It was almost as an afterthought that Chuck bought travel medical insurance for our family as we headed out on our first out-of-country holiday. As Canadians we take universal medicare for granted. Our kids are healthy. Other than Noah's croup at age 3 months I don't think any of them have ever been sick enough or injured enough to see a doctor. But luckily Chuck paid the $40 for nine days of travel medical insurance. And luckily we have one of those auto insurance plans that covers you for rental vehicles. Because within five days we would need both of those insurance plans.
Sophie got sick almost as soon as we crossed the border into the US. At first it was mild and non-specific, but was we made our way down the coast of California on the train we started getting worried. By the time we got her to a hospital ER the next day she had perforated her appendix. We racked up medical bills pretty quickly after that. Within an hour or two she'd had blood work, plain xrays, an ultrasound and a CT scan. The surgeon had been consulted and she'd been referred to the pediatric surgery department at a major teaching hospital. What followed was a lights-and-sirens 70 mile ambulance transfer, assessment by two physicians in ER, admission as an in-patient and two days of IV's, antibiotics, morphine and repeated assessments by the surgical team. It would have cost a fortune.
On the second morning she was in hospital I was driving the 70 miles in to trade off with Chuck at her bedside. I'd got up early and was cruising along the interstate hoping to be there early. Some guy in a paratransit van pulled over into my lane without looking, side-swiping the rental vehicle, creating dents all down the two passenger side doors. He'd been reported to the police for erratic driving 20 minutes earlier, and his octagenarian passengers told the police that his driving was "terrible!" so there was no question where the fault lay. But still, without an insurance company to broker the claim on our behalf we would probably have had to pay out of pocket and I'm sure it would have been tough to pursue a personal claim against him from Canada.
(They do say that bad luck comes in twos, right? That stuff about threes is just a myth. I hope. If not, can I count the fact that it has rained on us here in the desert as our third bit of bad luck, please? I don't think I can take any more catastrophes.)
Anyway, I am very thankful for the insurance we carried on this trip. We've never before had to rely on insurance like this. It has worked flawlessly for us.
Oh, and for those who haven't followed the saga on Facebook, I'll just reassure you that no one was injured in the car accident, and Sophie is out of hospital and doing fairly well, choking back her antibiotics and codeine like a trooper, and managing to eat a bit too.