Travel Insurance test drive!

Well 10 years in the U.S. and never had to test out the medical system till this past weekend. My wife had an allergic reaction that had her looking like she was auditioning for Finding Nemo 2. At about 6:00 PM it was time to take her to Emergency at local hospital.

Pulled up front of hospital, off to a good start – Free Parking! Into the Emergency and receptionist had us fill out a short form, name, address, birthdate etc. nothing special. Two minutes later we were in the Triache room with attendant taking vitals, minute later in comes nurse. No one has asked for proof of medical insurance or payment.

Two minutes later we are in Emergency examination room with wife being hooked up to monitors etc. within 5 minutes Doctor arrives, diagnoses allergic reaction and advises that they will start and IV and give Benadryl injection to stem swelling. Our private room is well equipped with all required screens, meters and gauges. Free TV is available so next two hours goes quickly.  The Doctor visits again and gives her ok to go home, four prescriptions and instructions. Girl arrives with portable PC terminal, explains that she is from admissions and needs to collect details. I advise her that we are Canadian and give her our Great West Travel Medical card and ID. She leaves for about 10 minutes, returns and says everything all set and informs us that they will bill our insurance company directly.

Just before leaving second girl arrives and asks if we would be able to fill out a Satisfaction Survey, sure. Was our service prompt and courteous, how long was you wait, were we kept informed as to treatment etc.

So let’s do some comparisons here… Free parking! In treatment room within 5 minutes! See doctor within 10 minutes! Fill out a Satisfaction Survey!

Yup, U.S. healthcare sucks!

About 2sidesof49

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4 Responses to Travel Insurance test drive!

  1. flynnroad says:

    The US Healthcare system is great if you have insurance. and if you have an insurance plan without a very high deductable. My brother doesn’t have health insurance. If the same thing happened to him everything would have been the same until it came time to pay. He probably would have got a bill for at least $1,000 that he would have to pay out of pocket. But, yes, probably free parking 🙂

    When I was living in the US, I had a good healthcare plan with a normal deductable. When my wife needed surgery for a cyst in her foot, I had to pay 15% of the bill. So, about $1,500. This was on top of my paying about $450 / month for two people as my part of the good insurance plan that my employer didn’t cover. We got about many bills from the different parts of the procedure and had no way to keep of track of the paperwork to figure out if we were getting screwed somehow. Bill 1: anesthesiologist. Bill 2: Surgeons bill. Bill 3: Hospital Bill, Bill 4: Post Surgery care etc etc etc. These all come scattered over about a 6-month period.

    My cousin has health insurance in Florida as a public school teacher. You would think a public school teacher would have just about the most awesome health insurance in the country. Her husband got some sort of horrible condition and BOTH his kidneys failed. When the hospital knew they had insurance, they wanted her to pay her high deductible UP FRONT! This was a few thousand dollars. He was in the hospital dying and they were trying to squeeze the deductible out of her before they continued treatment.

    Check out this NBC News story.

    Then check this out: I found this when I was trying to figure out what was going on with my cousin since I was shocked at the story and didn’t think it would happen in America. But, apparantly, some doctors are trying to get high deductable patients to pay upfront.

    For explanation on why this is important to a hospital/doctor.
    Patient A has $5,000 deductable on their plan. That means they pay the first $5,000 of services out of pocket before the insurance companies pay anything. Doctor does service and sends bill to insurance company. Company says, “Sorry, you need to get $5,000 from patient” Doctor now has to squeeze this out of the patient. Most Americans, like Canadians don’t have $5,000 laying around in savings for an unexpected surgery. It is up to the patient to file all the proper paperwork to prove they have paid their deductable. Most of my Us friends are not detailed and responsible enough to handle this properly. I think it is a disaster.

    • 2sidesof49 says:

      Yeah, as I said it was the first time that we tested out the system. More a statement of how good our travel insurance is as opposed to what the real costs are as we never did see a bill. Interesting that our supplementary insurance is just a little over $400.00/month about what you were paying in the U.S. It only covers 60 days out of country but, given the numbers you quoted, a trip back to Canada to reset the 60 day clock is cheaper than the alternative. I think you can also get “top up” insurance to extend past the 60 days but I have not had to do this yet. My friends are heading down to the U.S. for the winter and he has had stint, their travel insurance was over $3,200. for the winter.

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