Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Shaded Lady

Carnival Cruise Insurance or Not, Don't Travel without it!

Recommended Posts

So I'm going to post a story that will hopefully be a good lesson to some of you in your cruising future.

 

This week my dear friend at work got a call that her father, who was on a Carnival cruise with her step-mom, was being airlifted from the ship to the hospital in the Dominican Republic. He was bleeding internally and they didn't know why, so they did exploratory surgery and he died on the operating table- they believe he had a bleeding ulcer that perforated and he essentially bled to death. The cruiseship packed up their stuff and left it with the port authority.

 

Now my friend and her stepmother are trying to get his body returned to the states... because of a lot of regulations, they won't release his body until an autopsy and a coroner's inquiry is complete, in spite of the fact that he died in the hospital... I guess the rules are different everywhere!

 

The bill so far (care flight from ship to hospital, hospital expenses, surgery etc) is already over $100K and they expect that with the other costs about to come (repatriation of his body, her accommodations while waiting for them to release him) it's expected to total over $250,000!

 

The important part of this story is that they had good cruise insurance. The American consulate got involved immediately (they both had passports so at least that part was easy) and the coordinator for the travel insurance company is working on their behalf to make everything as easy as it could possibly be in this difficult time. In fact, they even worked with the local Coast Guard and the hospital to pay most of the bills directly, unlike most insurances that insist you pay first and they'll reimburse you later (that was partly the insurance coordinator and partly the US consulate working to make that happen!).

 

He was only in his early 60's, in otherwise good health and this incident could have ruined his family financially if they didn't have travel protection. Bad enough that they have to deal with his death, I can't imagine what would happen to them if they were saddled with a huge bill on top of it. They actually say the bills might have been even higher if he'd lived, since he'd have had an extended hospital stay before he could get a medical flight home.

 

Lesson learned! My hubby has had some health scares in the past few years so I never travel without insurance now, but it scares me to think how many times I thought- nah, I'll save the $100 for insurance and use it to enjoy the cruise! Never again will I cruise without insurance.

 

There but for the grace of God...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for your friends circumstance. I know expenses can really add up but it is hard to believe it could be $250,000. I would not pay a dime to the hospital until I had a malpractice attorney review the situation. 

Edited by Purvis1231
typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I buy insurance it's those types of potential expenses that I have in mind when I buy the policy. Thank you for sharing and my condolences to your friend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Purvis1231 said:

I know expenses can really add up but it is hard to believe it could be $250,000. I would not pay a dime to the hospital until I had a malpractice attorney review the situation. 

 

I understand your comment about possible lawsuits, but I also think that this happened in another country where, I assume, legal practices are considerably different. So malpractice suits may not be a reality in this case, I don't know.

 

My friend's step-mom felt like he was getting really good care. In fact they were trying hard to find out what was wrong, to stabilize him, and then get him a medical flight home to be further treated in his hometown. Unfortunately they just couldn't save him- you could be right but the impression I get is that everyone did everything right, it was just really unfortunate that he didn't survive.

 

As for the costs, I can't speak from personal experience, but I remember one poster on CC mentioning that a friend's relative had to be airlifted by the Coast Guard from a ship and the bill was over $50,000. Plus my hubby was hospitalized here in the US 3 years ago for over 4 weeks and the total cost to our insurance plan was over three quarters of a million (+$750,000!) So I don't doubt what my friend is being told, about the potential costs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Purvis1231 said:

Sorry for your friends circumstance. I know expenses can really add up but it is hard to believe it could be $250,000. I would not pay a dime to the hospital until I had a malpractice attorney review the situation. 

It's possible the hospital wouldn't release the remains until they've been paid and the laws are very likely to be different (so different that your US attorney would be lost). I have no trouble seeing a total of $250k when all of the expenses are totaled up. Repatriation of remains isn't an inexpensive proposition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, sparks1093 said:

It's possible the hospital wouldn't release the remains until they've been paid and the laws are very likely to be different (so different that your US attorney would be lost). I have no trouble seeing a total of $250k when all of the expenses are totaled up. Repatriation of remains isn't an inexpensive proposition.

 

Agreed- I just pray that I or no one I know ever has to find out first hand! This whole situation is really scary, with all the what-ifs that could have happened...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Purvis1231 said:

Sorry for your friends circumstance. I know expenses can really add up but it is hard to believe it could be $250,000. I would not pay a dime to the hospital until I had a malpractice attorney review the situation. 

 

The $100,000 already spent is not unusual as the medivac itself can be that much depending on length of flight etc. and to suggest a malpractice attorney is needed is premature. A bleeding ulcer can be life threatening in best of conditions. How awful for the family

Edited by Host Carolyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Host Carolyn said:

 

The $100,000 already spent is not unusual as the medivac itself can be that much depending on length of flight etc. and to suggest a malpractice attorney is needed is premature. A bleeding ulcer can be life threatening in best of conditions. How awful for the family

Agreed, a terrible event under any circumstance, when traveling to a foreign country even more so.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for sharing!  We always buy travel insurance as well for all kids and grands travelling with us.

On our last cruise, our 30 something DD got sunburned on her arms and neck in Cozumel, as well as getting a few mosquito bites.  Her upper arm started swelling, nothing drastic, but painful.  We played Dr Google and attributed the swelling to the sunburn and a possible mosquito bite, and decided to watch closely and visit the onboard Med Center if it worsened.  

She went to urgent care when we got home, thinking possible infection from mosquito bite.  She ended up in CCU with extensive blood clotting in her upper arm.  No known risk factors, so they are doing genetic testing.  Two days in CCU with three specialists, CT scans, ultrasounds, and blood tests all covered by her health insurance which would have been useless had she been diagnosed on the cruise.  

We had good travel insurance, but we thought we were buying due to risks of heart attack, stroke, etc for my DH and myself.

We never thought our healthy and active DD would end up being the one with a health scare that could have financially devastated all of us had it been diagnosed in Belize or Roatan.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting the horrible reminder of the importance of travel insurance.

 

Condolences to your your friend.

Edited by bury me at sea

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally have had to use my travel insurance twice for medical reasons, once for a life flight from Grand Turk to Fort Lauderdale, as well as the hospital costs in Grand Turk, and once for medical transfer from Cape Canaveral Hospital to a rehabilitation center here in Arizona,  I NEVER travel without travel insurance!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Purvis1231 said:

The United States Coast Guard does not charge for their services. 

 

You are most likely correct- however this being in the Dominican Republic I doubt it was the US Coast Guard. I don't even know if it was the local coast guard or some local medic flight that picked him up from the ship... all I can repeat is what my friend was told, that the cost for the medivac from the ship to the hospital, the initial 24 hours in the facility, the surgery and all the other expenses they had incurred at that point was $100K, with a lot more expected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We also would never travel without insurance. We always shop insuremytrip.com and you can customize your needs. Carnival's medevac in not very extensive. We usually get 250-500K medevac and cancel for any reason. As owning a business anything can happen. Better safe than sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Purvis1231 said:

Sorry for your friends circumstance. I know expenses can really add up but it is hard to believe it could be $250,000. I would not pay a dime to the hospital until I had a malpractice attorney review the situation. 

Hospitals in other countries can and do requires payment or payment guarantee upfront.  Your passport can be held until arrangements are made.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Shaded Lady said:

 

You are most likely correct- however this being in the Dominican Republic I doubt it was the US Coast Guard. I don't even know if it was the local coast guard or some local medic flight that picked him up from the ship... all I can repeat is what my friend was told, that the cost for the medivac from the ship to the hospital, the initial 24 hours in the facility, the surgery and all the other expenses they had incurred at that point was $100K, with a lot more expected.

It could have been an actual medi flight.  My SIL was medvaced about 300 miles in state and the bill was $50,000

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for sharing your friend's story.  Best wishes to her.

 

We are in the group then never travels without insurance, just a portion of vacation costs to us like parking and pet sitting.  I wouldn't ever jeopardize our future finances over such a small cost and peace of mind.  We've used it - and been grateful to have it.

 

Nothing will ever convince some that it is worth it, and I hope they never need it and don't have it.

 

Safe travels, everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We carry an annual evacuation policy as we travel frequently.  
 

OP: come back if you become aware of the actual total costs your friend incurred. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Shaded Lady said:

 

You are most likely correct- however this being in the Dominican Republic I doubt it was the US Coast Guard. I don't even know if it was the local coast guard or some local medic flight that picked him up from the ship... all I can repeat is what my friend was told, that the cost for the medivac from the ship to the hospital, the initial 24 hours in the facility, the surgery and all the other expenses they had incurred at that point was $100K, with a lot more expected.

One post mentioned US Coast Guard evacuation costing $50,000. I agree that travel insurance is a must.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Purvis1231 said:

One post mentioned US Coast Guard evacuation costing $50,000. I agree that travel insurance is a must.  

Gotcha. 
 

My friend just flew out this afternoon to the DR to be with her stepmom and to try to expedite the release of her dad’s body. My heart breaks for her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

It's possible the hospital wouldn't release the remains until they've been paid and the laws are very likely to be different (so different that your US attorney would be lost). I have no trouble seeing a total of $250k when all of the expenses are totaled up. Repatriation of remains isn't an inexpensive proposition.

A few years ago my dd had an appendicitis attack while on CCL Dream and we were "offloaded" into a Belize hospital for 3 days.  The hospital actually took our passports when she was admitted.   We luckily had trip insurance, and a credit card that was cleared for travel out of the country.  When the hospital got paid and dd was cleared to leave we were given our passports back.  So I don't doubt other countries do the same.  And I also can easily see a bill of $100,000 to start, with more to come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing this story.

 

It amazes me that some people are so resistant to buying travel insurance and getting passports.

 

You just never know how quickly your vacation can turn into a nightmare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sgttami said:

Thanks for sharing this story.

 

It amazes me that some people are so resistant to buying travel insurance and getting passports.

 

You just never know how quickly your vacation can turn into a nightmare.

 I was one of those people for 7 out of 10 of my cruises... my thoughts were we're healthy, reasonably young and not going on risky excursions- what could go wrong? Save the money and spend it on other things... then, as I said, in 2016 my DH was very sick (he's fine now) but it made me aware of what COULD go wrong and we started buying travel insurance.

 

My daughter just booked a family cruse for next year- she didn't get the insurance because she says they can't afford the extra cost... I asked her if she could afford the medical bills if something happened to them on the cruise? She's young and of course, knows WAY more than I do, so she's not listening. I just told her my friend's story so I'm hoping it changes her mind!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance w/ Steve Dasseos of the TripInsuranceStore.com June 2020
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...