SANFORD, Fla. — A medical emergency is the last thing on your mind when you’re planning a relaxing getaway, but a Sanford couple is urging people to get travel insurance.
They paid thousands of dollars in medical bills upfront after Bill Nelson suffered a heart attack while on a cruise in Mexico last week.
A second procedure he needed would have cost another $38,000 at the Mexican hospital. Bill’s wife, Shelly Nelson, says the doctors wouldn’t give him a “fit-to-fly certificate” so Bill could get treatment in the U.S.
Bill Nelson needed surgery, but to go under the knife, doctors told he and his wife they had to pay roughly $35,000 dollars first.
“It is very much like a hostage situation,” Nelson said.
The Nelsons have their U.S. health insurance, but the couple opted not to get travel insurance. Looking back, Shelly says she wishes she would have paid a little more money for to possibly avoid this nightmare.
“I was thinking of it more like you know, if you must cancel your trip and you aren’t able to go That’s what I was thinking. It didn’t even dawn on me to think that bill would have, you know, heart attack,” Nelson said.
Carly Kessler with International Medical Group (IMG Global) says travel insurance can cover a number of issues you can run into on your vacation.
“Whether it’s your flight gets canceled, or your luggage gets lost, or sometimes it’s something as serious as a medical emergency,” Kessler said.
Polices can cover treatment overseas– and even an emergency evacuation.
We looked at plans from several major travel insurance carriers and found the coverage costs for most traveler’s range between $60 to about $200. It’s relatively cheap compared to the costs you could pay out of pocket if you have a medical emergency.
Gina Simms with Insurance and Benefits Advisors in Casselberry says a 50-year-old couple traveling to Mexico for eight days on a cruise or by flight would pay about $106 all together for medical travel insurance. It would include up to $2 million worth of coverage and emergency evacuation if needed with zero deductible.
“Most people spend thousands on travel plans. So, to add another $106 is nothing for the travel budget, and certainly worth the peace of mind,” Simms said.