Westworld Alberta

Winter 2014

Westworld Alberta

Issue link: http://westworldmagazine.ama.ab.ca/i/402160

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36 W e s t W o r l d a l b e r t a | w i n t e r 2 0 1 4 (opposite page) curtis comeau A New wAy To Look AT | Travel Medical Insurance Surgery South of the Border: Leo and Sylvia Fortier SAVED: $80,000 hen Sylvia and Leo Fortier filled out their travel medical insurance ques- tionnaire in fall 2013, at first they didn't list a couple of the prescrip- tions they were taking. ey just didn't think to note something as seemingly minor as cholesterol pills. Fortunately, a query from their agent at the St. Albert AMA centre prompted them to rethink their responses. "ere was one question at the bottom about whether you had a medical condition. We had both put no," says Sylvia. "When our agent asked us if we were on or taking any other medication, we realized we needed to tell them about the cholesterol pills." It was a fortunate reminder, not to mention a good reason to buy insurance in person, from an agent. Omissions in travel medical insurance paper- work can sometimes result in coverage failing to kick in. But the Fortiers' policy was there in force – and when they needed it most. In late December, the couple, who spend part of each winter in Arizona, were driving down from their hometown of Vimy, 60 kilometres north of Edmonton, for a planned three-month stay. Near Dillon, Mon., 80-year-old Leo started feeling sick, with all the telltale signs of a heart attack: chest pains, sore arms, nausea. Recalls Sylvia: "We had stopped to fuel up, and he didn't feel very good or look very good, so I said, 'Do you want to see if we can find a medical centre or a hospital,' and he said, 'Yeah, I think we better.' " So they made tracks for the local hospital. When they arrived, things hap- pened fast. e emergency staff wheeled Leo away, and Sylvia called AMA. "By the time I got to where they were working on him, and got a hold of the insurance, the medical staff had already ordered a plane to fly him to Missoula, to the heart hospital," she says. With the medical expenses pre-approved and the claim open, Sylvia drove the three hours to Missoula. ere, Leo went in for surgery. In the meantime, the Fortiers' children were travelling to be with them. "Our son flew from Arizona and our daughter and son- in-law drove back – they had spent Christmas in Arizona and they drove straight back. I think it took them something like 17 hours." e sur- gery went well, and on Dec. 31, Sylvia checked Leo out and drove him home to Alberta. A year later, after plenty of recovery time and a follow-up surgery in Edmonton, Leo is doing much better. And all the better con- sidering that for the small price of a travel medical insurance policy – around $900 for an annual package and $1,800 to top up for their jour- ney south – he and Sylvia avoided a staggering $80,000 in medical bills. Plus they received a refund of the $1,800 they'd paid to top up, because they came home early. at was one valuable reminder! W TIP! In a medical emergency, call the number on the front of your insurance card as soon as possible. You need to present the card at the hospital, but the call is critical to starting the claim process. "It all goes together," says Pam Murray, AMA manager of travel medical insurance sales. "If you just present the card, but you haven't made the call to us, we don't know that you have a claim. Once we know, we can help." W W W

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