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Mother and daughter hit with $9,000 in cruise ship medical bills

A travel insurance company took more than a year to reimburse, cutting check after a WUSA9 investigation.

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Stacy Myers and her mom Carol Myers love to see the world from the sea.

“We cruise a lot,” Stacy Myers said. “It’s a great way to travel. You only have to unpack once.”

When the Fredericksburg duo planned a cruise to Europe in Spring 2022, they protected their trip by paying an extra $678 for travel insurance.

“We were still just coming out of COVID, and rules were changing all the time,” Stacy Myers said. “With the airlines and with the cruise lines with Europe, and European countries making changes, and so we were concerned if something should happen there.”

Their instincts proved to be correct because something did happen, one of the pair got sick.

“She’s kind of susceptible to bronchitis,” Stacy Myers said of her mother. “She usually gets it twice a year or so. And this is the time she got it.”

Carol Myers needed five days of medical treatment on board.

“Let me tell you the medical facilities on a cruise ship, while they're much more advanced than they used to be, they're a separate revenue center for the cruise line,” said travel expert Peter Greenberg, also known as The Travel Detective. “Even if you're feeling seasick and you go down to get some seasickness pills, that can cost you $150. Because they charge per visit before they even get into what they're going to be doing for you.”

Carol Myers's medical bill for bronchitis totaled a whopping $9,061. Stacy had to settle up by maxing out her credit cards.

“Then I was expecting I'd be making a couple of minimum payments for a couple months, and then get reimbursed from the travel insurance,” she explained.

But the money from the travel insurance didn’t come. In fact, the Myers went back and forth with the travel insurance company, Travel Insured International or “TII” for more than a year.

So WUSA9 asked TII what was going on?

The company claimed the Myers took months to submit the proper paperwork and didn’t respond to follow-up emails seeking additional documentation.

The Myers say that’s not true.

“They kept sending forms, asking for the same information we'd already sent them, and just in a different format,” Carol Myers said. “And we kept resending the forms. And then they still didn't reimburse us.”

“When we tried to call them, you know, to talk to a person, we’d be on hold for like, three or four hours, and we’d give up.”

Two days after WUSA9 started asking questions, Travel Insured International cut the Myers a $9,061 check to cover Carol Myer's medical bills. Stacy Myer said she still has to eat hundreds of dollars in credit card interest that raked up while they were waiting to get paid.

The Travel Detective said for those thinking about buying travel insurance for an upcoming trip:

  • Read the fine print. Make sure you know what’s covered and what’s not, like pre-existing conditions.
  • Buy travel insurance from a third party that specializes in it, not the airline or cruise line.
  • If something happens on your trip, document everything with detailed records.
  • And expect to do a lot of leg work when you get home to prove your claim and get your expenses reimbursed.

Half of Americans say they are taking a vacation this summer according to a travel survey from Deloitte. That’s up from 46% since last summer according to the research agency.

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