A Money-Saving Travel Lesson Well Learned

by Mel Howell

Bangkok

February 7, 2013

It just took a phone call, a form and a few minutes to put some well-spent dollars back in my pocket—here’s how.

Recently I was attending a conference in Bangkok and had just checked into the hotel. However my mind wasn’t on the upcoming event but rather a very annoying rash on my back that had been bugging me for weeks. I was wishing I had taken time to have my doctor check it back in the states before returning to Asia. That distraction led me to exit the hotel elevator on the wrong floor. By the time I realized my error, I was wandering down a hall with offices instead of guestrooms when I passed the unexpected—an office marked “Global Doctor—Guests welcome!” So, with a bit of uncertainty, I entered and asked if they might have a referral for a local dermatologist. They actually had something better—a dermatologist on duty!

By the time I left I had a diagnosis, some medication and a paid-in-full receipt for just over $100. This was frankly a part of missionary travel I hadn’t budgeted for. My travel insurance is supposed to be good for overseas care but I hadn’t called for prior approval. I had no forms on hand to submit and the Global Doctor receptionist wanted cash (and wasn’t impressed with my insurance ID) so I figured this was just part of the cost of being far away from home.

Several weeks later I remembered that expense and decided to call my insurance to see if it might be reimbursable. The agent I spoke with suggested I go on-line to submit a claim on a special form for international care. It was surprisingly easy to use but, I honestly had little expectation I would ever see anything but a response marked “rejected.” Oh ye of little faith! The check for $90 came through in just a couple of weeks and I realized I almost didn’t bother to ask.

…A money-saving travel lesson well learned. What lesson have you learned lately?

Category: Missionary Minded