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Travel health insurance

San Francisco
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148 posts
79 reviews
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Travel health insurance

We are having trouble determining whether to buy "repatriation" insurance in case my husband or I get sick or injured while visiting Turkey in May. We are 66, athletic, and in good health. We have health insurance here in the US that will cover emergency medical needs anywhere we go, but a prolonged hospital stay, or the need to come back home to the US while still needing medical care, is not included.

Accidents do happen and illness may suddenly appear, no matter where you might be. Does anyone have advice about buying travel insurance that would cover the expense of cutting short one's vacation and flying back home due to a medical problem?

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Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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14,158 posts
246 reviews
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1. Re: Travel health insurance

I do not travel without health insurance. Medicare will not cover any person outside of the US. You must have an unusual Medicare Supplemental Policy, because our supplemental policy, for which we pay over $1000/month, will not cover anything Medicare denies.

If you have a serious medical event and you need to return to the US, the cost for that type of medical evacuation is enormous......enough to put a serious dent in our travel budget for the next couple of decades.

Even people who are in great health can have a medical crisis or be in an accident. I worked with health insurance for over 30 years. I met many people who were healthy and saw no reason to spend money on unnecessary health insurance. The vast majority of them were right, and when I knew them they had no significant medical issues. Occasionally, however, someone would have a catastrophic event. One family was struck head-on by an 18-wheeler. One family had pre-mature twins. One man went hunting and was shot accidentally by his companion. One healthy 45 year old man had a massive heart attack with no warning. You cannot really predict the future based on your health right now.

Travel health insurance is expensive. You have to decide if you are willing to take the financial risk of not having it, or spend the money to insure that you will be able to get home regardless of what happens to you. Turkish medical care is quite good. Many people visit Turkey to receive medical care. It can, however result it a bit of a bill, and you have to pay for it. Generally they expect you to pay cash rather than wait for insurance reimbursement.

I shop around for travel insurance, but I frequently go with insuremytrip.com

San Francisco
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148 posts
79 reviews
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2. Re: Travel health insurance

Yes, we have traveled independently all over the planet, every year for the past 25 years with nothing more serious than two cases of food poisoning. However, we are older now, and appreciate that "anything could happen" at our age.

We are insured with Kaiser, and they have told us we are eligible for reimbursable emergency medical expenses ANYWHERE we go. Waiting to be reimbursed when we get home does not concern us. What I'm looking into is insurance for emergency flight evacuation home again, in the event we need to cancel the vacation and go home for further care.

The only thing I have found so far is "Med Jet Assist," a one-month policy (length of our vacation) for about $200. It doesn't seem like much to pay for the peace of mind, but I was wondering if anyone else could offer specific info or references. Buy and hope for the best as far as them holding up their end of the deal?

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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14,158 posts
246 reviews
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3. Re: Travel health insurance

I used Med Jet Assist before we had to switch our health care coverage to Medicare at age 65. I never had to use any of their services, but it did give me peace of mind to know that we would be able to get back home if something dreadful happened to one of us. I have no references for this company. I just selected them after Googling because all I was really looking for was emergency evacuation because our Blue Cross policy provided international coverage for medical expenses, and we were not bothered by cash upfront with reimbursement to follow.

I had to move to a more expensive policy when we lost our Bue Cross coverage so that we also had medical coverage until we were able to get back into the US. Thus I started to use insuremytrip.com. It is more money than Med Jet Assist, but it provides more coverage.

I am jealous that you are able to participate in Kaiser. It is a really great program for those of us 65 and over. There are so few programs like that available that I forget they exist.

San Francisco
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148 posts
79 reviews
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4. Re: Travel health insurance

Thanks. I hope to hear from someone before we go. If not, I'll just go for it.

Chicago, Illinois
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117 reviews
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5. Re: Travel health insurance

There are lots and lots of companies that offer it. This is a good site for comparing companies.

Squaremouth.com. Most policies have a mix of coverage for medical and evacuation as well as things like missed flights and lost luggage. But you can select policies with just the medical/evac insurance if you want.

Thankfully I've never had to actually use it so I can't offer a personal reference as to how any specific company handles claims. But squaremouth.com is definitely a good starting point for researching and comparing options.

Huntington Beach...
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6. Re: Travel health insurance

If you have American Express Platinum or Centurion (Black) level, then you will have built in "get me out of here" coverage. It is included in your yearly card fee. I have it and it is comforting to know that someone will get you home or repatriate your "mortal remains" should it be necessary.

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
14,158 posts
246 reviews
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7. Re: Travel health insurance

I have an AmEx Platinum card, and I just read my terms and conditions and no where do I find this benefit. Is there something unique about your Platinum card. I would love to have this coverage.

Huntington Beach...
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8. Re: Travel health insurance

Call the number on the back of your card and speak with an Amex agent and they will review your benefits, to include those of travel more than 100 miles away from home.

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
14,158 posts
246 reviews
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9. Re: Travel health insurance

Thanks photoguy, I hope I have these benefits. It would save some money.

Huntington Beach...
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5,857 posts
484 reviews
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10. Re: Travel health insurance

You might give them a phone call so that you will understand exactlly is covered, and what is not covered.