By Kurtis Ming

LINCOLN (CBS13) — Jerry Hopponen bought trip insurance to cover any unexpected medical costs on his seven-week cruise, but he didn’t think getting his medical bills reimbursed would be such a challenge, he said.

It was time to Call Kurtis.

The trip insurance policy basically covers anything his health insurance won’t.

But Hopponen’s his own medical insurance wouldn’t put anything in writing proving what wasn’t covered, he said.

Halfway through their cruise from Australia to Asia, Hopponen was rushed to a ship doctor for treatment and quarantine of a contagious norovirus, he said.

“It was a real medical emergency,” he said. “I was just happy to have the care.”

He said his Allianz travel insurance is supposed to cover the roughly $300 bill — if his own health insurance, United Healthcare, won’t cover the emergency medical expenses.

But he needed a letter from United proving they wouldn’t cover the cost, and he said United won’t send him one.

“I had no idea that trying to recover the medical charges would be almost as painful as the illness itself,” he told CBS13.

“We just want it taken care of,” his wife Arlene said.

Some types of insurance do have deadlines to respond to your claims, but health insurance is not one of them.

Claims can drag on for years.

“It is complicated, it really is,” said Nancy Kincaid of the Department of Insurance. “It can be a difficult place for a consumer to be stuck in the middle.”

After CBS13 got involved instead of just writing that letter, United Healthcare agreed to cover the rest of Hopponen’s claim and couldn’t explain the delay.

Despite the hassle, Hopponen said they can’t wait to get traveling again, and plan to get trip insurance again just in case there’s another medical emergency.

“I’m greatly relieved to have this matter settled,” he said.

Some types of insurance like auto or travel do have deadlines to respond to your claim.

Healthcare is one of the only types of insurance that does have any deadline.


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