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CN Dec72013 Med

Are You Prepared?

December 7, 2013

No one wants to become ill during their vacation. But when something serious happens, are you prepared? Consider the following account from a fellow Aimfair member:
During our second week (November 2 - 16) at the Grand Bliss in Puerto Vallarta, my wife began to feel ill. After a couple of days, I asked the concierge if a doctor was available. I was informed that doctors were available at the Grand Luxxe, Grand Bliss and Grand Mayan. In each hotel a guest room has been converted into a little clinic. Doctors are available 24 hours every day, but sometimes you have to ask the concierge to summon them.

The doctor examined my wife and prescribed medication. The clinic visit was $800 pesos in cash and the medication was $640 pesos in cash. Medication was delivered to the hotel concierge in about 15 minutes.

The next day she felt terrible and had an obvious fever so we went back to the doctor. He examined her again and said, "We are all going to the hospital." The hospital sent a private car to the front door of the Grand Bliss and the three of us departed for the San Javier Marina Hospital in Nuevo Vallarta. It was about a five minute ride to the hospital which is down the street from Paradise Village.

The hospital is brand new and we were immediately taken into the state of the art emergency room where the ER doctor examined her and ordered xrays and a full panel of lab work. It probably took no more than two hours for the doctor to have all her results back. At that point, Dr. Alejandro Rios assumed the role of primary care physician. Dr. Rios is a US trained (University of Illinois/University of Nebraska) critical care and pulmonary specialist who speaks faultless English. He announced that my wife had accute pneumonia and that he was admitting her to the hospital. So up we went to the second floor where there are twelve very spacious private rooms. She was there for five days and at times was the only patient. Her care was wonderful and the medical attention and treatment were as good as she would have received at Mass General.

Now comes the only drawback and a word of caution/warning to those of us who routinely travel outside the US. My two insurance coverages are Medicare and TRICARE. The hospital did not accept either (and a whole list of others) and there is currently a $10,000USD charge on my American Express card which is what her five days of treatment cost.

TRICARE will pick up a portion of this expense, but Medicare will pay for none of it. So the caution is this. Before you leave the US, you need to make certain that either your supplemental medical insurance includes foreign coverage or that you have purchased a short term foreign medical insurance policy. I have not had time to investigate this fully, but one company which appears to offer such policies is roamright. I know nothing about them, however.

Thank you Michael. We are happy to hear your wife is fully recovering, we appreciate you sharing your experience with us and we are very sorry to hear about the difficulties you had during your vacation.

Your suggestion is a good one, and we will look into options to consider.
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