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Using Plan F (Medicare Supplemental) for Travel Insurance
Old 09-30-2015, 12:45 PM   #1
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Using Plan F (Medicare Supplemental) for Travel Insurance

Given the significant premium on travel insurance when you are in Medicare, we tested using our credit card (Chase Sapphire) coupled with Plan F international coverage and a medical evacuation provider for a recent trip to Europe.
DW missed the last step coming down a hotel concrete staircase and broke her kneecap in Vienna last May. We took an ambulance to one of the city's major hospital where they put her a full leg plaster cast. We could stay in Vienna and have surgery but would have to wait several days before swelling reduced. We opted to take Bus Class home the following day, missing the last 3 days of a 9 day tour, and cancelling prepaid flights from our original departure city (Prague).
Chase fully covered the lost days of the tour and the value of our cancelled flights. Unfortunately no benefit for the large premium for the day of travel business class fare home. The medical bill from the hospital was very reasonable at 375, but the ambulance was nearly 800. Our plan F (Premera-BBS) covered the cost at 80% after a 250 deductible. Premera uses something called Worldwide Blue which apparently is a contract service for all the Blues operated by AXA insurance.
Key learning is that both Chase and Premera, copies of all receipts are absolutely essential. For Premera, they required detailed medical records, not just the bill we got in the mail. While Chase was definitely easier to work with than Premera (Chase outsources to Crawford Insurance to administer), their underwriters still required documentation for every element of the claim. For example, they wanted evidence that I had cancelled the original flight. We had used British Air and it took them nearly two months to send confirmation. Be sure you have your agent provide written confirmation at the time of the cancellation. Chase/Crawford underwriter finally accepted that I would be on an airplane flying home on a Thursday and then be in Prague to fly home again on Sat!
I have not had to make a trip interruption claim with any other providers so not sure how our experience compares in level of effort. I am pretty sure the insurance premiums would have been higher than our final out-of-pockets with the exception of the trip home.
Other lesson is that most of the medical evacuation policies have a long list of limitations and exceptions. We found with ours, my DW would have had to be admitted to the hospital to be eligible for coverage. After getting home and looking at other policies that proviso seems to be standard. In fact, with most med vac policies their doctor has to approve evac if you want to go home for surgery. (In our case, you just had to be admitted. In our case, we returned to our hotel room that night and were treated as an outpatient). Be sure you have read the fine print on any medvac policy including any in package trip interruptions policies.
I would be interested in hearing of other/better choices for the future.

Nwsteve
Edit--Took about 60 days for Chase/Crawford to process and pay claim. With Premera/AXA we just got partial payment this week. The last piece was for the hospital and was partially my fault since I did not adequate detail with my claim--just the bill and a summary does not do the job! Payment is suppose to come in next several weeks. Missing details were scanned and sent in early Sept.
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:08 PM   #2
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Thanks for the very informative post. Too many details to absorb now but I got the general idea.
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:51 PM   #3
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Thanks for detailing this. Useful information.

I hope your wife's knee is healed up.
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the post. As DH retires next spring and will be on Medicare, we will be doing some detailed investigation into insurance as we travel int'l quite a bit. It appears that the Medicare supplemental Plan F will be the best choice for us.

Currently, his medical coverage provides good int'l coverage for us and I need to make sure I will continue to have this coverage under my former company's retiree benefits (their group coverage) or Obamacare until I'm eligible for Medicare.
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:49 PM   #5
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I forgot to mention in my original post to keep in mind that Plan f caps coverage at 10k per person per year. Hence the importance, IMHO, to couple with a good medivac coverage.
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Old 09-30-2015, 07:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrvlBug View Post
. It appears that the Medicare supplemental Plan F will be the best choice for us.
.

FWIW, you may want to check out Plan G -- same benefits as Plan F (including Foreign Travel Emergency), often at a significant monthly savings (even after you include the $147 Plan B deductible that you need to pay out-of-pocket).

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Old 10-01-2015, 06:07 PM   #7
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$119/month plus the deductible for Part G vs $151/month with no deductible for Part F. The saving is $237/year when you subtract the deductible.

Also according to this video there are pre-existing condition exclusions on Plan G, including history of heart attack, congestive heart failure, stroke and/or diabetes with complications.

Caveat emptor.


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Old 10-01-2015, 09:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iac1003 View Post
$119/month plus the deductible for Part G vs $151/month with no deductible for Part F. The saving is $237/year when you subtract the deductible.

Also according to this video there are pre-existing condition exclusions on Plan G, including history of heart attack, congestive heart failure, stroke and/or diabetes with complications.

Caveat emptor.


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Just to clarify, this caution applies to people already on a Medigap policy who wish to switch. If you initially sign up for plan G at age 65, any preexisting conditions are covered.
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