical insurance, but fortunately have never had to use it. In the event I suffered a catastrophic injury or medical problem while on holidays, there's no way I want to be "on the hook" for a huge medical bill. I've been purchasing an annual policy for the last few years, rather than a "per-trip" policy. That also provides coverage for trips to the U.S., which is something that concerns me more than trips to Europe. Cheers!

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
479 posts

Hi Bill, As a European I obviously have not used American health insurance but over the years I've had two American guests who fell sick. Based on that experience one think I would suggest is that once you have made your decision, you make a simple note of what exactly you need to do to activate it (phone numbers etc) and ensure your wife understands it too. It's not much fun trying to figure it out when you're sick and even worse having a foreigner like me who knows nothing about American health insurance figure it out. In any case here is hoping you'll never have to use it. Jim

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
1899 posts

"As the person at the private hospital told me "oh my, step one is to get her out of the grip of NHS"." Of course if a acute critical problem had developed then she would more than likely have been whipped to the NHS by the private hospital as they don't cater for that level of emergency in general.

Posted by Rosalyn
1489 posts

It's true that Medicare does not cover you outside the US, but do you have a Medicare supplement policy? If so, the first thing to do is to check what it covers. The really expensive thing when traveling is medical evacuation, like if you break your thigh bone and need two first class tickets to return home, or if you need a private jet with a medical person to monitor you. If you buy insurance, be sure to get the evacuation coverage.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1759 posts

When ever I expound my views on the subject of travel insurance I get excoriated, but considering the excoriating comments my views still hold. My wife and i are in our golden years with silver on top. We have never bought any kind of travel insurance. The only time I had to visit a doctor was on the Isle of Islay when a nasty infection chose my chest as home. We went to the pharmacy in Bowmore where the pharmacist quiried me regarding my symptoms. She said, "There is nothing I can sell you that would help, you need to see a doctor". She told us there was one in Port Charlotte where we were staying and that we should go there. We raided an ATM anticipating a bill and drove to the new community clinic. We were expected, the pharmacist had called ahead and my chart was already begun on the computer system. We finished the information, the doctor saw me, prescribed Amoxicillan, and said the "girls" would have my medicine ready. I was handed the medicine and I asked where to pay. The lady said, "There is no charge". I said, "I am not even a British citizen, I expect to pay something". She said, "There is no charge, out here in the islands we take care of our own". I expressed my sincere thanks. We have never, and as long as we are in the health we are in, won't be buying any kind of travel insurance.

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
479 posts

@Rosalyn: In addition to the costs of being evacuated back to the US, you should ensure that the policy covers the costs of being air lifted to the hospital as well in cases where an ambulance can not be used such as the mountains. @Monte: There is a very big difference between developing a minor ailment and being involved in a major accident which you have no control over. There is also a very big difference between health systems, I expect that there would be no issue about being treated in the UK, Ireland and France because their system is very different to the rest of Europe. Outside of that it is a very different story, from what I have read the usual practice in the event of someone not having insurance is to require your embassy to guarantee payment, so you could be facing a big bill upon your return after an accident.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3143 posts

I'm a senior citizen, reasonably healthy and not expecting to have a medical crisis anytime soon. However, accidents happen and life is not always predictable. For the past several years I have been traveling with Emergency Evacuation Insurance. So far, I haven't had to use it and probably never will. I like having it, anyway, and it isn't expensive. I also have Medicare. I don't think that will pay for anything that happens in Europe. Maybe, once back on American soil it would kick in.

Posted by Rosalyn
1489 posts

It seems to me that there are two important issues involved in the insurance question: 1) What do you already have? 2) What else do you really need? I, for example, was prodded, by these discussions, into checking my Kaiser Senior Advantage plan and discovered that they will cover anything abroad that they cover here. Similarly, if you check your homeowners' insurance, you may discover you're covered for theft of belongings. The really big expense that you might incur on a trip is medical evacuation, and/or repatriation, which can run to the neighborhood of $50,000. (Still need more clarification from Kaiser on this issue) I checked Amex, and for $60 I can get that feature (some medical treatment included which we don't need) for the two of us. Several other companies offer components, rather than comprehensive plans, as well. Which brings up a sub-issue, which is how much of your expenses can you "eat" if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip. Most flight tickets can be changed within a year for a fee. Unless you have prepaid for an expensive tour, the other costs are probably not horribly much.
Postscript to anyone who takes Monte's anecdotal advice: so he once got free treatment. Bully for him! No one else should count on it, though you might be surprised at how inexpensive health care is in Europe. Insurance is for the big costs. Think of fire insurance. Just because your house has never burned down, should you cancel your fire insurance? It's a matter of cost vs potential loss.