Think You’re Covered By Your Health Insurance Plan When Traveling? Not Necessarily.

Think You're Covered by Your Health Insurance Plan When you Travel?  Not Necessarily...
I woke up at 3:00 a.m. with pain in my right eye and constant tear flow.  Not a good way to start the day, especially when you have a 7:10 a.m. flight out-of-town.  The Captain and I landed in Ft. Lauderdale around 9:30 a.m. and I immediately began calling local ophthalmologists.  The first place I called I was able to get an appointment, however, they didn’t take my medical or vision insurance.

Really?

So, I called my insurance company, and was informed “Ms. Passmore, you have an HMO, which only covers you in the DC Metropolitan Area.”

WHAT?

REALLY?

NO COVERAGE OUT OF THE AREA?!

SERIOUSLY?

WTF?!

That was a bitter pill to swallow.

The reason I have an HMO policy under the “affordable care act,” is because my health insurance plan from 2015 which was NOT an HMO was no longer being offered, and the HMO plan covers less and costs $100 more per month than my previous plan (by the way, my monthly premium out of my pocket is almost $500 per month).

Now I know that I can’t have a HMO because I travel too much NOT to be covered when I’m out-of-town.  However, I can’t do anything about that until open season comes around again in November.  Why can’t health insurance be shopped around like auto insurance?  If you find better and/or cheaper coverage, switch without having to wait an entire year.

I am NOT kidding, if something medically serious is going to happen to me, it is going to happen to me in the state of Florida.

I went to Urgent Care in Ft. Lauderdale, and the nice Dr. O told me what I had already suspected.

I have an abrasion on my cornea.  I have no clue how that happened.

No contacts or make-up for a week.

The Dr. wrote three prescriptions, two for my eye and one for a seasickness patch (that I forgot to grab because of the issues with my eye)

Dr. visit $160 out-of-pocket, no reimbursement

Costs of three prescriptions AFTER my prescription insurance was applied:

imageI started crying in CVS.

$600 out-of-pocket for a scratched cornea because I happen to be out-of-town; however, even if I wasn’t out-of-town, I haven’t met my deductible for this year, so I would have encountered a similar result had I been “in network, in the DC Metropolitan Area.”

So, learn from me, and check with your health insurance provider before traveling out of your local network to make sure you’re covered within the U.S.

Traveling outside the U.S. is a whole other issue, and may require a supplemental policy.

And this is called “The Affordable Care Act?”

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