Ticketing Troubles

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Aug 9, 2017
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#1
I'm hoping you all can help me. I purchased a cruise for my dad and stepmom for my dad's 75th birthday/15 year wedding anniversary. It was to be the trip of a lifetime- an Oceania 12 day Mediterranean Cruise and Business Class air travel. I received a call from my dad last week after all final deposits were made, that he has experienced a tremendous amount of anxiety over the trip that he is unable to go. Concerns about the trip and medical care available to him while he is away from the US is overwhelming him. He had A-fib but had an ablation earlier in the year. He was last seen by a doctor for a follow up in June. We did not purchase insurance at the time of booking because I wanted to wait until the 60 days post last treatment had passed to purchase it. The Delta airline tickets were booked separate from the cruise. I knew at the time of purchase that they were non refundable. I mistakenly thought that while non refundable, since I purchased the tickets, I could get a credit if I canceled them. I learned that they are not transferable and only my dad and stepmom can use them. Unfortunately, I do not believe that my dad will be able to use the credit because of his concerns over travel and his medical issue. My husband and I have tried to resolve the issue with Delta but have not been successful. We were able to get the cruise transferred to us since we were the purchasers and there was language in the contract that allowed us to use it. However, we have had no such luck with the airline tickets. We are now trying to decide how to proceed, since we would have to purchase additional airline tickets to use the cruise. We have until tomorrow to decide whether we cancel the cruise and only lose 25% of the cost of the cruise (and 100% of the airline fare).
 

technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
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#2
Okay, the first question is can your father go or not? If he's been cleared by the doctor, he can (and should) purchase medical insurance for personal travel for both himself and his wife. International SOS, Allianz, Blue Cross, IMG Global and others offer the insurance. The knowledge that this is available and reasonably inexpensive may allay his fears. @jsn55 can tell you her experiences with how wonderful medical insurance is when travelling.

If its a firm "he can't/won't go", then your best bet is to do the math - is the cost of 2 airline tickets less than 25% of the cost of the cruise? If it is, go on the cruise would be my recommendation, and try to beg Delta via the company contacts to have them transfer the credit to you. You may win, you may lose, but you're still out of pocket the minimum you can be.

If it's more, then you have to consider how badly you want to go, and it may be the best decision is not to go, but only you can make that final decision.
 
Aug 9, 2017
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#3
Okay, the first question is can your father go or not? If he's been cleared by the doctor, he can (and should) purchase medical insurance for personal travel for both himself and his wife. International SOS, Allianz, Blue Cross, IMG Global and others offer the insurance. The knowledge that this is available and reasonably inexpensive may allay his fears. @jsn55 can tell you her experiences with how wonderful medical insurance is when travelling.

If its a firm "he can't/won't go", then your best bet is to do the math - is the cost of 2 airline tickets less than 25% of the cost of the cruise? If it is, go on the cruise would be my recommendation, and try to beg Delta via the company contacts to have them transfer the credit to you. You may win, you may lose, but you're still out of pocket the minimum you can be.

If it's more, then you have to consider how badly you want to go, and it may be the best decision is not to go, but only you can make that final decision.
Thank you!
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#4
Travel insurance will NOT help if he is scared because it specifically does not cover this reason - that is included in emotional disorders. However, even just a medical policy at this point for a 75 year old is not going to be inexpensive but he should have it anyway.

And if you know he is already anxious about this - it is pre-existing and you may have a hard time if you bought a Cancel for Any Reason policy too now. Plus you would not be reimbursed in full with CFAR

You should have bought a policy that waived pre-existing conditions at the time you made the deposit because he would have been covered if you bought at that time. To get that waiver, you must buy either at time of deposit or within 2 - 3 weeks, depending on the policy. You didn't need to wait 60 days - many policies have this waiver and as long as he was physically able to travel at the time you bought that policy his heart issue would have been covered.

At this point - he needs to go or you will lose everything. Can't his Dr. give him some anti anxiety meds to help?
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#5
I agree with Neil. Perhaps your dad's physician can prescribe him some meds to alleviate the anxiety. You could also request wheelchair services and other special assistance for them during airport transfers. My friend did this for his mother when she flew to Japan by herself (in her late 70s) and she said the staff at United was wonderful. Between that and the medical insurance for travel he and your stepmom should be okay. They will be in Business Class so they will be much more comfortable. I hope they are able to take this trip. It's a very nice gesture on the part of you and your husband.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#6
Of course I hope your dad will go on the cruise, it's a wonderful thing you've done for them. But I suspect that he will refuse any anti-anxiety meds and just not go. If his wife could convince him to try them for a week at home, he might find out that they are quite wonderful ... it's great to go on a trip without anxiety (not to mention the rest of life). Be sure to tell him that doctors around the world have a pretty good grasp of English, if he's concerned about that.

Nobody will say that 'he shouldn't worry because there's a doctor on board' because those doctors may or may not be good ones. If he's really worried, I'd hate to see him teamed up with a bad doc and really ruin his cruise.

However, if he's generally in good health, he might be comforted with an Emergency Medical Evacuation policy. I have first hand experience, and will post a link to my story from a couple of years ago.

It's important that everyone recognize what EME coverage is. It's not travel insurance, it's not health insurance, it's evacuation coverage in case of a medical emergency that forces you to curtail your trip and come home.

Does your father carry supplemental health insurance to go with his Medicare? We were out of pocket very little after my husband's new hip in Paris.

Your letter to us was excellent and you are a good communicator. If your dad won't change his mind in the next few hours, I would hope that you take the cruise with your husband.

In the meantime, you can go after Delta to cancel the tix and issue you and your husband vouchers that you can apply to new tix for the two of you, less the cancellation fee. There's no reason they can't do that, just their dumb self-made rules. We can show you exactly how to go about it.

It's a risk, but you can calculate the numbers to see if it's worth taking that risk. I would hate to see you not go on such a great cruise with a wonderful cruise line. I can also see that there's no point for your dad to take a cruise if he'll be so anxious that he'll ruin it for the both of them. Please let us know what happens tomorrow!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#8
Of course I hope your dad will go on the cruise, it's a wonderful thing you've done for them. But I suspect that he will refuse any anti-anxiety meds and just not go. If his wife could convince him to try them for a week at home, he might find out that they are quite wonderful ... it's great to go on a trip without anxiety (not to mention the rest of life). Be sure to tell him that doctors around the world have a pretty good grasp of English, if he's concerned about that.

Nobody will say that 'he shouldn't worry because there's a doctor on board' because those doctors may or may not be good ones. If he's really worried, I'd hate to see him teamed up with a bad doc and really ruin his cruise.

However, if he's generally in good health, he might be comforted with an Emergency Medical Evacuation policy. I have first hand experience, and will post a link to my story from a couple of years ago.

It's important that everyone recognize what EME coverage is. It's not travel insurance, it's not health insurance, it's evacuation coverage in case of a medical emergency that forces you to curtail your trip and come home.

Does your father carry supplemental health insurance to go with his Medicare? We were out of pocket very little after my husband's new hip in Paris.

Your letter to us was excellent and you are a good communicator. If your dad won't change his mind in the next few hours, I would hope that you take the cruise with your husband.

In the meantime, you can go after Delta to cancel the tix and issue you and your husband vouchers that you can apply to new tix for the two of you, less the cancellation fee. There's no reason they can't do that, just their dumb self-made rules. We can show you exactly how to go about it.

It's a risk, but you can calculate the numbers to see if it's worth taking that risk. I would hate to see you not go on such a great cruise with a wonderful cruise line. I can also see that there's no point for your dad to take a cruise if he'll be so anxious that he'll ruin it for the both of them. Please let us know what happens tomorrow!
Medicare and most insurance in the US doesn't cover outside the US. Even the supplemental so he really needs travel insurance.

And she can't cancel the air and get a credit for her and her husband to use- the credit will be issued in her Dad and step moms names, they own the tickets and the credit.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#9
I don't agree, Neil. "And she can't cancel the air and get a credit for her and her husband to use- the credit will be issued in her Dad and step moms names, they own the tickets and the credit."

These kinds of rules are made up by the airline and can be waived by the airline. I've experienced several exceptions myself, and we have seen many on this forum. It's for sure a long shot, but it's definitely POSSIBLE. A polite, concise letter to Delta customer service will undoubtedly get the standard NO. But an appeal to the executives just may get an approval of the exception. As we like to say, nothing good will happen unless you ASK. In this case, it's all about the numbers and the risk our OP is willing to take.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#10
You are right - it doesn't hurt to write and ask. As we've seen here, nothing surprises us when a well written letter lands on the right desk.

If our letter writer doesn't get an exception made she at least will understand why.
 
Likes: jsn55
#11
Medicare Supplement ("MediGap") plans "C" and "F" indeed provide overseas coverage. You have to pay for the treatment when rendered and then fight to get 80% of the costs reimbursed, but eventually they'll pay. Nevertheless, travel insurance is a "must" because of its other benefits.

Below is a list of costs and benefits covered by Medicare Supplement Plan F:
  • Part A hospital and coinsurance costs up to an additional 356 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted
  • Medicare Part A hospice care copayment or coinsurance
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance
  • Medicare Part B excess charges
  • Medicare Part A deductible
  • Medicare Part B deductible
  • First three pints of blood used in an approved medical procedure (annually)
  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage (80%, up to plan limits)
 
#13
I read your post as saying "...even the supplemental..." doesn't have coverage. I was just trying to clarify that some of the supplementals indeed do provide some out-of-country benefits. I am still a firm believer in travel insurance. Don't leave home without it!
 
Likes: SKroot

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,210
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San Francisco
#14
Medicare Supplement ("MediGap") plans "C" and "F" indeed provide overseas coverage. You have to pay for the treatment when rendered and then fight to get 80% of the costs reimbursed, but eventually they'll pay. Nevertheless, travel insurance is a "must" because of its other benefits.

Below is a list of costs and benefits covered by Medicare Supplement Plan F:
  • Part A hospital and coinsurance costs up to an additional 356 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted
  • Medicare Part A hospice care copayment or coinsurance
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance
  • Medicare Part B excess charges
  • Medicare Part A deductible
  • Medicare Part B deductible
  • First three pints of blood used in an approved medical procedure (annually)
  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage (80%, up to plan limits)
Thank you for this concise description, George. I don't think even 25% of people on Medicare have a clue about their coverage. But information is always available by phone and I'm told that Medicare people are quite helpful.
 
#15
Thank you for this concise description, George. I don't think even 25% of people on Medicare have a clue about their coverage. But information is always available by phone and I'm told that Medicare people are quite helpful.
Just keep in mind that @Neil is absolutely correct - - if you don't have the right Medicare Supplement policy, you don't have the coverage I've described.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,210
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San Francisco
#16
Just keep in mind that @Neil is absolutely correct - - if you don't have the right Medicare Supplement policy, you don't have the coverage I've described.
You were crystal clear that it was Plan F you were addressing, George. I would hope that people on Medicare would at least know about the various coverages and their alphabet names.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#17
I think the majority of us only have the basic Medicare coverage. I actually asked a bunch of guys at the VFW how many of them had C and F supplements and not one of them knew what I was talking about.

But I did learn going forward to define in the future when referring to Medicare and coverage outside the US- thank George.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#18
Advising anti-anxiety meds for a 75 yr old is very bad advice from a medical perspective. The risk of adverse reactions, particularly falls on a cruise, could be catastrophic. This cruise could become very memorable for all the wrong reasons.
 
Likes: krisseye
Apr 10, 2017
561
851
93
#19
He and his physician will make that determination. He/she is the one who knows his medical history and what other medications he is taking. Anti-anxiety drugs aren't contraindicated simply because of his age.

My dad is 79. His anxiety was so bad a few years ago he was making multiple trips to the local E.R. He thought he was having heart attacks and he had every kind of cardiac test performed. The cardiologist told him he had the heart of a healthy 40 year old but he was having awful panic attacks. He started taking Xanax and it has been quite helpful. The red wine I buy him regularly helps a lot too. ;)
 
#20
The discussion of anxiety medication reminded me of something from my younger days.

Some years ago I went on a cruise sponsored by our local Chamber of Commerce. Among the 30 couples was a dentist friend who was deathly afraid of flying. He self-medicated with Ativan, and clearly overdid it. He figured that if one pill was good then three or four would be even better. He doesn't really remember the flight to Miami or the first two days of the cruise, and actually disappeared for one night. Some friends found him in the morning sleeping in one of the lounges. My point is, you don't have to be 75 to overdo anti-anxiety medications. Even young medical professionals are susceptible!
 
Likes: jsn55