“Bat”ter Safe Than Sorry
Do you travel with an extra $30,000 on hand? Probably not. I didn’t five years ago on a trip to Vietnam, but the insurance I took with me was just as valuable, if not more.
A week into my vacation with my wife, I experienced some pretty severe symptoms. I became extremely sensitive—the softest whisper, the dimmest light, the slightest odor sent me reeling with headaches. Fevers, chills and fainting spells rounded out the most painful and frustrating time of my life.
Without a way to communicate with the local Vietnamese doctors, it took several days for everyone to realize what was wrong with me. I had contracted a life-threatening case of spinal meningitis.
I was finally taken to Saigon’s best hospital where I had my own room, private nurses and doctors—but also bats and lizards!
Speaking with the staff was still difficult as no one there spoke English. Thankfully, despite conditions that were less than sanitary (there were unexplained blood stains on my pillow) and food that was inedible (I am no wimp when it comes to eating; this food was simply not safe to eat) I was on my way to recovery after five days of intense treatment and surveillance. Though it would be several months before I was completely back to normal, I am grateful I was able to receive the care I did.
I am also grateful that before I left for Vietnam I purchased an $80 travel medical insurance policy for my wife and I. Even though I had primary health insurance through a well-known carrier in the states, I knew that if I something happened to either one of us in Vietnam, my US insurance would expect us to pay the bills up front. As I mentioned before, I am not one to carry tens of thousands of dollars with me on vacation.
As an insurance agent specializing in international travel insurance, I was also aware of the many unexpected expenses associated with overseas healthcare. Would my US-based primary insurance cover things like translation fees, international phone calls, medical evacuation or treatment once I returned home? If I died on my trip or became disabled would there be a benefit to return my body or cover costs associated with my disability? I knew in most cases the answer was “no.”
Armed with this knowledge, I bought a travel medical plan—just in case.
I’m glad I did. My travel medical plan paid for my evacuation to Saigon and took care of the up-front costs the hospital needed to begin treatment. It covered the phone calls my wife made for me to the claims office and back home to alert my family of my illness. It translated my medical records and bills from Vietnamese to English and paid 70% of my follow-up care back home. In contrast, my US-based primary health insurance only covered 30% of those costs—after a year-and-half long claims process!
My story is not unique. I often hear from clients who are grateful they invested a few extra dollars in a travel medical policy that ultimately saved them thousands of dollars and a lot of hassle. That’s why I always encourage my clients to take a few minutes to call me so I can find a policy that will fit their budget and give them tremendous peace of mind while they enjoy their time abroad.
If you have any questions about the benefits of a travel medical policy or are ready to purchase a plan, email me today. Most of our plans can be issued in 24 hours and are rich in benefits, even though they’re extremely affordable.
Safe travels…and if you’re ever in Vietnam, watch out for the bats!
Aaron Bates, Client Advisor and Plan Specialist