Walking along the deck of a cruise ship at seaUnderstanding insurance and all the details that go with a policy can be difficult to say the least. Even more so for cruise line crew members, or anyone who requires international coverage. With so many “moving parts”, if you have never used your coverage, or learned how to maximize your coverage, it can be quite a daunting task figuring out where to even start. Which is where we come in! We have provided below information to help you better understand your coverage.

Getting Started

When you first enroll in your new insurance policy, take the time to set up a personal online account. Part of setting that up includes getting your ID cards, downloading any corresponding apps, and obtaining any policy documents. It’s also important to save these documents or know where to find them in your personal online account.

When it comes to reviewing your policy, we recommend looking at the digital copy online so you can find specific terms and sections using the search function (Ctrl+F). Also, be sure to review the Summary of Benefits, which is an overview of your coverage. It is always best to read through the entire policy document for additional conditions and requirements or exclusions. For example, Physical Therapy might be listed in your summary with limits or conditions. If you review the policy further, it may state that you are required to obtain a physician’s prescription.

Finding a Provider

When trying to find a doctor or a provider, there are some things you need to know. When outside of the United States, you are not required to see a particular provider. Most insurance companies will offer a section in their website that allows you to search for providers in different countries. However, when inside the United States, it is recommended that you see a provider within the Preferred Provider Organization Network (PPO) when possible.

A PPO provider is a group of doctors that have agreed to provide care under your plan at a certain rate. Staying within the PPO usually offers the best coverage and overall discounts. When accessing your personal account online, you can search for PPO providers in your area. If you have a doctor already, but they are not in the PPO, you are still able to stay with this doctor, but the amount you must pay may be different for some services. In your policy Summary of Benefits, you can see what the coverage is for services outside of the PPO network.

Do I Need to Pre-Certify?

First things first, what does pre-certify even mean? Pre-certification is the process used to determine whether the services delivered or scheduled to be delivered to a patient are medically necessary and appropriate. It also allows your insurance company to assist in managing your health care costs. It is required when something is “major”, such as surgery or being admitted in the hospital as an inpatient. A detailed list of all the items that require pre-certification will be in your policy. If you are not sure if your procedure requires pre-certification, you should contact your insurer directly.

There is no need to pre-certify when going through routine doctor’s appointments, check-ups, or other minor office visits. But we recommend that you always check pre-certification requirements before any procedure or treatment. Some policies reduce the percentage of coverage if you have not pre-certified your services. It can be up to 50% of a reduction in coverage, so it is important to ensure anything major be pre-certified.

These are just a few basics in understanding your insurance coverage. MHG Insurance has been helping seafaring crew throughout the world for over 30 years. We believe ensuring that crew get the insurance support they need in a timely manner is not only essential but a fundamental service as your broker.

In our next blog, we will cover Insurance Claims - When to File and Key Points to consider. For questions or assistance, please contact us at mhginsurance.com or call us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668. Until then, happy and healthy sailing!

Understanding insurance and all the details that go with a policy can be difficult to say the least. Which is where we come in!

summer tropical beach background; glasses and palm tree reflexThe weather is nice, the kids are home for summer, are you ready for a vacation? It is safe to say that many of us would have the same answer to that question. YES! Even though most cruise line crew members have been home, as cruising has been at a standstill, we know how hard this year has been for everyone mentally and physically. Rest and relaxation are crucial, with a tumultuous year seemingly more and more in our rear view, and summer front and center, it may be time to start planning a getaway. While we are not out of the woods completely in terms of the pandemic, there is no denying that the world is itching to get “back to normal”. However, there are some important steps you need to consider when you decide it is time to get away.

As we have all witnessed, having proper medical coverage is more important now, than ever before. There are still some unknowns regarding travel, and who knows about potential hotspots. Having necessary preparations in place can make the difference between a stressful or stress-free time away. No one wants their summer vacation ruined, especially with it being the first one in a while. Which is why we decided to put together a checklist for you and your family to make sure you are “insurance ready” for your next holiday or vacation!

Plan Ahead

Plan now so you do not have to worry about it later. We realize the last thing you want to think about when planning a fun and exciting trip is insurance but being “insurance prepared” can help ensure a stress-free enjoyable time. When planning, ask yourself these questions:

  • If you get sick or injured, are you covered in the country you are traveling to by an existing insurance policy?
  • Are you required to have proof of medical coverage in the country you are traveling?
  • If you do have proper insurance, does it have ample coverage to protect you and your family in case of an emergency?

In addition to insurance related preparations, there are some medical housekeeping preparations you should consider as well:

  • Do you have enough of your medication for the time you will be away?
  • If you lost or forgot your medication, do you have a list of the meds you take and can you obtain them in the country you are visiting?
  • Do you know who to contact in the event of an emergency?

Things to Consider

When thinking about medical coverage, there are some things you should consider, depending on what your trip has in store. For example, does the medical plan include the following:

· Will there be coverage for the unexpected illness or injury that occurs while you are traveling to your destination?

· Is there evacuation cover in case of serious injury?

· Does your policy have restrictions on activities considered to be “Extreme” sports?

· Does your plan have a mobile app, and have you uploaded it to your phone?

· Is telemedicine covered? (i.e., telehealth or Dr. on demand)

Obviously, there is no way to totally plan for the unexpected, however that is why you plan ahead. As different policies offer different benefits, you may wish to check your policy wording for any specific exclusions. It is recommended that you always travel with your ID card, a list of emergency contacts, and have access to your insurance policy. Be sure to stay tuned to our website for future blogs and articles explaining what to do in case you need to use the coverage, and how to properly navigate your way through the claims process.

MHG Insurance offers different insurance solutions for many areas of business. Our experience and role in the cruise industry is something that we hold in high regard. Our vacation medical plans for officers and crew are tailor made to fit your specific lifestyle. If you have any questions regarding your existing plan, or are interested in purchasing individual marine crew insurance, contact us at mhginsurance.com or call us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to assist and guide you to the best coverage for your budget.

The weather is nice, the kids are home for summer, are you ready for a vacation? It is safe to say that many of us would have the same answer to that question. YES!