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The Drawback of Hospital of Choice


I received this email about a year ago:
“Hi Steve, My husband’s in the American Hospital in Cabo San Lucas because he broke his hip. First, thank you for contacting the insurance company for us since our phones weren’t working correctly. We’re in touch with them now. Next, we also contacted my husband’s doctor as you suggested, but we don’t want to use the hospital his doctor wants. We have hospital of choice so we want him sent somewhere else. Can you help us? Liz”

I helped them, and they were very happy in the end, but I had to push against what they wanted. Hospital of Choice is touted as a big advantage, but, in my opinion, it can cloud your judgement and may result in you not getting the best overall treatment.

I told Liz to contact her husband’s doctor so he could have input for the right hospital her husband would be transported to that was close to home. As it turned out, they didn’t like that hospital and wanted a different one. She asked me for help, so I asked her”: “Are either of you doctors? If not, I’m not either, so if I were you, I’d take the doctor’s advice.”

They took his doctor’s advice and as it turned out, if her husband had gone to the hospital they wanted, he wouldn’t have been happy because that hospital didn’t have the expertise to best treat the kind of hip fracture he had. That’s why the doctor was recommending a different hospital. He is now fully recovered and is back to normal with no complications.

How Exactly Does Travel Insurance Medical Transportation Work?

Like many of the complicated parts of travel insurance, there’s confusion about how the Emergency Medical Transportion works, so I hope this will make sense to you:

Early in the process of determining which is the best travel insurance plan our potential and repeat customers should get, we often hear “If something happens to me on a trip, I don’t want to go to an adequate medical facility, I want to go a better one.”

If you’re on a trip and something bad happens to you medically (ie – getting hit by a cement truck), it’s likely that you will need an Emergency Medical Transport.

What needs to take place before a transport is arranged:

  • Get to a medical facility if you are ill or injured. If you’re on a cruise, go to the infirmary. If you are on land, you might be taken by ambulance to a local medical facility.
  • Make sure you see a doctor. If the condition is serious, you will likely be seen by other medical professionals, too. If you are traveling with a family member who is a doctor, you will need to see a doctor that you aren’t related to.
  • Call the travel insurance company’s 24 hour emergency assistance phone number. You may do a collect call from anywhere in the world. Also, make sure you give them your contact information in case the call drops. Anyone can make the call on the person’s behalf, too.
  • If you want your own doctor to be invloved, contact them. They may not be set up to take collect calls, so maybe contacting them via a Patient Portal would be best.
  • You may let us know, too, if you want.

Lots of people tell us “I don’t want to go to an adequate medical facility, I want to go to a better one.”

To that we say “No one wants you to die in the street, so you’ll first get taken somewhere to stabilize you. If you need further treatment in a better facility, and when it’s safe to transport you (as in you not dying in the process), you’ll be taken to the better facility or even back home depending on what the doctors taking care of you say. The insurance company doesn’t make that decision, though they will arrange and pay for the medical transport.”

I hope this makes sense. If you want the right travel insurance advice, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we’ll help you figure it all out.

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