Cruise Crew MembersIf you’re a Crew Member working onboard a cruise ship, we have some important information for you regarding insurance claims. As you know, Crew Insurance is different than your typical health insurance policy, which means there are some points you need to consider and be aware of when it’s time to go use it.

Claim Payments

One of the more common questions we receive is “When should I pay a medical bill and when would a provider bill the insurance company directly?” Generally speaking, all claims incurred outside of the United States will likely require you to pay for the services upfront. In some cases, your provider will have a direct billing agreement in place with your insurance company and will bill them directly, but this is not the norm so it’s best to assume that you will be paying upfront.

That process and expectation is usually different when inside the United States. Typically, in the U.S, you should provide your insurance ID card to your doctor, who will then call your insurance company to verify your benefits and bill the insurance company directly. It is important to note that you may be asked to pay co-pays, deductibles, or items that are not covered at the time of services.

Something to note is a Guarantee of Payment (GOP). A GOP is an option for services provided overseas with international providers. It is requested by the provider to the insurance company. Usually, a GOP is arranged when charges will be high. It is also good to know that it is solely up to your provider to accept a GOP. If you have further questions regarding when a GOP is used, feel free to reach out to us at the contact details below.

Filing a Claim

Filing an insurance claim is necessary if you have paid for services up front that you believe are covered under your policy. Knowing where to go and what is required ensures that the claim will be processed without delays.

Once you are enrolled for coverage, make sure you set up your online account and upload the mobile app if available. That way, when/if you have a claim, simply log into your account, and access the claims section. The process of uploading the claims is usually very straightforward. If you have questions about filing your claim, as your insurance broker, MHG is always here to assist.

Be sure to have an electronic copy of your documents before you get started. This helps streamline the filing process. Include all invoices, itemized bills, and receipts showing proof of payment so that the claims examiner has everything required to process your claim. Once you have filed your claim, it will go directly to your insurance company. You will also be able to view its progress in your personal account. If something is missing, or the claims examiner needs additional clarification, it will be listed in your online personal account.

When Problems Arise

Sometimes, you can take all the right steps, be proactive, and yet there can be an issue. If your claim is not processed and you do not know why, or it is denied and you have a question as to why that happened, it is best to call the insurance company’s service department. That number will always be listed on your ID card. Their customer service department has direct access to the claims system for the insurance company and will be able to see exactly what is needed to finalize the claim. At any point, as your broker, MHG is always here to assist and guide you through any issues or hurdles you may face.

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 plans for officers and crew are tailor made to fit the maritime industry. If you have any questions regarding your existing employer group 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.

If you’re a Crew Member working onboard a cruise ship, we have some important information for you regarding insurance claims.

Young Chinese Navigator Navigating His Ship

Years ago, working on a cruise ship was just for kicks with many of us heading to the high seas to enjoy the experience for a few months or maybe a year at most. Now, crew members choose life at sea as a career choice with goals and aspirations of 5–10-15 years onboard. With this shift in “career” focus, its important for cruise lines and concessionaires to strategically recruit those goal-oriented crew members and work to obtain and maintain their loyalty. The industry is more competitive than ever, so providing an advantageous employment package is essential.

Where Do I Start?

How do you obtain loyalty from your crew, ensuring they wish to return year after year? A good salary is a great start but there are additional ways to retain the right crew that will not only benefit them but you as the employer.

Over the last two-plus years, we have all been faced with the challenges of staying healthy, not only physically but mentally. And I imagine many of you have checked your health insurance policy for the first time to understand your benefit and limitations. Well, you are not alone, your crew are doing the same thing. They want to make sure they maintain good health enabling them to work at sea, provide for their family and also be healthy after completing their contract so they can enjoy their time off. A key part of maintaining good health means getting the care and treatment you need when you need it.

Health is Wealth

Providing more than just the basic medical coverage for your crew can be cost-effective and ensure your crew return after their holiday in their healthiest state. Ensuring your crew are healthy is not only important but also vital to your business. If you do not currently provide any additional medical coverage besides the legal requirements, you may wish to consider a vacation medical policy. This is medical coverage for your international crew once they sign off the ship from a completed contract until they return for their next contract. This kind of coverage allows the crew member to visit doctors while signed off and take care of any medical needs or treatment necessary and ensure they are physically ready to return for their next assignment onboard. Policies can also include the employee’s dependents which would be 24/7 in their home country.

If you want to go a step further, consider primary medical insurance for your crew or senior officers. This kind of coverage is primary to your required P&I insurance. While a little greater in costs, these plans provide excellent medical coverage 24/7 with global networks worldwide.

MHG has been providing insurance solutions for the maritime industry for over 30 years. We pride ourselves in offering superior service for your business needs. For questions or assistance, please contact us at mhginsurance.com or call +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 and ask for the cruise division.

The industry is more competitive than ever, so providing an advantageous employment package is essential.

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!