• How Much Cover Do Travelers Really Need?

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    Good medical and health cover is the cornerstone of any modern travel insurance policy but are travelers actually aware of how much cover they need for their two-week vacation in the sun, their three-week safari or mini-cruise? Stefan with ITIJ reports on what constitutes acceptable limits in terms of health costs within a consumer travel insurance policy, and concludes that many travelers are unaware of the cost of treatment abroad and how quickly they can run up a huge medical bill.

    If travelers are unlucky enough to end up in a hospital bed abroad they find themselves at the mercy of the foreign system and its associated costs. Medical bills, even for simple illnesses or injuries, can quickly mount up. Many travelers are sent to private healthcare facilities because public hospitals are below standard and this raises the price of treatment still further. Medical evacuation for a serious illness can cost up to US$100,000 and this bill will be sent to the traveler’s family if they were uninsured or partially insured.

    Many travelers understand the need for health cover but greatly underestimate how much cover they will need. Often travelers take out the cheapest policy they can find, which doesn’t provide cover for the treatment they may need. We welcome any awareness-raising exercise that helps people realize how important adequate health cover is when traveling abroad, and how some policies may not be suitable for their needs. Experts suggest cover of between US$1,000,000 and $3,000,000 for travelers to the US, with emergency evacuation benefits included. WorldMed Insurance offers benefits of US$1,000,000 for accident and illness and $100,000 for emergency medical evacuation, and the plan is suitable for visitors to the United States – one of the most expensive places in the world for healthcare.

    More has to be done to educate travelers about the financial dangers of traveling uninsured and the fact that the cost of treating even a minor condition is much higher than the price of an insurance premium.

  • Croatia Tourism: Emergence from leaps and bounds

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    Croatia, a small country formed after the breakup of Yugoslavia is just made for a great holiday. Though, small in size, but great in natural diversity, Croatia has a rich historical and cultural heritage and above all, the warm hospitality of the people beckons. Many of the most attractive places in Croatia are found along the extremely indented coastline which also features over a thousand islands, islets and reefs. Picturesque mountain areas, rich lowlands and unspoiled nature of national parks are among the wonderful sights of Croatia. Year by year as the number of international tourists exploring the natural beauty of Croatia have been increasing. Croatia offers the same healthcare rights to both its tourists and citizens, and tourists are thus assured of excellent medical treatment, if required.


    Eventful History of Croatia

    The history of Croatia is extremely interesting showing clear periods of rule and government by different bodies and finally resulting in Croatia’s independence in 1990’s. The history of Croatia begins with the arrival of the Croats in the Balkans in the beginning of seventh century that led to the formation of two key regions- Pannonia and Dalmatia. In 1918, after the World War I and the fall of Austro-Hungarian Empire, Croatia’s fidelity was talk of the town. Yugoslavia was transformed from a largely agricultural nation into an industrialized one. It was in immediate need of foreign exchange to gain independence from Moscow. Finally, Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991. The Bosnian War, originating from 1992 and lasting till 1995, was a territorial battle among Serbs, Croats and Bosnians. Itis characterized as the bloodiest event in the history of Europe. Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic attempted to clear parts of the former Yugoslavia of Croats, Bosnians and Muslims in order to create ‘The Greater Serbia’. Finally NATO intervened in 1995 and Dayton Peace Accords were signed on 14 December 1995, officially ending the war.

    Modern Croatia

    Almost two decades after the war ended, Croatia is well recognized as a secure, independent and tourist friendly country. It has full rights in respect to freedom of religion, language and culture afforded to all.

    Things not to miss in Croatia

    • Sunsets in Zadar.
    • Walking through Dubrovnik’s Walls.
    • Plitvice Lakes National Park.
    • Walking down the Premuzic Trail.
    • Varazdin, a perfect BBQ town.
    • The Elaphite islands.
    • Pula Amphitheatre, the greatest gift to the Eastern Adriatic.
    • Sea Kayaking.
    • Peljesac Peninsula, renowned for fantastic sea food and robust red wine.

    There are many wonderful beaches in Croatia including family beaches, sandy, romantic and naturist beaches. Croatia has eight national parks, nature parks of national and world importance. Its cities and summer resorts are also becoming well known in Europe for their bustling night life and entertainment. Many of Croatia’s domestic dishes and specialties are popular for example, Dalmatian or Istrian prosciutto, cheese from pig, sheep cheese etc. For adventure junkies, there are numerous possibilities for sports and recreational activities in Croatia. You can choose between cycling, horse riding, rafting, canoeing and kayaking, water skiing, surfing, beach volleyball and more.

    If you are an adventure lover, Croatia’s rock climbing areas will attract you. The temperatures in Croatian mountains can get very low overnight and there also have been accidents reported in stormy weathers near the mountains, so hikers are advised to enjoy mountain climbing with local guides only. Croatia is considered to be a very safe travel destination, street and violent crimes statistics are very low. The rate of road accidents has always been high so travelers need to be careful while driving. Croatia has a long tradition of welcoming tourists from all around the world.

    Croatia’s government has made health insurance compulsory for all the workforce and craftspeople. As per Stefan, ITIJ foreign tourists visiting Croatia need not pay for any medical services if there is a health insurance convention between Croatia and their home country. If, however, the same has not been done, the health care costs need to be paid by the tourist. The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is not valid in Croatia and initial medical treatment is free for EU visitors. Thereafter, 20 percent of the expenses of follow up care is charged to the patient, and for tourists, this is usually covered by their travel insurance plan. Health care for foreigners in Croatia is provided under the same conditions as for Croatian citizens. There are large number of hospital and small clinics in Croatia. Pharmacy stores are open on weekdays and in some large cities the service is available 24 hours. Emergency evacuation facilities in Croatia are substantial with military helicopters are used as air ambulances to evacuate civilians in need.

    It is highly advisable for international tourists to take medical insurance before embarking on a long and eventful journey as it takes care of any accident or injury during your stay in Croatia.

    In conclusion, historic Croatia, now a modern and relatively strife free country, is an enchanting choice for tourists. Its combination of old world charm and glamour, as well as unspoiled natural heritage beckon!

  • Burden of High Medical Bills: Crisis in US Health Care

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    • Posted by Salsberg
    • 03 October 2013
    • News

    Studies show that the US spends about 20 per cent of its GDP on health care. Medical costs in the US are touching an all time high; though America has the best health care in the world, the medical costs are almost two or three times higher than any other country. Consumers are puzzled by rising medical bills that they cannot understand and to add to their troubles, insurance premiums are getting higher too. As a part of its health reforms toward greater consumer responsibility, the federal government is giving consumers more information about hospital charges and also urging them to look around for cost effective health care.


    Typically, hospital bills are the largest of all medical bills; however, lab bills, outpatient facility bills and charges for services such as physical therapy are also getting more expensive and more complex. Figuring out medical bills has become as complicated as doing your taxes, that many consumers are hiring experts to help decipher them. A common ploy that hospitals use is to charge multiple times for the same service or conceal low cost items behind hi-tech names. To prevent this, consumers should request a detailed statement from their hospital before paying their bills, so they know what they are paying for.

    According to recent estimates, hospital care accounts for nearly one third of the country’s annual health expenditure. What is the reason for these unexpectedly high medical costs? Medical costs for hospital care and doctor visits are mainly responsible for rising medical bills. Hospitals have high cost procedures that improve the quality of health care but Medicare and Medicaid are refusing to pay the costs; private companies are not paying any more than what is in their contract and this is pushing up costs for consumers. The increasing cost of goods and services used for patient care is also a driving factor for rising medical bills. Fortunately, consumers can get affordable health insurance to get the coverage they need, so they can protect themselves from crushing medical costs. There are plenty of health insurance options, so consumers can research before making an informed buying decision.

    Visitors to the US need to estimate the required insurance coverage depending on their age, duration of stay and location.

  • Secure Your Overseas Trip

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    According to a recent survey by TNS Research, almost 31 percent of New Zealanders did not take out travel insurance before going on a holiday, even risking huge medical bills in case of emergencies. 43 percent of the people who were willing to travel uninsured did not mind risking medical costs, while 25 percent did not take insurance cover as they were banking on the country’s health system. Such travellers are depending on reciprocal on reciprocal health agreements that New Zealand has with countries such as Australia and the UK. However, it has been seen that such reciprocal agreements offer travelers a false sense of security, as they might not cover all the medical costs in the unfortunate event of an accident or an emergency medical situation.


    Travelers need to ensure that they are not paying for unnecessary or illusory benefits when they buy travel insurance. Travelers need to decide their coverage limits and benefits required. For example, a number of insurance providers are offering personal liability cover to the tune of millions. In reality, there has never been a personal liability claim that has been more than $100,000. Some insurance providers give generous benefits to their consumers, but at the same time, many consumers have had to bear additional costs as their insurance plan did not provide sufficient benefits to cover travel delay. After the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland and Chile in 2010 and 2011, a lot of insurance companies reduced their travel delay maximum to just $1,000 or $2,000, barely enough to cover such major events.

    Travelers need to be careful about another potential ploy used by insurance companies; quite often, insurers offer a basic policy at a low cost, but augment the cover by offering add-ons that cover specific activities. All buyers need to have is one simple policy offering a good cover instead of confusing options in plans that are designed to make the policy appear cheaper. Statistics show that the most expensive claims that were paid were all medical related, which shows how essential medical coverage is when you travel abroad. Fortunately, international travel insurance takes care of all your overseas medical expenses, so you can travel in peace anywhere in the world.

  • What happens when you need Medical treatment?

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    • Posted by Salsberg
    • 03 April 2013
    • News

    While you are traveling in the United States, on vacation or visiting friends and family, you don’t want to have to call on your travel insurance coverage. Buying Atlas America travel insurance is an essential part of your pre-trip plans but you hope you don’t have to use it. What happens if you do fall sick on your vacation?

    If you are ill while you are in the United States, you can go for treatment at any hospital or doctor’s office. It’s your choice – if one healthcare provider is more convenient than others, you can choose to be treated there.

    However, you may encounter fewer up-front costs if you visit a healthcare provider in the independent Coventry First Health Network PPO. Visiting a doctor or hospital in this PPO network makes it easier to process a claim and lower your out-of-pocket costs.

    If you have a choice, you should visit a provider in this PPO. The Atlas America plan pays out 90% of eligible expenses up to $5,000 then 100% within the network, and 80% up to $5,000 and then 100% outside the network.

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