Little Known Vacation Planning Tip

Single-Trip2Author:  Tim Barnes

I am watching Castle reruns while I compose this post.  After more than thirty years of marriage to someone who is hooked on mystery shows, I fancy myself a bit of a sleuth.

I think I solved the most recent mystery.  Below is the evidence that I found.  Maybe you can give me some pointers if I miss something.

  • When I drove past the local high school yesterday, I noticed that there were no cars in the parking lot.
  • I had to dodge children playing in the street while I was driving.
  • I had to wait to check-in at the fitness club on a mom registering a 2nd grader for the Kid’s Club while she worked out.
  • My wife just called and asked me if today was a holiday when she was able to drive through a school-zone without slowing down.

I figure that either The Visitors came last night and abducted every teenager in our neighborhood, or Spring Break for the schools in my county came a tad early this year.

After some reflection, I deduced that it must be Spring Break for kids in high school.  Every parent knows that The Visitors would not voluntarily abduct teenagers for longer than 3 hours without returning them along with their attitude.

I am told that this is just a picture of things to come.  Fortunately, I live far enough away from the coast that I will not have to deal with college kids when they descend on the beaches of South Texas.

Now that both of our boys are too old for “Spring Break” we no longer have to make my plans around school schedules.  In fact, a couple of weeks ago I made reservations for us to celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary on a cruise ship in September.

Now that we no longer have to arrange vacations around school, my wife and I are free to travel “off-peak season.”  We are able to save money and not have to be polite to rude children.

However, the purpose of this post is not to confess to my dislike of being around rude teenagers or even to brag on our vacation plans.

This blog is about insurance.   The mystery of Spring Break reminded me that this is also the season when many people, with children, start making plans for their summer vacation.

If your travel plans for this summer have you going outside of the United States, there is a mystery that not every vacationer appreciates.  It is the case of the disappearing health insurance.



Medicare does not cover you while you travel over-seas.  Medicare’s contracts are only applicable when your health care is obtained in the United States.

Unless you have one of the Medigap plans that cover you when you are outside of the United States or one of several Travel Health Insurance plans, you will be required to pay for your own medical bills if something happens to you while you are on vacation.

A few years ago one of my clients, who elected not to get a Medigap with Foreign Travel Expense coverage or a short-term International Health Insurance policy broke her hand.

She was required to pay $10,000 to the doctors and hospitals that treated her in Latin America.  Since she was relying exclusively on Medicare, she had to pay that bill out of her personal savings.

Her relaxing vacation became a painful experience in more ways than one.  The ironic thing is that if she had spent less than $100 on International Health Insurance, it would have paid the full $10,000 for her.


Before you board that plane or cruise line, take the time to review your health insurance plan.  Pay very close to the following.

  • A few private health insurance plans will pay for health care when it is obtained outside of the United States.
  • Many of the private health insurance plans that do provide coverage outside of the United States do so with “Out-of-network” benefits.  That means higher deductibles and greater co-insurance for you.
  • Another loop-hole that insurance companies use for international health insurance is that they require you to cut your trip off and return home to use a “Network” provider for non-emergency issues.

As you make your check-list for vacation, remember to add a prompt to review your health insurance.  If it does not provide the level of coverage you want, click on the banner below to get an inexpensive supplement to cover you while you are out of the country.

HTH Banner


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