Sunday, February 14, 2010

Keeping Travel Affordable

When doing a house swap in a foreign country, make sure you have adequate travel health insurance!   Above all, make sure that when applying for insurance you clearly indicate any pre-conditions you have had and medicine regime prescribed by your doctor.  This will affect the cost of your insurance but leaves no room for the insurance company to deny coverage should you need medical care in a foreign country. 

While hiking in the hills of the French Basque country,  I had an unexpected heart attack.  Lucky me that it happened in France which has the most advanced medical system in the world.  It took the ambulance a mere 20 minutes to arrive from Bayonne, a distance which under normal circumstances would take at least 45 minutes.  One thing I did not expect is the fact that in France all ambulances come staffed with  a qualified physician.  After treatment at one of the best cardiac centers in Bayonne, I was released 4 days later having had 3 cardiologists at my disposal.  

The total cost of treatment (angioplasty, tests and medications, service of 3 cardiologists, ambulance) came to a mere $15,000   -  I am sure this cost would have been higher in Canada and in the US I probably would have had to remortgage my home.   The insurance company insisted that we extend our stay in France by a week, to which we happily complied!  We were  able to use our Visa card to pay the medical bill.  (more aeroplan miles for the next trip!)  A few weeks later, after having returned to Canada,  the insurance company reimbursed us the full amount minus a $200 deductible. 

The bottom line:  BE SURE YOU HAVE ADEQUATE INSURANCE AND THAT ALL PRE-CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN REPORTED WHEN APPLYING.  It is just not worth it to do otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is always extremely interesting and relevant.

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