The True Experts Have Spoken

Summer 2003 CSANews Issue 47  |  Posted date : Apr 20, 2007.Back to list

Medipac has dozens of travel medical experts, working every day, reviewing policy and application language, researching medical conditions, dissecting claims information and analyzing demographic data. But, if you want to know what is happening in the real world, you have to ask your customers.

The true experts are the people who rely on our policies, every day they are travelling, and that is - You. When you are making your purchase decision, it is you who must analyze the application to see how it interacts with any medical condition you have. When a claim occurs it is you who must bear the weight of the policy wording and its intricacies. And it is always you who must pay the premium.

When we asked you to give us your thoughts on what is "Just Not Fair" we were somewhat apprehensive about receiving a lot of claim complaints and price complaints and application problems. We know our customers rarely complain and we thought there may be hidden problems that we did not know about. We decided it was much better to get any problems out in the open rather than to have them fester, unresolved. During the first few days, we received literally hundreds of letters and we thought our worst fears were realized. As we opened each letter (many with beautiful stamps on them) and read the contents, we encountered the most thoughtful and insightful comments anyone has ever seen on the boring subject of insurance. There were well over one hundred unique and compelling suggestions as to how to improve our program.

After a great deal of preparation, a meeting was called with our insurers to discuss Medipac's "required" changes. They were presented as application and policy changes that were "just not fair" and we wanted them to be rectified quickly, before launch of our Early Bird Program. You can never win all of the negotiation battles but many of you will be pleased to see your words and your thoughts in the many changes we have made. What is even more important is that your letters have helped other snowbirds in the same situation as yourself. It has allowed them to buy a plan which may have previously excluded them; it has lowered some of their premiums, permanently; and it has allowed them to more quickly qualify for a better rate class after a medical difficulty.

A few examples are certainly in order and these are the ones we like the best:

A heart condition with diabetes requiring treatment previously was not eligible; Now, only insulin injections are viewed as treatment and those on medication are eligible for Standard rates.
Diverticulosis has been clarified and, if you have not been treated for diverticulitis during the past 2 years (previously 5 years), your rate is reduced by almost half. This time change also applies to any chronic bowel disease or disorder.

Stroke or TIA over 5 years ago with only aspirin, as a treatment, now qualifies for Preferred rates. Again, approximately a 50% savings.

Seizure disorders which have been untreated for more than 5 years now qualifies for best Preferred Plus rates.
Squamous cell skin cancer is, now, not included in our questions resulting in better rates.

There are several other changes to both the policy and the application and even more of your suggestions, we believe, can be negotiated for our main season program. There is always a "however" hanging around somewhere so, here it is. We have had to exclude a few people with very aggressive cancers or pre-operative organ transplant candidates from our program. I am not sure why they would be able to travel, but the risks are close to 100% for them to have a very large claim. As such, we have added a question in our eligibility section relating to immunosuppressant drugs. We have also added the medication Solu-Medrol to our questions. This medication is used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This is not really a change, but more of a clarification, as anyone with COPD will be charged exactly the same premium.

Many of your letters brought up the issue of a loyalty discount or a claims free discount. This is a very difficult area to properly address as it normally causes an increase in base rates to properly implement. Based on your comments, we have decided we must find a way to do this and, more importantly, we must recognize past claim free years and past loyalty. Again, this is very difficult to do. We have the second best experts in the travel medical business working on it right now and, I assure you, we will make it happen.

My sincerest thanks to all of you who participated in our "It's Just Not Fair" project. And a special thank you to those wonderful people who took the time to gather up a few extra stamps. It has been an enlightening experience and you will bring benefits to many snowbirds, for years to come.