Medicare and getting sick onboard a cruise ship

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#21
Tacoma, Wa, USA
9,176 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
So Hank
Happy Thanksgiving by the way to you and your family.

Would love to become a GeoBlue member however, I live in Washington State.

I wrote to my Insurance Commissioner about this and they stated something along the lines of ,,, GeoBlue and companies who sell these types of policies are allowed to sell them in Washington State, they just choose not to.

I don't even know what the hell that means.
GeoBlue says they can't sell here, Washington says sure they can, they just choose not to.....


Anyway,,, I have family that live in another State, What would be the ramifications if I were to just say I live there, instead of Washington on my application?
#22
USA
3,102 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by Hlitner
You ask a complex question. In the industry many of us call it Third-Party Liability. But the consumer question is more generally referred to as "coordination of benefits" and how its handled does vary from company to company and policy to policy. Unfortunately, most travel insurance companies prefer to dump most of the burden on the customer (the insured). So in most cases you would first have to pay the medical bill (or try to stall the payment) and first submit the claim information to your primary insurer (which could be your Medicare plan). You then must wait to get your "EOB" which shows what will be paid/covered and what is denied. You would then submit that, along with the appropriate form and all the billing info, to your secondary company (travel insurance) and again wait.

The process does suck and it can take many months to get your reimbursement. And that assumes there are no further issues. One big problem is that many foreign hospitals/physicians do not provide enough billing detail to satisfy US insurers. So before you even leave a hospital it is wise to try to get as much detailed info as possible..

Another issue is that some insurers want all the billing info in English and converted to US Dollars (usually based on the exchange rate at the time of the services). Some insurance providers are very good at finding "innovative" ways to delay reimbursement...sometimes for months or even years. One thing that attracted to us to GeoBlue is that they actually utilize an international netwok of BC/BS Providers. If you are able to use one of their providers you might be able to avoid having to pay most of the bill out-of-pocket.

And finally we add another comment about Medical Evacuation. Not all evacuation coverage will evacuate you to your home country...or home town (MedjetAssist is one exception). If you need evacuation from a place like Egypt, you might well end up in a European hospital or possibly nearby Israel. Many policies simple say they will evacuate you to the nearest "suitable hospital". That is one way the insurers keep their cost down (and also annoy customers). So most policies will not evacuate you from Europe to the USA....but rather to a "suitable" European hospital. This is why many frequent travelers pay the extra money for a Medjetassist Policy.....which will actually evacuate you (if medically necessary) to a suitable hospital (or your choice) near home.

Hank
I can't even imagine three layers of insurance policies - ugh!

Question about deadlines: If one files the claim with the company that one expects to pay eventually (call it A), but needs to first get denial of payment from B and perhaps another company C, this takes time. And more time. Etc.

So would making that initial filing prior to any filing deadline be sufficient, even if the other companies take longer (alone or sequentially) to determine what, if anything, they would pay?

Thanks.
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GeezerCouple

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#23
USA
3,102 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by klfrodo
So Hank
Happy Thanksgiving by the way to you and your family.

Would love to become a GeoBlue member however, I live in Washington State.

I wrote to my Insurance Commissioner about this and they stated something along the lines of ,,, GeoBlue and companies who sell these types of policies are allowed to sell them in Washington State, they just choose not to.

I don't even know what the hell that means.
GeoBlue says they can't sell here, Washington says sure they can, they just choose not to.....


Anyway,,, I have family that live in another State, What would be the ramifications if I were to just say I live there, instead of Washington on my application?
You don't really want to do that, if you don't actually live there.
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GeezerCouple

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GeezerCouple [at] yahoo [dot] com
#24
Grosse Pointe, MI
3,901 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by weregoingcruising
In the event of emergancy I have the info instantly to look at on my phone or tablet. Hope this info is helpful for you and everyone else on CC.
A very good point...make sure your insurance is easily accessible. I just left the PDF of the Geoblu info on my email. Last year, I fell while out for a run in Madrid. When I got back to the hotel room, with my arm hurting and bleeding, I didn't have the patience to work my way through the Spanish version of Yahoo to get into my mailbox. I should have hardcopied the information right to the tablet so even my non techy DH could find it with some help from me.

It all came out ok...Spanish hospital ended up not charging us anything for the stitches and tetanus shot. And, that was after a pharmacist clean and dressed the wound a bit (we had gone into the nearest pharmacia after I fell to buy some first aid supplies). She also didn't charge us, but told us it needed stitches. Then we went to a local clinic, which cleaned and dressed it again (again for free), but sent us to a hospital for the stitches. All this would have probably ran into the thousands in the US.
#25
New Cumberland,PA, USA
30,452 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by GeezerCouple
I can't even imagine three layers of insurance policies - ugh!

Question about deadlines: If one files the claim with the company that one expects to pay eventually (call it A), but needs to first get denial of payment from B and perhaps another company C, this takes time. And more time. Etc.

So would making that initial filing prior to any filing deadline be sufficient, even if the other companies take longer (alone or sequentially) to determine what, if anything, they would pay?

Thanks.
Wish I had thought of that when I was working. Simply put a time limit on filing, make the customer go to their primary insurance first, and by the time they are able to file with the secondary..simply say, "oops, you are too late."

But seriously, you do ask a good question. My advice is that if you get into the situation where you do file a claim, go ahead and call your secondary company and ask their procedures and filing deadlines (and then ask to see it in writing). As I said earlier, the biggest problem is getting the foreign medical provider to give you enough detailed info so that the insurance company can figure out how to code the details of the claim. Most of the secondary policies do give you a long time to file (sometimes up to a year) but its just smart to find out their current procedures and deadlines...at the time you have a real claim.

Hank
#26
Las Vegas
11,974 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by ducklite
We have insurance that will cover us out of network to a certain amount, and then full coverage after that threshold it hit. If we had medical bills over $50k, we would be out about $10K. We are comfortable with that risk.

I beg to differ on the cost of a private medivac charter. $100k is about right from Europe, from Tahiti it could be $250K to LA, at least an additional $50K to our home in Orlando. I know someone who was flown air ambulance from Myrtle Beach to Chicago after a catastrophic injury, and the cost was $50K. My cousin was just medivaced from the west coast to NYC, no idea on the cost, and obviously this isn't the time to ask, but I will eventually find out.


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We did a land trip to Antarctica a while back that included 10 landings and a number of on land activities. If I remember correctly, we were required to have one million in evacuation insurance. Can you imagine what an evacuation from Antarctica to the nearest appropriate medical facility would cost.

We now do more normal trips and carry a yearly policy that covers medical, evacuation and some other useless stuff such as trip delay.

DON
#27
1,353 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Not sure where the poster who posted about the medical evac costs obtained their information. While many patients can and are transported on a commercial airline with a medical person in attendance, a true private medical jet is very expensive. Probably about $50-100k from Europe, easily $150k-$200k from Asia. While $500k is pretty much impossible a policy with only $50k is really only good in the US and the Caribbean.



The 50K is sure better then the cruise line policies although we prefer policies with at least $100k med. The Trip Evacuation issue has become a real con...that is used by darn near all the companies. The reality is that its almost impossible for a company to spend over $50K on any med evac (even a chartered private medical evac jet costs less). So most companies are now marketing real high numbers (ours has $500k), but not providing the very high medical limits.
#30
USA/NZ
487 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Cruiseco, Buzz's evacuation will be courtesy of the tax payer. Many moons ago my husband was evacuated from South Pole to Christchurch for surgery. When he was evacuated he was US Navy, transferred to NSFA for his time on the ice. NSFA was under dept of Treasury at that time.


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#32
15,316 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by klfrodo

Anyway,,, I have family that live in another State, What would be the ramifications if I were to just say I live there, instead of Washington on my application?
That's insurance fraud. Your claim would be denied.
#33
3,664 Posts
Joined Jan 2000
Originally posted by 6rugrats
That's insurance fraud. Your claim would be denied.
They often ask for a photocopy of your driver's license so getting caught can be a high probability.

There can be major differences in one plan when sold to residents of different states so they do watch for this type of thing to make sure the plan version being bought matches what is registered with the state's department of insurance.
#34
2 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
I spoke with GeoBlue about coverage/evacuation in Alaska since I am going on a cruise. I have a GeoBlue policy for international travel. GeoBlue does not cover Alaska if you are a US resident. They only provide international coverage. Finding a policy for medical and evaluation while on a cruise to Alaska has been an issue. American Express does have a Global Medical Evacuation policy which covers emergency care and evacuation which is much more reasonable than insurance offered by the ship and better coverage.
#35
Tacoma, Wa, USA
9,176 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Originally posted by Duseanus
I spoke with GeoBlue about coverage/evacuation in Alaska since I am going on a cruise. I have a GeoBlue policy for international travel. GeoBlue does not cover Alaska if you are a US resident. They only provide international coverage. Finding a policy for medical and evaluation while on a cruise to Alaska has been an issue. American Express does have a Global Medical Evacuation policy which covers emergency care and evacuation which is much more reasonable than insurance offered by the ship and better coverage.
I've got MedJetAssist (thru AARP) who provides evacuation from anywhere in the world (with an airport nearby) as long as you are more than 150 miles from home.

https://medjetassist.com/?source=adw...SAAEgJSK_D_BwE
#36
St. Augustine, FL
8,248 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by Hlitner
We do not necessarily think Trip Insurance is a "rip off" but do think it is generally an overpriced product (often costing 7-10%+ of trip costs). However, we do purchase an Annual Travel Medical Policy which provides $250,000 of Medical Coverage (as compared to the inadequate $10,000 of many Trip Insurance policies). And our annual policy costs $450 a year which is the total cost for DW and me....and covers the first 70 days of EVERY trip we take throughout the entire year. In our case that one policy gave us coverage for 103 days of cruising and 2 months in Mexico.....during the current year.

If one really wants to get some trip cancellation coverage it is easy to get one of the Credit Cards (such as Chase Sapphire) that gives you cancellation coverage (in the case of Chase it is $10,000 per trip).

Hank
Would you mind sharing the company that you got theAnnual Travel Medical Insurance from? Or you can contact me at:
suzyed at aol dot com Thanks
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Susan and Chuck
Life is not measured by how many breaths you take, but by how many moments take your breath away!



CARNIVAL, CUNARD, ROYAL CARIBBEAN, CELEBRITY, PRINCESS, MSC
#37
Columbia, Md
2,647 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Originally posted by suzyed
Would you mind sharing the company that you got theAnnual Travel Medical Insurance from? Or you can contact me at:
suzyed at aol dot com Thanks
He has posted many times about this. Unless it has changed it is Geo blue. I am sure he will update to confirm.
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#38
St. Augustine, FL
8,248 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by dickinson
He has posted many times about this. Unless it has changed it is Geo blue. I am sure he will update to confirm.
Thanks
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Susan and Chuck
Life is not measured by how many breaths you take, but by how many moments take your breath away!



CARNIVAL, CUNARD, ROYAL CARIBBEAN, CELEBRITY, PRINCESS, MSC
#39
Texas
1,770 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
We BCBS PPO and I have been told by the company that we are covered worldwide at places that accept BCBS. How would you know if they took you somewhere? So I still buy secondary insurance with evac and cancellation.

. I’d love geoblue but we live in Texas so I guess that’s out. Since we cruise at least 3 weeks a year I’d like a comprehensive policy as we also travel a lot in the country and it might be cheaper? These questions always come up every cruise and I’m never sure I’m buying the right thing.

Most recently I’ve been using a Nationwide cruise policy. I agree that the million dollar evac is way too much. I usually get $250k for evac and like the same or at least 100k for medical. Being in the medical field I know costs can add up very quickly. 2k for sepsis was super cheap! We’d pay more then that out of pocket here.
#40
Columbia, Md
2,647 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Why do you say it is out because you live in Texas? I just went to their site and put in a Houston zip code and came up with some plans. Geo Blue Trekker is the travel insurance plan.
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Carnival Mardi Gras 4/1988
NCL Norway 8/1990
Carnival Sensation 8/1996
Carnival Sensation 4/9/2000
Carnival Paradise 2/1/2002
Carnival Triumph 1/31/2004
Carnival Paradise - 14 day Panama Canal 9/6/2004
Golden Princess 6/9/2012

Caribbean Princess 9/21/2013
Crown Princess - San Diego 2/2015
Grand Princess - Hawaii 2/2015
Royal Princess - 4/2015 B2B - TA/British Isles
Carnival Pride - 1/2016 B2B - Caribbean
Crown Princess - 10/20/2016 - 28 day RT Hawaii/South Pacific
Royal Princess - 4/19/2017 - 28 day B2B TA & Mediterranean
Crown Princess - 11/8/2017 - 10 day B2B Caribbean
Royal Princess - 12/30/2017 - 10 day Southern Caribbean