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Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

June 28, 2012

A friend of mine and I are getting ready to book one of the trips. I plan to buy the Travel insurance that is offered through GC, but she says she isn't "worried" about cancelling, etc., and that her Medicare will cover her for medical issues on the trip. Somewhere, I seem to recall, there had been some discussion about Medicare not covering people overseas or something like that. While I am ever edging closer to being old enough for Medicare, I am not quite there yet, so I can't counsel her on this. So, to those of you out there who are on Medicare, what do you know about this? Thanks!

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 513
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

June 28, 2012

 Medicare will not cover you overseas, but, if she has a private medicare advantage plan, it may. The biggest risk financially is evacuation insurance, including a staffed air ambualnce back home or to whereever you need to go. You have to be sure what your coverage is. Grand Circle's insurance is expensive and better buys may be available. If the person has any preexisting conditions, make sure that there is a waiver for them, as Grand Circle's plan gives you, if you purchase it within the stated window. 

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

June 28, 2012

I don't know what a private advantage medicare plan is, but she might, if she has it! I have tried to explain the other benefits of Travel ins., such as evacuation, as you mentioned, but some people are very stubborn!!  :)

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 28, 2012

What we refer to as Medicare, that is the federal government plan that covers you from age 65, does not apply outside the US.  If she has a "Medicare Advantage" plan, that is supposed to cover at least the equivalent of Medicare A and Medicare B and may have additional coverage including overseas.

But N&P are correct in that other things are covered with Trip Mate.  You don't want to be somewhere and find that because of illness, you have to be evacuated.  The cost of that can run into the many thousands, and I believe that without insurance you have to pay up front.  

There are many other travel insurance companies with a lot of plans, and the best thing to do is research them and see which is best for you.  I'm saying that as one who never does that, but if you're at all hesitant it's the way to go. 

And for those who say that "cancel for any reason" doesn't make sense, granted you don't plan trips with the idea that you'll cancel.  But something could come up that doesn't involve illness or death; it could be some wonderful family occasion that is planned to take place while you'd be gone and you wouldn't want to miss it.

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

June 28, 2012

I agree, Pauline. I always take the trip insurance for all of the things that it covers. I just need to convince my friend.

I know someone whose mother died on a trip to India, without any kind of trip insurance, and  it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and lots of red tape to get her body back home. It was horrible, and at a time when people are shocked and grieving also.

If I can't convince her before we book and pay for the trip, do you (or anyone else reading this) know if she can still get covered by some other trip insurance plan. I think that most of them require you to have bought the insurance before you make the final payment of a trip....but I could be wrong!

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 28, 2012

Nancy, I thought I remembered that you had posted on that recently.

Somebody  -  maybe Captain Larry  -  has mentioned a website where you can search for the insurance plan that best meets your needs.  And I think you can purchase it quite close to your departure date.  Maybe, Luisa mentioned it.  You could check out both forums.  I think it's been mentioned several times.

I'm lazy enough to take what's offered and, so far, it has met my needs.  Although I have used Travel Guard when I used to go to Australia and New Zealand.  And I am using it when I go to Israel in November with my son to celebrate my 80th birthday.  I did what amounted to a line-by-line comparison of what was offered on that and what Trip Mate provides, and it worked out to be about the same coverage with a slight difference on the money returns.  And a big difference in cost.  It's based partly on the length of the trip and partly on your age.

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

June 28, 2012

Thanks, Pauline, for your info. And have a wonderful trip to Israel! I went in January 2010, and it was one of the best trips that I have been on. Are you going to Masada?

I am going on a Mediterranean cruise in September, called Lands of the Bible, and one of the stops is Israel, so I get to go again!! Looking forward to that! We start in Rome, go to Egypt, Israel, Greece, and Turkey.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 540
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

June 29, 2012

I have a medicare advantage plan and it does not cover outside the U.S. On my last trip (Europe) I checked the web site Insure My Trip.com, which lists many plans and companies and are rated from AAA down. I took the medical evacuation insurance from a top rated company, don't remember which. and it cost around $100, which I thought very reasonable. It doesn't cover baggage loss, etc, but I was not concerned about that. Of course the more coverage you buy, the higher the price.

You can purchase up to, or very close to, your departure date. If you want the policy by mail, you'd have to purchase early enough to allow delivery time.

When I went to Morocco and Egypt I took GCT/OAT/s Trip Mate, but I didn't feel that I needed it for Europe, I would probably take it for more exotic locations.

 

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 242
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1995

June 29, 2012

I agree with all of the comments that it is best to purchase trip insurance.  First, none of us are promised tomorrow, so medevac insurance is something I wouldn't travel without.  From my own personal experience, just in May I had a medical issue that if I didn't improve by departure date I would have had to cancel--we're talking 3 days before departure.  Without the insurance I would have lost a good bit of money.  I've had other medical issues in the past that gave me reason to think about cancelling, like foot problems that prevented me from walking, for one. 

It's true Medicare doesn't pay overseas.  However, maybe your friend has another type insurance from  her work, spouse, union, that may cover injuries/illness overseas.  Best to place that call to find out.  That's what they pay the administrative to do, answer questions from the insured.

While on Amalfi Cost trip, on the very next day after arrival, a person from our group suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized for 3 weeks, then he and his wife had to wait until a doctor and nurse were available to escort him back to the US on a medical-evac plane with beds and IV  and monitoring type.  He was not allowed to leave the country unless he used the med-eval plane, he was that bad.  Check it out, it's a whole bunch of money to go home this way. 

And if the worst happens, I found out  recently even if one of us passed on overseas, we can't even carry the cremains in a box/container on the plane with us--most airlines do not permit this. 

Having said all this, maybe your friend is self-insured and not worried about the consequences if she does not have any one that needs to be concerned or pay for evacuation.

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 29, 2012

The problem with all that is while the friend may not be concerned, Nancy is.  If anything should happen while they are on the trip, who is the one who'll have to bear the brunt of all the problems?

When my friend and I had to cancel our trip in 2007 because of her cancer diagnosis, we got all the money back.  But she still hoped she'd be able to travel once she was through surgery, radiation and chemo.  I didn't want to come right out and say I couldn't be responsible for her if anything went wrong in another country.  It took a trip down to Congress Street and a meeting with a travel counselor for her to face the fact that international travel was out for her. 

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

June 29, 2012

 There are myriads of plans at myriads of costs and coverages.  all insurance plans have a few things in common:  First is the nature of the coverage.  Is the plan a primary or secondary coverer?  Primary plans, and most plans are NOT primary( including Trip Mate, save its cancel for any reason coverage ).  this means that the insurance company may ask you for proof that your other coverage has paid first.  This takes time in processing and receiving claims.  Obviously, a primary plan will pay first and foremost, and you will have no difficulty in being paid rapidly if you have a claim.  Also, obviously, you pay more for these plans.  You can ask when you shop them.

Second, are the coverages specifically itemized, or lumped under an umbrella?  Plans which lump coverages under an umbrella are less desirable, as they are open fpr interpretation when and if you have to make a claim.  It pays to read the policy before you purchase it.  Umbrella policies will let people think they're covered and then the purchaser may be in for a rude awakening when a claim is made.  Policies which itemize the coverages specifically with no ambiguity would appear to be more favorable.  But again, you pay for this security.

Third, evacuation is important if you need to be transported from wherever you are to a medical facility.  But how MUCH evacuation coverage do you need?  Will you need $1,000,000 evacuation coverages if you're taking a river cruise in Europe?  Likely not, but if you purchase a package policy, you may be paying for something you will never need or use.  So check the limits.  The greater the coverage, the greater the cost.  And a word about evacuation.  Evacuation is NOT the same as repatriation.  Evacuation is usually defined as getting you from where you are to a medical facility.  It does NOT necessarily mean getting you home.  So it's important to know WHERE the policy will pay to have you evacuated to.  Most policies will pay to evacuate you to the 'nearest appropriate facility,' always defined by them.  Some policies, notably Travel Guard, leaves the choice of facility to YOU.  So if you have a Travel Guard Policy, YOU can tell them to evacuate you to afacility in America, and it's covered.  That policy combines repatriation with evacuation.  Again, obviously, you pay for it.

So buy the policy you you feel comfortable with.  But don't overspend.  You can shop your own policies using a common website www.insuremytrip.com and compare the coverages of several companies as well as the limits of each.  a good alternative is to contact Dan Drennan at the Travel Insurance Center.  They're a brokerage for travel insurance, which has been lauded in virtually every issue of International Travel News by scores of clients as well as the editorial staff.  You can reach them at:  1-800-786-5566.  And in particular, if you only want health insurance, ask them about the Betty James policy, a unique and cheap health insurance policy for travelers.  Or if you don't want the health insurance, they can sell you policies not generally known by the public which voer things like baggage insurance and trip interrpuption.

Whatever you do, unfortunately, if you're Medicare eligible, as others have asserted, Medicare does not cover you abroad.  So if you want protection, health insurance is a must.

We usually shop our policies, and we never take the same policy for each trip, because the demands of the each trip are difference, and the potential losses are different.  You don't get to make that choice when you purchase the Grand Circle Trip Mate Policy.  Not that it is a bsd policy; just that there are better for less.  

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 29, 2012

If you are on Medicare, Trip Mate will not ask if your primary coverage has paid or not paid.  Based on your age, they will know that Medicare is your primary insurer and the subject will not come up.  I know this because I am in the process of filing a claim for having to cancel a trip because of a covered reason.  Covered, not for a "cancel for any reason" claim.  I have all the paperwork ready to fax to Trip Mate.

According to the Trip Mate policy when it comes to evacuation, there are two situations.  In the event of an emergency evacuation, you will be evacuated to the closest medical facility capable of providing the treatment.  In the event of a non-emergency evacuation, the transportation expense will be provided to the closest medical facility to your permanent residence that is capable of providing that treatment.

 

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

June 29, 2012

Thanks again, Pauline, for your insight. You are right. If I am covered, and my friend is not, I would be the one bearing the brunt and responsibility for what needs to be done. Sort of a selfish point of view on the part of my friend, right? So, yes, I am concerned. Sounds almost selfish of me too, like I am only concerned for myself, but not true.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 29, 2012

No, Nancy, you're not being selfish.  You're being realistic.  I took care of my friend during all of that because she had no family to rely on and she lived in the boonies.  I accepted that someone had to do it and that someone was me.  But it was a great strain, and this was in my own home.  To have to bear all this responsibility in another country with language and customs differences would be much worse.

So I think you'll have to make a stand.  Whatever insurance she decides on, and you can help her with that, she has to have enough coverage for whatever may happen.  It probably won't, based on statistics, but you have to be sure.

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

June 29, 2012

 Pauline, you have asserted something which confuses us.  If you have a Trip Mate Policy with a 'cancel for any reason' benefit, there are no covered reasons, since you can cancel for any reason.  There are no 'covered reasons' in those policies, since you are entitled to cancel for any reason.   Could you elaborate, since your last post confused us, as we do not understand why you need to submit paperwork, for a 'covered reason,' since the policy does not list any.  We have purchased a Trip Mate Policy with that clause, and we noted on reading the policy that there are no covered reasons, since we can 'cancel for any reason.'   Or did you have a different Trip Mate policy which listed indemnities and did not have the 'cancel for any reason clause?'

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 29, 2012

I will quote from the Travel Protection Plan issued by Trip Mate as it applies in this case.

"Part A.  Trip Cancellation.  Benefits will be paid, up to the Maximum Benefit Amount shown in the Schedule of Benefits, to cover you for the unused non-refundable prepaid expenses for Travel Arrangements when You are prevented from taking your Trip due to:

2.  A covered Sickness or Injury involving You, Your Traveling Companion or Busines Partner, or Your Family Member which necessitates Medical Treatment at the time of the cancellation and results in medically imposed restrictions, as certified by a Legally Qualified Physician, which prevents Your participation in the Trip.

In 2007, my traveling companion was diagnosed with cancer which required the cancellation of our trip to Russia.  Now, I have been diagnosed with cancer which requires the cancellation of my trip to the UK. 

Fortunately, surgery was successful and I will be able to travel in the future.  But not right now!

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 277
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1999

June 29, 2012

svncontinents: Pauline is referring to the Trip Mate policy which a person receives when purchasing the Travel Protection Plan from GCT. In addition to the trip cancellation coverage for covered reasons which she quoted, it also has cancel for any reason coverage which is provided by GCT, not Trip Mate. You will get your money back if you cancel for a covered reason and a travel voucher if you cancel for any other reason. It appears that your statements about Trip Mate have been based on a different policy from them and may not be valid for the policy purchased from GCT. 

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

June 30, 2012

 Thank you for the clarification.  Given that, then there are actually two insurers:  Grand Circle, and Trip Mate.  That said, then the point of purchasing the coverage from Grand Circle does not appear to be worthwhile, since you are not going to get your money back if you cancel for any reason, and cannot use the voucher.  We haven't paid much attention to their terms, since we never purchase their insurance( we can always do better elsewhere ), and we do not need to 'cancel for any reason.'  The covered indemnities are more than sufficient, and delineate virtually every reason why one would have to cancel.  

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 30, 2012

The "cancel for any reason" is not a clause in the insurance policy; it is a waiver.  In this case, GCT is allowing you to cancel your trip for some reason not covered in the policy without losing out entirely.  GCT will issue you a voucher allowing you to travel within a 15-month period from the date of cancellation.  This does not apply to ocean cruises.

You may say you'd never cancel for any non-covered reason, but nobody knows what family obligations may show up at any time.  I agree that I would never purchase that plan separately, but it is included with the Travel Protection Plan agreed to between Trip Mate and GCT.

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

June 30, 2012

Agree with Pauline. You never know when you might need to cancel for "no reason" (no covered reason, anyway!!). I have had to do so twice. Getting the travel voucher is fine with me because I know I will be going on another trip and can use it, and it spurs me on to book one anyway!!!

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