Travel Insurance Yet Again: Sorry I am sure this... - CLL Support

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Travel Insurance Yet Again

ScruffyDuck profile image

Sorry I am sure this comes around all the time but I am finding it hard to get a good quote for trips to the US. I used World First until they refused me last year one month after accepting me on another trip. Their screening seems to have changed.

I am 73, been in watch and wait since 2012, Lymphocyte count going up but my consultant still has me on annual visits. I do have a insurer who will cover me with me having to mortgage the cat (and house) but I would be interested to hear who y'all are using at this time

Many thanks


28 Replies
Newdawn profile image

I feel your pain Jon as I’m about to ring round for travel insurance (Europe) and had heard the screening had changed for World First.

Did you try any of the insurers on the list I posted a while ago?


ScruffyDuck profile image
ScruffyDuck in reply to Newdawn

Thanks for the quick reply. I did not find your list - not looking hard enough. Some of them I have tried some of them but not off your list.

mrsjsmith profile image
mrsjsmith in reply to Newdawn

Thank you Dawn,

I have printed this list and will keep.

Kind regards

Colette x

World First screening has changed a bit. They did not seem too interested in my Ibrutinib/Venetoclax trial although there is a question about trials now. I get referred to underwriters for further questions as my Platelets was below 150 (it was 145). The interrogation by the underwriter ended up as just asking the same questions again followed by a ‘do you want the insurance type question’. It was at this point I said having the price would be useful. Rest of discussion was fine with a bit of humour.

Hey Jon and NewDawn,

Can you guys explain this whole travel insurance thing to me? I am not sure I quite get it. For medical coverage outside the UK? Or trip cancellation? And regardless of what it is....why is it so expensive? I don't know if this type of thing is common in the USA, Renee and I usually had our own airplane....but those days are I can't say I ever bought or knew anything about Travel insurance.....


Newdawn profile image
NewdawnAdministrator in reply to

Britain is quite small compared to the USA Scott so we usually travel outside of the U.K. for vacations/holidays, different countries require you to have private travel insurance to cover cancellation, medical expenses, loss of belongings and repatriation in case of serious medical emergency.

We have the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) which allows EU nationals to use public hospitals under a reciprocal health agreement. However this doesn’t cover private hospitals or repatriation. Also some of the public hospitals are less developed especially in remote areas.

As Britain has now pulled out of the EU, nobody knows what will become of the reciprocal health agreements.

Essentially private travel insurance is needed because we are not travelling within our own country. It’s expensive with pre existing conditions like CLL and some insurers don’t want to cover the risk involved (like sudden infection like pneumonia or a ruptured spleen!)

So they charge exorbitant premiums in some cases.


ScruffyDuck profile image
ScruffyDuck in reply to Newdawn

Newdawn answered it. I live in the UK but my family is all in the US. To travel there I need insurance both for loss of things like baggage or cancellation cover for accommodation. Actually I don't need these and try to avoid covering them since my family has property there and I have clothes and so on. The big issue is medical cover. In the event of accident or illness we need insurance to pay for hospitals, treatment and maybe even repatriation. I am sure y'all will know just how much it cost for medical in the US. My sister spent one night in hospital in Florida and the cost was nearly $30,000. My brother in law had serious complications from gall bladder removal and his total costs were $1.5m. Now they have both lived in the US most of their lives and have insurance but if something happened like that to one of us from the UK then we need cover, Generally the insurance covers up to $10m in medical expenses. CLL is particularly difficulat as Newdawn says since it is an immune deficient disease.

in reply to ScruffyDuck

As I said, yeah, you will get medical care without insurance....but definitely on the now you owe us so much money you might as well just go bankrupt now sort of payment plan.

in reply to Newdawn

OK, I think I understand a little better. But ScruffyDuck should know....hospitals can't actually refuse to treat you here in the US cause you don't have medical insurance/coverage. You might not get great care....but if you got into an accident you would get taken care of. There are some, a few hospitals (likely private) that have refused to treat people but they almost always get into big trouble....even the private type places must provide at least basic stabilizing care before transporting to another hospital.

I guess you should always have enough loot to get home, of course....the cancellation stuff...I dunno....we never book through an agency..Renee and I did that once to the Bahamas...a real nice trip...except when we got there we only had these agency "vouchers" and they treated us like slobs....our super nice we got a basic single....we got nothing we paid for and all they said was "you need to talk to whoever issued the voucher". They even called Renee a "voucher person" at one point.

Same reason we never fly America/use an agency....we needed two tickets fast for a surgery I was having...and bought first class...and for whatever reason American decided we had free tickets no money changed tickets that cost us around $3000K and they treated us like crap while my back was all stitched up and hurting like hell.....

Paying the hotel/air/car directly and never in advance...well that made things much nicer.


Jonquiljo profile image
Jonquiljo in reply to

Not that I can imagine someone wanting to come here (the US) these days, but if someone without insurance goes to a hospital in an emergency, they will get care. They will get one big bill at the end, but if they go back to another country and don’t pay the hospital, I doubt there is anything the hospital could do about it.

But to be on the safe side, I expect you would need enough to get home ASAP - private or commercial transportation - and that is a LOT of money. Getting the insurance to pay for an air ambulance back to your home country is difficult - even for us. Years ago I brought my wife to Germany for surgery and faced that issue. We decided to “risk it”, but that was in desperate times.

Jonquiljo profile image
Jonquiljo in reply to Jonquiljo

Then again, our 747 is currently in the shop ... I guess Boeing wanted to get paid for the parts before they could be installed. There’s also the minor issue of fuel cost, but if we fly slowly, it may be OK. The pilot is willing to risk it if we will.

But on a more serious note - I thought that Britain had not yet officially left the UK yet? Its hard for many of us in the US to get international news amongst all the sordid nonsense that our government is whining about these days. The news here is all about some political “Tweet.” I think if I had a Twitter account, I would go totally insane. It used to be if you wanted to watch some mindless chatter, you’d go to a movie or watch (non-news) TV.

Either way, having a chronic malignancy is extremely problematic. As if we don’t have enough problems, being stuck in our respective countries is not very “21st century.” You’d think that the various cancer societies in our countries would underwrite insurance for people like us. Living in a very large state such as California does not make it easy for people like myself to get a non-california vacation experience. We used to like going to far away places, but I guess thats an issue now also.

Well, the best of luck with travel insurance. I really don’t understand why these companies see the risk to be so severe. It really matters where you would want to go. The liklihood of a serious medical event happening on a vacation is not enormous either. If someone was having a bad time of it or severely neutropenic, you’d think the last thing they’d want to do is get on a crowded airplane full of screaming and coughing babies (and their parents) and go very far to a place with limited healthcare or air ambulance sevices. We have CLL, but are not stupid!

Newdawn profile image
NewdawnAdministrator in reply to Jonquiljo

Britain is leaving the EU not the U.K. Jonquiljo and at present reciprocal health care in public hospitals is still available with the EHIC Card.

Some public hospitals in certain countries are pretty inferior so having private health insurance is essential. It has to be remembered that most people in the U.K. don’t have private health insurance apart from travel insurance as we receive our medical care from the NHS.

Insurance companies are red hot on pre-existing conditions and can be quite ageist too. Last time I rang for a quote I was on the phone over an hour with the screening questions!

Hope that clarifies,


Jonquiljo profile image
Jonquiljo in reply to Newdawn

My apologies, I meant EU. I’ve been there many times and loved it - both the UK and EU.

Our (US) private health insurance is pretty pitiful, very expensive, corrupt, and contantly being torn apart by our legislators. Until recently, I have had private insurance, and don’t recall any coverage out of the country.

I see this ageist attitude everywhere - and its really upsetting and not fair. Pre-existing conditions is another obsession, which also gets blown out of proportion. So our countries, while dissimilar, and alike in many ways.

Until recently, I thought the (extreme) ageism was unique to California. You have to be under 30 or a Kardashian to be a real person around here.

Sorry travel insurance is so difficult. I have priced it here when I was “healthy” and costs were ridiculous. I can’t imagine what they base their premiums on as even people with medical problems tend to stay home when they feel unwell.

Read your second post first Jon, please don't mortgage the cat !! I doubt you would get much and it might give Scott some ideas for KooKooNut !

Its all enough to make you want to stay at home !

Good luck with the hunt Jon and please keep us updated on your search.



in reply to mrsjsmith


Poor KooKooNut might not be long for this world....she was howling and whining and chasing some bug all night...and Renee is thinking about making her into a nice pair of warm gray socks for least I heard Renee telling KooKooNut that last night a couple times.....

mrsjsmith profile image
mrsjsmith in reply to

I hope not ! tell her she is off my Christmas card list if she does.

My friend Janice has a white cat called Smudge , who bites ! She ended up in Hospital for a week with Cellulitis after a nasty bite, and she is always threatening to turn him into a handbag !!!

C x

in reply to mrsjsmith


Renee is Jewish. She celebrates Hanukkah :) But it is not the first time I heard Renee suggest a nice new warm gray pair of socks for winter :)

mrsjsmith profile image
mrsjsmith in reply to

I know, but never remember when that is !

C x

in reply to mrsjsmith

It is sort of a tricky moves around..the start day is based on a Jewish calendar that Renee won't let me see cause I am not Jewish.... and they get like 8 present days compared to our one...

mrsjsmith profile image
mrsjsmith in reply to

You have such a hard life Scott ……

I have just had an email from The Cats Protection Society and today is International Cat day ! So please go and buy Renee some socks as an early present from me !

C x

Hi ScruffyDuck,

I had problems with World First as the screening had changed however sought clarification and got cover for a trip to Canada in July.

It's worth trying them however one question in the screening is confusing, the question is has your blood count gone up, gone down or is normal for you? I answered gone up as I have CLL and was refused insurance. I queried this and was told that I should answer up/this is normal for me.

I double checked and was assured that although my WBC was rising, if this was normal for me I would be covered.

Confusing or what! I posted earlier in the year re this and you can check the full story of you look at the links below this thread.

I have used "Insure and Go" for many years with CLL as a declared condition. Our current cost as a couple for annual worldwide travel insurance is £234. Good luck!


I am in a similar situation to you with most of my family being in the US. I have been fortunate in my blood counts ALC and WBC have been stable and relatively low, even 10 years after initial diagnosis. I have never had any problem in obtaining cover at reasonable cost from World First. The problem is that the cost of medical services , doctors and hospitals and drugs is far higher in the US than anywhere else and insurance companies price accordingly. Providers will often take a lower payment from a local insurance company eg Blue Cross than the amount on the invoice. My brother has been in hospital for kidney stones and the bill for under 1 day in hospital came to around $25k

Check out cover provided by UK banks for premium accounts, you will have premium above as must list & keep them up to date with new diagnosiss (you know what I mean!)

Only reason still with RBS (was at one time recommended by Macmillan Nurses not sure if still is.

Keep as well as you can.

Hi i heard that travel4medi insurance is good, still yet to use them myself but you could try them they have good reviews and cheap prices


Got a good deal for 5 days in the States £125 when other were asking £500 for North America (which usually includes Mexico).

They took Mexico out and I therefore got a good quote!


Try Free Spirit Travel Insurance

Thanks everyone for your interest and suggestions. I got quotes from a number of insurers but ended up going back to the folks I have been using for a while Insurance Choice. The price is competitive. They know me, I speak to the same person each time and I can tailor my coverage to some degree e.g. I don't need baggage cover.


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