Medipac Just Added a Plus!

Fall 2007 CSANews Issue 64  |  Posted date : Oct 17, 2007.Back to list

Some Plans Deal With Negatives. Medipac Just Added a Plus!

Your body has two primary engines – your heart, to circulate life-giving blood to your entire body, and your lungs, which breathe in the oxygen so necessary to support life. Almost all serious medical emergencies involve one or the other.

After reviewing some of the "new" and "improved" travel insurance plans introduced this year, I determined that if you are taking medication for one of your "engines" you often may have no insurance at all. Oh, you get to pay your premium, but you just do not get your claim paid! Two of these plans were insured by large insurance companies whose names you would easily recognize and I am fairly certain that the upper management of these companies is not aware of the gaping media trap of bad publicity that awaits them.

I should probably give you some examples of the "deceptions." One plan boldly states that they will renew your insurance plan until you are 80 (which is great unless you are 81) and that they will lock in your rate category (well, that's not a guarantee on what you will pay but a guarantee of the age at which you'll be rated). So, you say to yourself, "That would be great – a guaranteed renewable policy." But you had better read the small print, because there are a few little problems which you may have to deal with in the future. You can renew your plan to age 80, but if you ever take any medication or have treatment for a heart or lung condition, your claim will not be paid, period. Oops, isn't that the most likely medical problem you will have? That "guaranteed" renewable clause is very true – you can pay your premium until you are age 80.

Did you see that word "treatment" up above? You must be very careful here. Some plans say that if you have had medical treatment in the past 90 days (or six or 12 months, etc.), your claim will not be paid. Most people assume that "treatment" means some kind of medical intervention for a condition you have. If they have high blood pressure, for instance, and have had it for years with the same prescription drug, the average person would not consider that as having had "treatment" within the past 90 days. I certainly would not think so. Well some of the insurance company travel insurance plans do! They are playing with words to confuse you and me so that we will pay them some money, in many cases, a lot of money if you are older. They say that "treatment" means taking a medication, period, and that you have no insurance for either that medical condition or any claim arising from that condition. This clause can be used to deny your claim, even if you received a clean bill of health from your doctor and are simply on maintenance or preventive medication.

An interesting, and ridiculous, new twist this year is the old money-back trick. The insurance company charges you more money than they should, so they can invest it, and eventually give you your money back. Since this company is not the brightest light on the planet, they wanted to make sure it would work first. They decided to only give you half of your money back until they could figure it out! Is that not what all the highly compensated actuaries are paid to do? Just to play the innocent devil's advocate here, an agent who sells this particular plan makes 40% of the premium as a commission, the company is going to give you 50% of your premium back, and the company itself would rarely work for less than 10% of the premium. That adds up to 100%. This is a little unfair of me but, if all of the expenses add up to 100% of the premium, where is the money to pay your claim coming from? Hmmmm!

There are several plans in the marketplace that brag. They say, "We have no medical questions!", "We have simple applications!",  "We have no fees!". All of that is probably true but, again, you must be very careful. As a general rule, a company that asks you lots of medical questions, up front, is much more likely to pay your claim. They want to know exactly who you are and what your health status is, and then they can properly price you as a risk. Knowing this, they can anticipate your likelihood of a medical problem and are usually very willing to pay any claim. The braggarts, on the other hand, know nothing about you! They do not want to know! If they know nothing, then they can blame any claim denial on you, for not reading the policy properly. And their policies are minefields! Simple words tied together in complex sentences that Einstein would have been proud to have written.

The staff for this type of insurer is trained in a very different way. Their medical underwriters, consultants and lawyers are activated only at claim time and their primary job is to find a way to deny your claim. A simple application, but a very complex claim-paying process will never be in the client's best interest. At Medipac, we have the luxury of looking for ways to PAY a claim, not to deny one; we ask a lot of questions and we KNOW our clients.

We introduced our own "new" and "improved" this year and it is called MedipacPLUS. We saw other companies trying to upcharge $50 and more for very little extra benefit and thought that we should set the record straight about what "new and improved" should really mean, and what it really costs. MedipacPLUS includes:
  • Emergency Return to Canada
  • $5,000 Accidental Death Insurance
  • Claim Forgiveness to protect your claim-free status and discounts
  • $5,000,000 increased Maximum Benefit limit
And it's $39. ($25 for Early Bird purchasers)

We started off by talking about our two engines of health; our heart and our lungs. I did not forget that you must have a computer to manage them and that is, of course, our brain.
We are incredibly blessed to have the ability to reason, to experience and to sense. I hope that you will take a small bit of your time to review our travel medical insurance program this year.

Travel safely and travel with Medipac!