GOOD NEWS - BAD NEWS
an Insurance Point of View by John Baum
Well it is certainly never good news when you break your leg on your dream ski vacation to Europe; however, it is good to know that it is also not the end of the world. I received excellent medical care from experienced orthopedic surgeons, and was comfortably attended to by competent and friendly staff personnel at the Italian hospital. Even the hospital food was surprisingly good and doctors did not object to me drinking wine.
Of course I was terribly disappointed in not being able to enjoy the ambiance of skiing the majestic Dolomites, traveling the countryside (other than in an ambulance) and having fun with all my good friends on the trip, but insult was added to injury by having to bear the financial burden of the accident.
There were many unexpected costs to my originally affordable ski vacation. Excluding actual hospital costs, which I expect my medical insurance carrier will cover (especially since it will cost less than 20 percent of the comparable surgery in the U.S.), there were numerous phone calls to the States to discuss insurance coverage, transportation to and from the hospital for myself and my wife, and accommodations for my wife while I was in the hospital, which I will probably not be able to recover if they are not considered a "medical necessity".
Also, I will not likely receive any refunds from the unused part of our ski package. Furthermore, had I returned to the States following the accident, I would have had to buy two full fare one-way tickets that would have cost more then the entire ski package. Overall, these costs could have amounted to several thousands of dollars, all of which would have been covered by trip insurance.
I never considered purchasing trip insurance, since I never considered having a skiing accident like this; after all I am an excellent skier, having skied over 30 years with no accidents. The truth is that the accident did happen to me and I and my wife were impacted physically (compound fractures to my tibia and fibula), emotionally (unrealized vacation fun), and financially.
While trip insurance would not have changed either the physical or emotional outcome of the accident, it certainly would have eased the financial pain. Based on my experience, I urge everyone to think twice about getting insurance on your next sojourn. I know I will!