Is International Medical Coverage for You?

When booking a vacation, you are typically offered the option to purchase some type of trip protection coverage and possibly even international medical coverage. 

Do you ever contemplate the necessity of purchasing these policies?  Is it really worth the additional cost?

Reluctantly, I end up taking the trip protection coverage, just in case an unforeseen event arises and I can’t make the trip.  But historically, I have not purchased any type of international medical coverage.  Rest assured, the next trip scheduled out of the country, both trip protection and international medical coverage will be purchased. 

The next obvious question, why?

While dependent on age, duration of trip, deductible, and policy maximums, the cost is nominal in comparison to the risk of being caught without coverage when traveling abroad.  International medical coverage would typically cover professional and inpatient hospital services, including surgery, anesthesia, diagnostic x-ray and lab tests at 100% with no deductible.  Other benefits, including medical evacuation, have high plan maximums (for example, $500,000). 

Case Study

The following case study provides a real life example of how a policy with a $23 premium saved the insured over $80,000 in costs related to a medical emergency.

Location: Nha Trang, Vietnam, a popular beach town situated 300 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City.  Travel time by bus is approximately 12 hours.  The client was on his honeymoon having traveled to Vietnam from Washington, D.C.   Prior to his trip, the client purchased international medical coverage from HTH Worldwide.

Medical Situation: After experiencing severe abdominal pain, member seeks medical treatment on his own at a local clinic in Nha Trang.  The doctor recommends surgery at an in-patient facility in Ho Chi Minh City.  The member had a pre-existing medical condition and called HTH for assistance. 

Diagnosis: Perforated duodenal ulcer requiring immediate surgery, along with related medical problems. 

Action Plan: Given the patient’s medical history and the critical medical condition, as well as the lack of appropriate medical facilities in Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City, HTH’s medical assistance team arranges to transport the patient via air ambulance to Bangkok, Thailand.  In Thailand, the patient will be treated by a U.S. Board certified gastroenterologist affiliated with an internationally recognized hospital operated by a U.S. based company. 

Hospital Discharge: Once the patient was considered fit to fly, HTH coordinated and paid for the return trip to the U.S. to continue treatment.  Doctors advised that a non-medical transport would be appropriate and the spouse’s transportation costs were covered as well. 

Medical services in Vietnam:  $1,788

Air ambulance evacuation to Thailand:  $45,000

Medical services in Thailand:  $28,523

Patient and non-medical escort:  $11,232

Total incurred expenses:  $86,543

Premium Paid for TravelGap Excursion Coverage:  $23

Future Travel Plans

I’ve always had the attitude that the situation above would never happen to me.  However, few individuals are prepared for the financial cost of a medical emergency abroad.  If I am unwilling to go without health care coverage in my daily life, why would I go without it while on vacation in a foreign country? 

The carrier, HTH Worldwide, listed above offers plans that are “A rated” and provides superior benefits and services not available elsewhere. Founded in 1997, HTH Worldwide provides travel health insurance plans and assistance services to 650,000 travelers per year. Their programs are distinguished by a contracted community of over 6,000 elite providers in 180 countries.

So, the next time you go to book a vacation, contact Caravus and we will prepare a customized quote for your trip.