Not where I should be

I should be at the Families in Global Transition Conference which is starting today, but I’m not.  The reason I’m not there is because I picked up the phone to speak to my medical insurance company after reading about recent incidents with Canadians who’d traveled to the US and ended up with huge medical bills as a result of not understanding their policies.

Now I’m the first to admit that insurance policies are right at the bottom of my reading list. But the helpful woman at the other end of the phone explained that because I’m currently undergoing tests, my coverage won’t extend to some potentially very expensive medical emergencies.  So even though my doctor assures me I’m well enough to travel and in all likelihood I’m healthy as a horse, I could be putting my family’s financial future on the line.  So very reluctantly I cancelled at the last minute.  My apologies to my many friends and colleagues who are shouldering my responsibilities in my absence.

To say I’m frustrated and disappointed is the world’s biggest understatement, but I’m not writing this for your sympathy.  I want to alert you to this ‘loophole,’ which I’m told is a common, even on policies like mine which advertise that they cover you for pre-existing conditions.  I shiver to think about past incidences where I may have traveled unwittingly without coverage.

Rachel Yates at Defining Moves just posted a few days ago with a useful checklist about healthcare for expats, and I’d like to add my tip about checking with your insurer if you have seen a doctor anytime in a 3 month window before you travel.

I’m well aware that this is a privileged expat whinge.  Millions of people don’t have healthcare insurance even in North America, and millions more all over the world don’t have access to healthcare treatment at all.  Despondent though I am at missing this annual get-together with bright international minds, I am thanking my lucky stars for who I am and where I am right now.

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5 thoughts on “Not where I should be

  1. I’m disappointed for you, Judy, especially after all the hard work you put into your Kitchen Table presentation. I know your presentation partner Alaine Handa will rise to the occasion and put on a great show all by herself, but I’m sure she’s going to miss having you there. Still, better safe than sorry — and at least you’ve turned this into a teachable moment for the rest of us.

  2. Hi Judy,
    I was so sorry I didn’t get to meet you. You and Rachel were my “friends” from twitter that I looked forward to meeting up with and getting to know f 2 f. The conference was great but every now and then I thought “Judy would be doing that” or “Judy would appreciate that” – and I don’t even “know” you! How powerful is social media!

    Like you I went through the medical insurance process of completing an on-line assessment and paying more for a pre-existing condition but I wasn’t in your situation. I hope the test results are all things to rejoice over and your status as a travellor is returned soon. But I also agree with you having heard too many expat and travellor war stories of massive financial implications in not having insurance. A tough decision but a wise one.

    and I hope we can meet sometime soon!

    • I was sorry not to meet you and Rachel too. One of my first encounters at my first FIGT conference was someone who said “Oh, it’s YOU, wifeinasuitcase!” :) Meeting virtual friends for the first time is so much fun. I’m still grounded as it’s taking a while to get the tests done, but I’m confident all will be well. Thanks for your good wishes.

  3. We missed you, Judy. Alaine did a wonderful job on the Kitchen Table Conversation, but we kept wishing you were there to thank in person for all the work you had put in, and the support – especially considering my pre conference jitters!
    We did our best to tweet, but you would have been amused to see three 40-somethings huddled over a single phone, frantically taking notes and then taking it in turn to tweet, all fingers and thumbs and pressure to hand over to the next person.. It’s probably not your typical Tweet-up!

    Fingers crossed that we meet soon!

    • Ha! Better than a 50 something struggling to tweet on a phone. My consolation prize for not going was to FINALLY treat myself to a “smart” phone. Now I just have to get smart enough to figure out how to use it :)

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