MHG Insurance Brokers, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, provides yacht crew health insurance plans designed specifically to meet the needs of today’s global yachting industry. In this week’s blog MHG Insurance Brokers Mark Bononi, director of the company’s Yacht Division, answers questions related to yacht crew insurance.
Q: In addition to yacht crew health insurance, what other types of insurance should I be considering?
A: It’s also important to consider having life insurance and a disability income plan. Life insurance is designed with your loved ones in mind and plays an important role in your overall financial plan. In the event of your death, beneficiaries can be comforted knowing that they have time to re-adjust their standard of living, can pay off debts or other expenses or provide for their children's education. Having a disability income plan is equally important. A disability income plan can offer you peace of mind knowing a significant portion of your income can be replaced in the event of an unfortunate accident or sickness. Unfortunately, we have all heard or read about the tragic stories of a crewmember who suffered a debilitating injury or illness which forced them to leave the yacht and were unable to return to work for an extended period of time. It is also important to be prepared for the less serious injuries that could also keep you off work such as a broken ankle or severe knee injury. If you’re in between yachts or do not need to purchase a full-time health insurance plan, there are short term health insurance solutions that we can help you with as well.
Q: Do yacht crew health insurance plans cover typical water sports activities like scuba diving?
A: Yes, but as with all insurance policies, there are exclusions and limitations so it is important to check policies carefully if you intend to participate in these activities. Normally, water skiing, jet skiing and winter sports are covered under most yacht crew health insurance plans, but there are still some policies where winter sports are excluded, so you need to review the coverage and ask questions.
Q: Is emergency medical evacuation standard in most plans?
A: Yes. However, the circumstances where an evacuation can be performed will vary from plan to plan. Normally, a medical evacuation requires you to be either at risk for loss of life or limb in the opinion of the attending physician, and that there are inadequate medical facilities to treat you. Evacuation is to the nearest facility able to provide the necessary treatment.
Q: What are the eligibility requirements to sign up for a yacht crew insurance plan?
A: Generally, you must be a full-time yacht crew member or reasonably expect to be working on a yacht as your primary means of income. Also, medical history can determine what type of insurance you may need, or what plans you may be eligible for.
Q: What happens to my plan after I leave yachting?
A: In most cases, you will need to find an alternative solution when you return home. It’s important to discuss your current needs and future plans with your insurance specialist when selecting a health insurance plan. A yacht crew health insurance plan may not always be the right solution for you if you’re looking to keep the plan for the long-term.
Q: As a U.S. citizen I am now required to have health insurance. Do yacht crew insurance plans satisfy this requirement?
A: Currently, there are no individual yacht crew policies which satisfy this requirement. However, MHG is an approved Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) insurance agency and our team can answer all of your questions and help you find the right US health insurance plan based on your needs and budget. Open enrollment for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2015, begins Nov. 15, 2014. However, if you’re looking for coverage now, a short-term health insurance plan may be a good interim solution.
Q: What factors should I consider when selecting a yacht crew health insurance plan?
A: When selecting a yacht crew health insurance plan you should consider your itinerary, medical history, budget and your future plans. If you’re looking for specific coverage such as dependent or maternity coverage or coverage for a specific winter or water sports activity, that should be a consideration as well.
Q: Am I covered by the yacht owner?
A: Yes, indirectly. However, the yacht owner’s insurance is not your insurance. Also keep in mind that the owner’s insurance and liability does not necessarily extend coverage to you when you are off the vessel or on vacation. There may be other restrictions and limitations as well, which can create large gaps in your coverage. When you incur medical expenses, doctors and hospitals will hold you responsible for payment, not the vessel owner.
Q: What other services are included with insurance policies?
A: In addition to your coverage, many insurance plans offer additional assistance such as help with lost luggage, lost passports, health alerts, and safety and security notices. Our Insurance Specialists will be able to tell you more once you start discussing individual plans that are suited to your needs.
Q: Do I always have to pay at time of service and apply for reimbursement?
A: Not always. Most insurance carriers are happy to work directly with doctors and hospitals. However, in many cases, especially for smaller claim amounts, the doctor or hospital will require payment upfront. The key to successful direct billing is to establish communication between the doctor and the insurance carrier as early as possible before treatment. We’re of course happy to help with this.
We know that dealing with insurance can be complicated. Insurance has its own language and attempting to evaluate all of the information on your own can be overwhelming. At MHG, we have the experience and resources to help you select the best solution for your particular circumstances, coverage requirements and budget. Once you purchase a policy we will continue to assist you with questions about your policy, details about the coverage it provides and throughout the claims process. Whether you are purchasing a plan for the first time, already have a plan in place and are looking for a more affordable alternative or, simply looking for better coverage, let us know, we would be happy to help.
To learn more about yacht crew health insurance for groups, individuals or fleets call us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com