Travel Insurance Myths - Our Personal Story

Summer 2004 CSANews Issue 51  |  Posted date : May 10, 2007.Back to list

We have been travelling to Texas for many years. In all that time, neither of us has ever been really ill. We have been to the doctor a few times, but just for minor illnesses, and have paid our own bill rather than going through our insurance, as the costs have been slight.

Myth #1: “I have been buying insurance for years, and have never needed it. What a waste of money.”

That is, until this winter. My husband Bruce complained of pains that cut across his upper chest and down his arms. This seemed to happen when he was on the golf course in the wind, and he was very positive that it had to be just his asthma because of the wind. We visited the doctor, who suggested a stress test, but he was adamant that it was his allergies and the wind. This continued for about two weeks, until he had a pain attack without the Texas breezes. It raised my level of alarm, but we were still in denial. Bruce was a healthy, active person, with a very low cholesterol rating at his yearly checkup in Canada.

Myth #2: “If something happens, we’ll get into our car and drive home or, at the worst, we are only a few hours by plane.”

We visited our doctor about another matter, but she was concerned about Bruce and insisted on another ECG. This time, it read differently. He showed strong signs of a heart attack. He was rushed to emergency, where his blood tests gave a similar message. Thank heavens for insurance; already the bills were mounting! I had called Medipac from the doctor’s office and from there on, they monitored everything.

Myth #3: “All the insurance companies care about is the dollar, not what is happening to you.”

The heart specialist stated that he would have to perform a heart catheterization as soon as possible, and then whatever was necessary would have to follow. Because of Bruce’s condition, this was accomplished with little delay. I would like to say that at this stage, the ill person is easier to handle than the caregiver! It is really difficult to be many miles from home, have a spouse who is in serious danger, and need to make decisions by the minute. Than goodness, the staff from the Medipac Health Centre is a caring, patient group.

Everything went well, serious blockages were found, medicated stents were inserted and Bruce was given another chance at life.

Unfortunately, he experienced complications that kept him in the hospital for a week but again, Medipac was there to suggest and help.

Myth #4: “Once it’s over, you’re on your own – the insurance company doesn’t care anymore.”

When Bruce was finally given clearance to travel (several days later), we were flown back to Toronto and our van followed with a competent, trustworthy driver. At my request, the Medipac medical staff found us a trustworthy specialist in the area, and Bruce was seen within a week of our return. He is now starting to count the weeks to the golf course!

Myth #5: “I put aside a thousand dollars a year for medical emergencies. After a few years, I can pay my own bill.”

Think again – American hospital costs run into the thousands each day, and procedures are getting higher all the time. Some hospitals and doctors are trustworthy, but others are anxious to take you for all they can and will give diagnoses that are not necessarily true. When illness strikes, we need good advice and concerned watch dogs in charge. We need to have the security of knowing that the bills which can run up to hundreds of thousands are covered.

We love our winters in the sun belt, and have full expectation of spending many more in south Texas. But we never have, and never will, cross the border from Canada without sufficient coverage. It may cost us money, but it can save thousands in the end.

Thank you, Medipac.