While a relaxing cruise may seem like the least risky of all travel adventures, a recent study by Fast Cover Travel Insurance found that more than half of the costliest travel insurance claims arose from cruising risks.
Out-of-country treatment: When traveling abroad, many injured travelers find their domestic health insurance will deny coverage for medical expenses incurred outside the U.S. And even if your health insurer does pay for out-of-country medical treatment, foreign or cruise medical providers likely won’t be in your health insurer’s network; that means you pay out-of-network medical costs up front, which may seriously cramp your vacation budget. Repatriation (returning patients to their home nations for treatment) can easily exceed $10,000, and is not covered under many health plans.
Before you nation hop – even if it’s on a cruise – contact your health insurer to determine what benefits apply to out-of-country health costs.
Medicare: If you’re on Medicare, for example, reimbursements for travel medical expenses are limited, often with the following exceptions:
- Medical service while traveling between Alaska and the continental U.S. through Canada
- Coverage for cruise ship medical care if a ship is within six hours of arriving at or departing from a U.S. port
- Nonurgent outpatient care expenses, if you live adjacent to Mexico or Canada and travel to the nearest hospital in those countries for treatment.
So before your next cruise, don’t worry about an unanticipated illness or injury and how you might pay for treatment. Consider travel insurance. It’s surprisingly affordable and can also cover travel delays or cancellations and lost luggage, as well as providing local assistance should medical problems arise. Repatriation is also a major benefit option available under most travel insurance plans.
Cruise lines design their trips to be relaxing events. However, an injury or illness can seriously disrupt your vacation. Talk to your agent to determine if travel insurance is right for you.