Medical Evacuation

Spring 1999 CSANews Issue 31  |  Posted date : Mar 01, 2007.Back to list

Dear Bird Talk,

I feel the following letter would be helpful to all snowbirds if it were printed in the CSA News. It might keep them from making the same mistakes as we did.

Fellow Snowbirds,

We have been fortunate to have been able to spend six months in Florida for the last several years. However, we are back three months early and experience winter weather in Ontario.

On January 20, my husband had a heart attack. I realized what was happening and took him immediately to our hospital only two miles away.

The E.R. attendants and doctors immediately checked him over and within 11/2 hours, he was in the operating room where two stents were implanted in one artery to his heart which had been completely blocked. While this was being done, I called World Access from the hospital. They received all the necessary information from me as well as from those who were attending my husband. World Access obtained the fax number of the hospital at that time and kept in contact so they could monitor the situation. My husband got along fine and was discharged from the hospital after a five-day stay. Before he was discharged, however, World Access informed us that we had two options ­

We could stay in Florida but my husband would no longer have insurance coverage on any further heart problems and we would have to stand the expense ourselves; or

We could go back home.

Actually, we had one choice as it was too risky financially to stay there.

Our daughter and her husband flew down and took our belongings home along with our car. We flew home. Our insurance covered all the medical expenses and our flight home.

Before we leave in the fall, our insurance company asks that we give them the dates of our departure and our return. These are firm dates and, since we had returned early, I notified them a few days after we got back that we had returned to Ontario. I was stunned when I was told that we could have had another 62 days in Florida with full coverage. However, it was necessary that my husband first return to Ontario and see his own doctor here. If the doctor examined him and felt it was safe for him to return to Florida, he could go back and we could stay there another two months.

I was quite upset to hear this because, if we had known we had that option, we would have taken it. I did not realize that option was in our policy and I should have consulted with our insurance company before making any decision. I know now how important it is to keep in touch with our insurance company (see page 12 of Winter Issue of CSA News).

Instead, I believed that World Access had complete authority but that was not true. I have written this letter in the hope that other snowbirds will not make the same mistakes we did.

Sincerely,
Doris Kinna
Alvinston, Ontario

Response:
Many people are unaware of their options when facing an evacuation. The best course of action is to request a written medical ruling from your insurer as to whether they will waive the pre-existing condition arising from your claim. In many cases they will.