Friday, June 21, 2013

Banging My Head Harder Than Usual

Pre-existing conditions and how they are(not) covered with travel medical insurance plans

   The other day, some guy I know had a fender-bender. When did 'fenders' become 'quarter panels'?  The body shop guys run the world I guess.  He was fuming that he'd been calling around to different insurance companies and couldn't find one that would take him as a client and at the same time, pay for the prior damage to his car.  Hey, I never said this guy was smart. This sort of thing has me banging my head harder than Greg Louganis at a Metallica concert.  Still, it got me thinking about how shocked and appalled some people are when they find out that travel medical plans won't cover the medical conditions they have full knowledge exist on or before the day the coverage begins.  Let's think this through a bit.  If an insurance plan offered coverage for existing conditions, it might be logical to expect that the insurer would get A LOT of claims for medical services related to them.  Many of them more expensive than Eddie Griffin's driving habits. As a result, one of three things would happen. First, because of the losses, the premiums for the insurance would rise to a level where only those who bathe in caviar and rinse in champagne would see it as affordable.  Second, the insurer would see the losses and it were Azimuth, Lloyd's would end our relationship faster than a Lindsay Lohan relapse. The third option is we could say we covered it and then didn't.  Nice trick, but it only works once, it's fraudulent and we'd see Lindsay Lohan results with this one too.  

So, what do you do if you do have an existing health condition?  Good question; which I'll answer if you can tell me where I left my keys a couple of weeks ago.  I still can't find them.  I'm really troubled because I can't unlock the Cheetos cabinet until I do.  It's particularly aggravating considering all the trouble I went to 'borrow' and copy the warden's key *sigh*.  Okay, I'll go ahead since you're not talking.  The Beacon Series offers a Sudden Onset of Pre-existing condition benefit up to $15,000.  Now, I just got done saying that existing conditions aren't covered.  My ADD is bad but it's not Michael Jackson Bad. I always wondered how he came up with the one glove thing.  Didn't his other hand get cold?  So, pre-ex isn't covered as a general rule, but the Sudden Onset benefit allows for a little wiggle room.  It won't pay for maintenance medications, meaning that if you're using an ongoing prescription drug, that's still your responsibility and won't be an eligible expense.  However, if you are traveling and have a sudden recurrence, what most of us would call an attack (note: there are certain plan wording specifications regarding this, please see here for the description), the Sudden Onset benefit rides to the rescue with up to $15,000 worth of benefits.  Pretty sweet, huh?    It's a whole lot better than banging your head against the wall; which is what you will feel like doing when working with other insurance providers.

PS. Insurance is the Brussels sprout of subjects.  You know you need to understand it for your own good and I'll work to make it palatable (if it doesn't work, feed me to the dog under the table).  So, if you enjoy learning a little more about it in an (occasionally) entertaining way, then someone else might too.  Share the love via social media or get on the subscriber list.  After all - Don't cost nuttin' 
PPS. Living or traveling internationally now or soon?  Contact your insurance agent and demand to see what Azimuth Risk Solutions can do for you.  Or, visit to learn more

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