Saturday, July 31, 2010

來美國玩一定要保險 The Importance of Travel/Medical Insurance

July is typically the month when many of our Taiwanese friends and families come to the United States for their summer vacation. Inevitably, they will drop by Los Angeles and visit us. I am sure most of us who live in the United States have similar experience when it comes to visitors from Taiwan.

I learned something important this year. Two unfortunate events happened to my family and another friend's family within a day of each other. On July 5 (a long weekend Monday), I found out that the friend's father-in-law passed away from a heart attack while visiting a city about an hour away from home. Her father-in-law came to the U. S. often, so they were on one of their family outings. I didn't ask her what happened afterward, but it's safe to say that many things financial and emotional would need to be addressed after the passing of her father-in-law.

On July 6, a family friend visiting us had a stroke. He survived, but he was burdened with an astronomical medical bill. The ambulance trip between his son's house and the hospital (a total distance of 3 miles) cost more than US$1,600. The first day of emergency and ICU care cost more than US$65,000. Any doctor who visited the patient while he stayed at the U. S. hospital would be charged the doctor's regular hourly rate (at least US$350 per hour). Without medical insurance, the medical bill will continue to increase until this patient is stable enough to be air-lifted back to Taiwan for further medical treatment. This Taiwanese friend did buy travel insurance before he left for Taiwan, but most are accidental coverage for death and dismemberment, and not for catastrophic nor emergency illnesses. He had a NT$50,000 coverage for catastrophic illness. That's not nearly enough to even cover 1 day's worth of doctor's fees.

So a word of advice. If you or your family wants to travel to the United States from Taiwan, please make sure that enough medical insurance is purchased to cover serious illness such as heart attack and stroke for your friend or family. I would recommend travel insurance that include medical care for serious illnesses for people 50 and over. The medical coverage should be around US$300,000 or more. The medical insurance should also include the expenses of air-lifting the patient back to Taiwan for further care.

暑假是台灣親朋好友來美國旅遊的季節。今年也不例外。 可是今年七月卻讓我體會到旅遊醫療保險(重大疾病)的重要。 好朋友的公公來美國住不到幾天就因心臟病發作而過世。 我是沒有問好朋友如何辦妥她公公的後事,可是如果她公公有在臺灣買好旅遊保險,那肯定保險公司將會協助我朋友處理一些相關事物。

在我朋友公公出事的第二天,我的一位親戚也在來美的三天後中風。 因為沒有醫療保險, 第一天的住院費用就高達六萬美金!!! 就連救護車的帳單也要美金一千六(醫院和他兒子家的距離只有三英哩)。 所以奉勸大家--如果你將有親朋好友到美國來探親或觀光,一定要叮嚀親朋好友(尤其是年紀較大的人)來美國之前在臺灣買好至少有三十萬美金的重大疾病旅遊醫療保險。 這旅遊醫療保險最好是也有包括把病人從美國運輸回台灣的費用。 當初林志玲在中國受傷時也是用專機運輸回台灣的,她或她的經紀公司肯定有買這一方面的保險。