Couple ‘held hostage’ in a hospital over an unpaid $14,000 medical bill.

Only a few months ago a Georgia couple decided to spend a nice vacation on a Cruise but they never expected to be ‘held hostage’ by a Mexican Hospital.

Stephen Johnson, 31, and fiancée Tori Austin had to seek medical treatment while on a cruise they said they were held “hostage” by a hospital in Mexico after not paying a $14,000 medical bill for the care received at the hospital.

The couple was on a Carnival Dream Cruise when Johnson fell ill and was diagnosed with pancreatitis and diabetes by a doctor onboard the ship. 

Johnson sought treatment and was hospitalized in the Mexican town of Progreso, where he spent three days in intensive care, Good Morning America reported.

Once he got better he was hit with a $14,000 bill that the couple is unable to pay, as they don’t have traveler’s health insurance, the couple also didn’t have domestic insurance (did you know that domestic US coverage won’t cover you abroad?) 

The couple told GMA that they wanted to pay the bill but they only had $7,000, they ask the hospital for a payment plan but the hospital denied it, then they proceeded to lock the doors and windows of the room so the couple couldn’t leave.

This situation could have been easily prevented if the Johnon’s had Medical Travel Insurance. Most people don’t know that most insurance policies, including Medicare, won’t cover you once you leave the U.S. 

That’s why it’s extremely important to get travel health insurance, which is different than trip protection, although at Rene we recommend having both in order to maximize your coverage and protect your investment.

Travel health insurance covers unexpected medical costs due to an accident or emergency medical care, premium also plans includes emergency evacuations, natural disasters, and even pre-existing conditions. 

Getting travel insurance can be confusing, and accessing it abroad proves to be a difficult task. That’s why we recommend using the Rene app for getting and accessing the best insurance available. You can quote insurance for your trip downloading the Rene Travel Insurance app here.

Published by Atilio Spaccarotella

CEO & Founder @ Rene I founded my first company at age 17 and worked in the healthcare industry for the past 13 years. I'm an expert in insureTech and international business. In 2016 I relocated to Mexico where I lived for 3 years after winning "The Bridge", a program sponsored by the Mexican Government to bring foreign talent to the country. In 2019 I started Rene to help travelers stay safe and healthy on their journeys.

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