Your experience getting travel insurance?

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rogerbid

Member
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May 16, 2017
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11
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Hi everyone,

I am hoping there is an Australian member who can suggest where to go for travel insurance with heart surgery in one's health history.

I had a mitral valve repair in July 2017 and consider myself to be fully recovered. A routine review last month confirmed I am in good health with no ongoing problems.

My wife and I are planning a cruise in September and because the itinerary takes in US and Canadian ports we must have adequate travel insurance. Most companies have declined cover and the one that has quoted wants close to $4000 premium, for a 21 day trip, 12 days cruise. (The cruise fare for both if us is far less than this).

Has anyone found a company that offers adequate cover at a reasonable additional premium after heart surgery? I accept that an additional premium is inevitable but this quote seems excessive.

Thanks,

Rogerbid
 

pellicle

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Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
no problems so far (done a bit of travel since my surgeries, well all of it really as I had my first at 10 or something like that)

(*spits wine) four grand ... bugger me ... friggin highway robbery. Who was this and what did you say to them? PM me if you want to "chew the fat"
 

rogerbid

Member
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May 16, 2017
Messages
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
Thanks Pellicle for the reply.

Needless to say I have cancelled the proposed trip, reluctantly, but travel to USA without insurance is a recipe for disaster! The quote was from InsureandGo, but at least they quoted, all the others simply declined to cover me!

I will write to ask for a review but am not hopeful of a satisfactory outcome. I will write again (for the benefit of members who may look for posts concerning insurance) to let you know how things turn out!

Cheers,

Roger
 

Warrick

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Dec 27, 2015
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520
Location
New Zealand
I have just been to England and am going to the US in 3 weeks for work, I questioned the insurance with my “condition” and this is the wording from my employers insurance-
Health Requirements
All insured persons must be medically fit for the planned travel.
We will not be liable for any losses directly or indirectly arising as a result of an insured person travelling when they are
unfit to do so, travelling against medical advice, travelling to seek medical attention, or where an insured person been
diagnosed with a terminal condition prior to travel.


I think the term “medically fit” is quite ambiguous, as who decides that..
would be pretty easy to decline based on that wording alone I reckon
 

rogerbid

Member
Joined
May 16, 2017
Messages
11
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I have just been to England and am going to the US in 3 weeks for work, I questioned the insurance with my “condition” and this is the wording from my employers insurance-
Health Requirements
All insured persons must be medically fit for the planned travel.
We will not be liable for any losses directly or indirectly arising as a result of an insured person travelling when they are
unfit to do so, travelling against medical advice, travelling to seek medical attention, or where an insured person been
diagnosed with a terminal condition prior to travel.


I think the term “medically fit” is quite ambiguous, as who decides that..
would be pretty easy to decline based on that wording alone I reckon
Hi Warrick,
Thank you for the message. I am glad that you are travelling with cover through your employers policy, a 'perk' well worth having! Maybe the premium paid by your employers (unless they are going 'self insured') is enough to enable them to skip the individual health assessment of employees likely to travel. You are fortunate not to have to detail each and every pre-exisiting condition! As a matter of interest, would you be able to name your employers' insurers/underwriters since they seem to have a very realistic approach.
I wish you a great experience in USA, sorry I will not be going too!! :)
Roger
 

Paleowoman

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Surrey, UK
I think those of us with heart valve replacement can be in a very difficult position when it comes to travel health insurance. The questions on application are things like “are you seeing a hospital doctor about a heart condition ?” or similarly phrased. Answer is “yes” even if the problem is not due to a heart disease but due to a birth defect. And that puts the price of insurance up. If undeclared, if a person has a serious accident while on holiday, an insurance company might try to wriggle out of paying up if they found out there was something like an undeclared valve replacement even in the unrelated event of an RTA. I wouldn’t like to chance it as costs of health care can be very high, but travel health insurance could be very high too.

I'm interested in this topic as I often travel in Europe, I’ve never gone outside of it so not had to ever buy travel health insurance, but being in the UK we may be facing problems with travel insurance when we travel to other European countries if the UK leaves the EU with a no-deal Brexit. Currently we can travel within the EU using a government reciprocal card (E111) which covers us for treatment for any health problems while on holiday in the EU, though obviously not elsewhere.
 

AZ Don

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Apr 23, 2013
Messages
681
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I used TravelGuard for my daughter when she took an extended trip to Europe. It was quite reasonable. I just got a quote for a trip for myself and the price ranges from $117 to $193 for a week long trip to Europe. They cover medical expenses, even for pre-existing conditions as long as:
PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITION EXCLUSION: The Insurer will not pay for loss or expense incurred as the result of Injury or Sickness of an Insured or Immediate Family Member which manifests itself, worsened, became acute, or had symptoms, which would prompt a reasonable person to seek diagnosis, care, or treatment, or request treatment by a physician or treatment had been recommended during the 180 days immediately preceding and including the Insured’s coverage effective date, unless the condition is controlled through the taking of prescription drugs or medication and remains controlled throughout the 180-day period. A Sickness has manifested itself when medical care, treatment, or diagnosis has been given.
Seems reasonable. As long as the condition is stable/controlled for the prior 6 months you're covered. There is a lot of fine print which I don't have time to read right now. Here is the Description of Coverage:
https://www.travelguard.com/TGContent/TGE/48616/certificate.pdf
 

Greg a

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KITCHENER, ONTARIO, CANADA
Contact your medical Ombudsman and ask if there is any reciprocal health coverage but when we travelled to Mexico we just notified my life insurance carrier and my wife's benefit administrator … I know there are agreements between most UK countries ........ e had a charge of ZIP,.NAdA nothing not interested in travel to the U.S. with the political climate
 

Protimenow

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Not exactly on this specific topic - but related. Before I had my AVR, I asked the surgeons if I would have problems getting life insurance after the surgery. They told me that it would be easier, because I had my heart repaired.

Either they lied, or were ignorant, but it's hard to get indepent insurance (not part of a large group policy), even though the surgery extended, rather than reduced, my life.

When I used to travel, I would take out flight insurance. It covered medical situations while at my destination. It didn't ask about medical condition (but the policy may have had text excluding my 'condition.')
 

rogerbid

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May 16, 2017
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
Thank you to all who have added to this thread.

Firstly, thanks Rainbow but 1Cover is one of those that refused cover!

Don, I have not heard of Travelguard before but have just checked their website and in Australia at least, they only offer cover to those under 70. We are 72 & 73!

Paleowoman, we are hoping to find it easier to get cover for UK and Europe, we can live without setting foot on US soil again if necessary. We might renew our lapsed UK passports if that will help too.

We have various ombudsmen services here in Australia but I am not sure any will offer any help when it comes to purchase of insurance. For example the Financial Services Ombudsmen will help if the dispute is about a declined claim.

My next course of action is to appeal and ask for a one off assessment, since the narrow Yes/No answers to an online questionnaire probably makes it sound as though I am at death's door! 'No treatment received nor completed' could be interpreted as beyond hope as opposed to too minor to worry about!

I will post updates as things develop.

Thanks for all the interest,

Roger
 

rogerbid

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Melbourne, Australia
Hi Protimenow,

Your post came as I was writing my earlier message. I would have thought a patient who has had successful surgery is a far better risk than an unknown who might have goodness knows what condition about to manifest itself.
 

LondonAndy

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I don't know if this will help, being from the UK, but last month I used "Travel Insurance Saver" for a 2 week trip to the US and paid about £450 (A$800) and I have valve, pacemaker, bypass and diabetes.
 

Protimenow

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Hi Protimenow,

Your post came as I was writing my earlier message. I would have thought a patient who has had successful surgery is a far better risk than an unknown who might have goodness knows what condition about to manifest itself.
Yes. That's what the doctors told me.

From an actuarial standpoint, the percentage of people, from a massive population who die of any cause is lower than the percentage of people who die after having heart surgery. Even though the risk is reduced for this population, the actuaries see this as a higher risk than the one experienced by the general population. Or, at least that's how I figure that the insurance companies must think.

If they ever do research into survival rates of people who've had valves replaced with prosthetic valves, and compare the result to the risks experienced by the general population, perhaps that would change. But I can't see them going out of their way to REDUCE premiums.
 

JessofLA

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Nov 2, 2018
Messages
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Location
Los Angeles
Hi everyone,

I am hoping there is an Australian member who can suggest where to go for travel insurance with heart surgery in one's health history.

I had a mitral valve repair in July 2017 and consider myself to be fully recovered. A routine review last month confirmed I am in good health with no ongoing problems.

My wife and I are planning a cruise in September and because the itinerary takes in US and Canadian ports we must have adequate travel insurance. Most companies have declined cover and the one that has quoted wants close to $4000 premium, for a 21 day trip, 12 days cruise. (The cruise fare for both if us is far less than this).

Has anyone found a company that offers adequate cover at a reasonable additional premium after heart surgery? I accept that an additional premium is inevitable but this quote seems excessive.

Thanks,

Rogerbid
Slightly off subject, but directed to Americans, at the very end of our three-week stay in Paris last year and 12 hours before we were supposed to depart, my psoas muscle burst.
In excruciating pain at 2:30 in the morning we took a taxi to the American hospital. Other than the doctors and one nurse, nobody spoke any English but the doctor care was excellent. The nurses were overworked and not terribly helpfull. After surgery on day three and a total of 12 days in the hospital, TravelGuard called me every day, flew us home on business class and paid for approximately 1/3 of the hospital expense after my Insurance carrier, Kaiser, paid 2/3. Highly recommended for Americans traveling overseas.
That said, I would guess that the cost of my surgery and hospitalization was approximately 1/10 or 1/20 of what it would have cost in the US. (That is obscene).
 

Protimenow

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California
Yes. The cost of medical care in the U.S. IS obscene.
(Excuse me while I step off my soapbox) -- OOPS

JESSOFLA--I'm sorry about the muscle, glad you had good insurance, and happy you were so well cared for.

(Insurance companies like to do things like this, when there's a very rare claim. The patients talk about it, inflating the Insurance company's reputation. It's the more usual stuff where the insurance carriers usually fall down. )
 

aussiemember

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Feb 17, 2006
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Location
Melbourne Australia
Have you tried RACV? I’ve used them within Australia - have declared I’ve had a MVR on the online assessment with no problems - haven’t tried overseas insurance though
 

rogerbid

Member
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May 16, 2017
Messages
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
Sorry folks for the delay in replying.

Aussiemember - RACV was one of the ones that declined cover!
JessofLA - sorry to hear of your experience but good to hear TravelGuard were so helpful.
Agian - good point, I think I will. I have read that the reciprocal cover between Oz and UK only covers emergency treatment but as a UK National I should be able to get full NHS treatment, even with an expired passport?
LondonAndy - thanks, I have not heard of Travel Insurance Saver but have found an Aussie website. I will try them!

I have approached several insurers asking if they have a medical team to reassess online medical histories but have yet to have a favourable reply.

I realise I omitted an important point in my original post - I had to reply Yes to a question 'Have you been told that the arteries in your heart are blocked or narrowed'. Answered yes because OM1 has a 40% narrowing, but my GP says the OM1 is a minor issue. The answer Yes implies it is a major risk. Without further explanation one can understand the insurance co assumes the worst.

Thanks and best wishes to all,

Roger
 

Agian

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Location
Adelaide, South Australia
Roger, a U.K. passport is 'proof' of British citizenship (I assume you're a dual national). As such, you should be able to access the NHS. This should give you privileges in the EU as well. Just to be sure, you should renew your UK passport. You exit and enter Australia with an Australian passport and only use the U.K. one in and out of the U.K. and Europe. This will prevent any misunderstandings. If you enter an EU country with a British passport the host country should honour any agreements of reciprocality. Britain hasn't left the EU yet. At the very least you'll be covered in the U.K.
 
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