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  #1  
Old Thursday, March 20th, 2008, 07:58 AM
canadave canadave is offline
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Default Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

My wife, Connie, awoke with a fever of 104 last week, and decided an antibiotic was in order and therefore, a trip to the local hospital. We're Canadian and used to long waits, largely due to our socialized (i.e."free") medical system. We arrived at 7:30 a.m. and, after plunking down $90 on a Visa Gold Preferred (more about that to follow) she was immediately seen by: a triage nurse, the on-call emerg. M.D. and a lab tech who drew blood. By 8:10 an internist was there who wheeled in an ultrasound machine and performed the test himself while I watched. At 8:35 the lab results were in, and Connie was diagnosed with a severe bladder infection and immediately admitted! All within an hour or so.
It did take a while to get a room, due to overcrowding, and the food was lousy compared to our standards, but the care was excellent.
Re. the costs: I had to give a $1780 deposit on my Visa. She was in 3 days, and the hospital bill was around $1650 and I had to pay the doctor $600 in cash. Upon my return to Canada, I contacted Visa; they said we'd get a full refund as long as we provided appropriate receipts and paper work. Make sure your credit card has out of state coverage!
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Old Thursday, March 20th, 2008, 08:23 AM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

I'm sorry your wife got sick but thanks for sharing your story with us. It's certainly nice to know that Aruba is well equipped to handle unforeseen contingencies. Your wife's total bill for a three day hospital stay would have just about covered the ultrasound testing in the States.
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Old Thursday, March 20th, 2008, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

thank goodness connie is ok now!

we found the same wonderful care at the hospital on a few trips we have made. since you are used to a socialized medical system, you don't realize what a 'bargain' you got. we in the states are always amazed at their prices and speed.

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Originally Posted by canadave View Post
My wife, Connie, awoke with a fever of 104 last week, and decided an antibiotic was in order and therefore, a trip to the local hospital. We're Canadian and used to long waits, largely due to our socialized (i.e."free") medical system. We arrived at 7:30 a.m. and, after plunking down $90 on a Visa Gold Preferred (more about that to follow) she was immediately seen by: a triage nurse, the on-call emerg. M.D. and a lab tech who drew blood. By 8:10 an internist was there who wheeled in an ultrasound machine and performed the test himself while I watched. At 8:35 the lab results were in, and Connie was diagnosed with a severe bladder infection and immediately admitted! All within an hour or so.
It did take a while to get a room, due to overcrowding, and the food was lousy compared to our standards, but the care was excellent.
Re. the costs: I had to give a $1780 deposit on my Visa. She was in 3 days, and the hospital bill was around $1650 and I had to pay the doctor $600 in cash. Upon my return to Canada, I contacted Visa; they said we'd get a full refund as long as we provided appropriate receipts and paper work. Make sure your credit card has out of state coverage!
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Old Thursday, March 20th, 2008, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

My husband spent hours being checked on in the ER years ago, after a car accident. Total bill, including X-Rays and meds: $400!
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Old Monday, March 24th, 2008, 09:37 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

I broke my arm in Aruba about 8 years ago & had the best ER care I've ever had in my life! There were a couple locals in the waiting room that related a couple "horror stories" about medical care in Aruba, but they paled compared to some of the completely substandard care my family has recieved in the US. Granted, we had to pay "up front" with a credit card but our insurance covered nearly everything when we got home.
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Old Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 12:48 PM
tds-ken tds-ken is offline
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

That is great news for fellow travelers! The Island should tell more people about the quality of the hospital!!!
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Old Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 10:25 PM
barbiesara2003 barbiesara2003 is offline
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

I too had experiences at the hospital and are very pleased with the level of care and service received. I have a heart problem and now have my own cardiologist in Aruba as well as the one at home. I went to the hospital twice (separate trips) with congestive heart failure, was admitted once and taken care of in the emergency room the second time and have only good things to say. I was given all of my test results and xrays to bring home and again cannot say enough about the care and professionalism received. Regarding the food, my husband was kind enough to bring me what I wanted, but I really have nothing to complain about. When we return to the island next month I go with the knowledge that if I have another problem I will be more than well taken care of.
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Old Friday, October 10th, 2008, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

The one problem we found lacking in the arubian and dutch situation when my mom had some many problems last oct - dec is when we flew her to miami -
we got the doctors notes. Seems that the doctors don't even have to notate they were there. Only basic notes from the nurses. My BIL is dutch and
told me they do the same in holland and they are working to get that better.
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Old Friday, October 10th, 2008, 05:26 PM
barbiesara2003 barbiesara2003 is offline
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

Hi Liz - your experience with the hospital surprised me because after two stays in the hospital on the island, I came home with all of the notes, tests, xrays, etc., from the hospital and Dr. Lacle the cardiologist. I gave them to my doctor here at home and he couldn't believe how complete every report was and he even said that the infirmaton provided helped him with my care. I also saw Dr. Lacle in his office and he gave me lots of info about my case to bring home to my cardiologist. Hopefully you will n ever have this experience again. As we prepare to return to the island for the month of November I can say that I have no fear of getting sick once again, because I know they are very reliable.
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Old Saturday, October 11th, 2008, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

I have been to Dr Lacle. He's a good guy. I think the doctors thought due to my mom's age and condition that we wouldn't spend the 17K to fly her to the states. I have pictures of her severe diaper rash which she got in the hospital that they didn't address as well as her feet which had gangrene.
They were totally against letting her go and uncooperative. They also have the socialized medical plan here.

In your case - the doctor knew you were going to the states so he prepared everything that your doctor would need. I have to wonder if you lived here and were under the state plan how good the notes would be.
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Old Monday, October 20th, 2008, 08:32 PM
JohnJT JohnJT is offline
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

I have read the above posts with interest.

In late September, our guest and friend (age 73) had to be hospitalized in Aruba.
He spent about 24 hours in the Oduber hospital and had to be airlifted to Miami with a variety of problems...not treatable in Aruba. He had a massive infection, pneumonia, pulmonary edema...he stopped breathing about 90 minutes after admission through the ER. The diagnosis finally said that he needed aortic valve surgery.

We do have good things to say about the care...a few less than positive things to say about the process. We were all friends with no authority for medical decisions and the finances. After 24 hours of stress, hospital billing people refused to call the US when there was a problem in approving the Aruba hospital bill of $4500. The air ambulance cost of over $19,000 had been approved by our friend's daughter who was en route to meet her father in Miami.

Our experience with Dr. Lacle was also positive. He facilitated the air transfer to the US and helped with contacting our friend's family. His charges were included in Aruba hospital bill.

Without rambling on too much longer, it is our opinion that we will NOT travel outside the US unless we are sure we have foreign medical coverage. Dr. Lacle said that the majority of Europeans travel with this coverage; Americans rarely do.

Alas, our friend is still in the hospital in Miami. After a month, they were trying to transfer him to a rehab hospital, but he had another relapse over the weekend.

Last edited by JohnJT; Monday, October 20th, 2008 at 08:37 PM.
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Old Monday, October 20th, 2008, 08:44 PM
barbiesara2003 barbiesara2003 is offline
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

Hi John - if you read my previous posts on this thread I had two similar experiences and was very pleased with the care received at the hospital and especially with Dr. Lacle. We always carry insurance and even tho we had to pay the bill on the island, just today I get a check for the entire amount of my bill for Dr. Lacle and the hospital and meds, because Medicare doesn't cover you out of the country. Hope your friend gets better soon. Regards to Sandy!
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Old Tuesday, October 21st, 2008, 08:28 AM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

We've had excellent experiences with Dr Ponson. There are some good doctors out there - just need to find out who they are just like in the US.

I will tell you that I had filed for a LTD claim w/ my US insurance company
it was denied 2x because all my doctors would not talk to the US insurance company or it's claim doctors for an independant audit. There is a big
problem I have come across.

When my mom went to Miami - got all the records from the hospital - which
had no real info because they wanted her to stay in Aruba - they didn't
know that we would fly her to the US. I think with tourists - at least the
doctors will take care to make good notes esp. if they know this is something they can't handle on island.
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Old Tuesday, November 18th, 2008, 08:45 PM
JohnJT JohnJT is offline
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

Just a little update.
Our friend died in Miami on 10/30.
We cannot find any fault with the care in Aruba...except they could not treat major heart health problems (aortic valve surgery in his case).
We have not talked to his daughters since the funeral, but we hope that they know and believe that all that was possible was done by us, by the doctors, by the hospital in Aruba.
I have been in a blue mood about the whole trip, but I think the Aruba medical care was very good...and we tried to do all that we could for our friend. It was a bad situation with a poor outcome, but we did our best.
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Old Tuesday, November 18th, 2008, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

John ~ sad news, and so sorry to hear this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnJT View Post
Just a little update.
Our friend died in Miami on 10/30.
We cannot find any fault with the care in Aruba...except they could not treat major heart health problems (aortic valve surgery in his case).
We have not talked to his daughters since the funeral, but we hope that they know and believe that all that was possible was done by us, by the doctors, by the hospital in Aruba.
I have been in a blue mood about the whole trip, but I think the Aruba medical care was very good...and we tried to do all that we could for our friend. It was a bad situation with a poor outcome, but we did our best.
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Old Tuesday, November 18th, 2008, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

john, no doubt in our minds that you did whatever you could and so did the hospital in aruba. some things are just meant to have a sad outcome no matter how hard we try to stop it.

our hearts and prayers are with you and your friend's family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnJT View Post
Just a little update.
Our friend died in Miami on 10/30.
We cannot find any fault with the care in Aruba...except they could not treat major heart health problems (aortic valve surgery in his case).
We have not talked to his daughters since the funeral, but we hope that they know and believe that all that was possible was done by us, by the doctors, by the hospital in Aruba.
I have been in a blue mood about the whole trip, but I think the Aruba medical care was very good...and we tried to do all that we could for our friend. It was a bad situation with a poor outcome, but we did our best.
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Old Sunday, May 16th, 2010, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

Well, I am not sure I would "have no fear".

Although parts of the medical establishment are very efficient (ie the emergency room when it is not particularly busy), and care is certainly less costly than in the US, the hospital in Aruba is certainly no model of excellent and efficient health care delivery.

As a bit of background I was born on Aruba but practice medicine in the US. I do not expect that a small island would have the ability to provide a full complement of subspecialty care- although Aruba does not fall short in that respect in that there are many subspecialty services available.
What I would expect is that it provides adequate general medical care and that is what I have been sorely disappointed over.

My father was recently hospitalized for over a month.
During that time his care has been extremely variable, ranging from excellent to embarrasingly deficient. Of note, most of the physicians we have dealth with have been excellent although actually getting to see or speak to some of them has been like pulling teeth. During a holiday weekend, four days passed without so much as one of his docs peeking into his room. When he asked his nurse about medicines which he was supposed to have received hours earlier his nurse told him (with quite an attitude) that "they are understaffed and he should not expect to receive anything on time". Various pieced of machinery have malfunctioned for days (literally) before being replaced or fixed. When I expressed my concern that a particular piece of equipment was not functioning as it should (a drain was plugged and the nursing staff was interpreting this as "improvement in drainage" and the treating physician which had not seen the patient in days was making treatment plans on this supposed "improvement") and I requested to talk to the doctor on call- I was told by the doctor to "make an appointment to speak to her"- this after her breaking an appointment to come see her patient that particular day.
I could go on with examples like this till I'm blue in the face.
The physical plant is also in very poor shape- flaking paint on the walls and ceiling, mold in the corner by the AC vents.

On a particularly disturbing note I overheard two guards commenting on on-call physicians arriving at the hospital visibly drunk ("fuma fuma" in his words)- I fully admit that this is hearsay, but it was not particularly comforting knowing my dad was potentially depending on these folks.

On a positive note, many individuals on the nursing staff were friendly and competent (just extremely overburdened most of the time). The physical therapists in particular were a delight to deal with. The hospital seemed well equipped with much of the latest technology- on par or better than similar sized hospitals in the US. It's a great shame to me that where this all breaks down is the "human factor" and the apparent lack of adequate funding.

Do I think that all care is necessarily bad here? No.
But would I recommend this hospital to someone who did not absolutely need it? Absolutely not.
Would I admit any of my family there if I had the ability to have them treated at almost any other hospital in the US or Western Europe? No way.

I guess if I had to sum up my experience at the hospital in Aruba it would be "disappointing".
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Old Sunday, May 16th, 2010, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

doctorv - I agree with you about the fear factor. I can also sympathize with your experience, more than you know. But I wouldn't say that it is unique to Aruba by any stretch of the imagination. Apart from the drinking issue you mentioned, everything that happened to you in Aruba has happened to me here in the US, and in several very reputable hospitals in New York I might add. My mother has been hospitalized many times, and the care ranged from good to downright negligent. Where doctors are like figments of the imagination. Nurses with such a bad attitude, that it should be downright illegal. One time, we had to hire a private nurse (not a cheap solution) because the nursing staff made so many mistakes, scary ones - like missing medication, tubing issues etc.- and they were so overworked and so nasty, we were honestly afraid to leave her there overnight. Outright refusal when my mother had to go to the bathroom, scolding her to learn how to hold it in - how humiliating. My mother is not a child, she's not a complainer and she has all her brain cells. She was simply injured and unable to walk without assistance. And of course, she certainly knows when she can "hold it in" or not. We reported that nurse, but the next one she got wasn't much better, and kind of annoyed with us for reporting the last one.

I'm not saying this has been my experience every time, but honestly, we've had more bad experiences than good ones at least with post-op care. Most of the time we are horrified, and sometimes we are pleasantly surprised. We have definitely learned to be very proactive and let them know that there is a family presence and we're watching. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. I don't know what these poor patients without any family do. Imagine if you weren't there for your father. Our best experiences are with the ER, ICU and same-day surgery units. Our worst and scariest experiences are with post-op cardiac and orthopedic units. For sure, if you ever have a situation that is non-emergent and you have a choice, never ever schedule any kind of surgery over a holiday or even a weekend. Talk about bottom of the barrel.

Unfortunately, your experience is not limited to Aruba. Sorry for venting, and I do hope your father is recovering well.

Last edited by roschone; Sunday, May 16th, 2010 at 06:54 PM. Reason: would you believe I left something out?
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Old Sunday, May 16th, 2010, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

doctorv, i tend to agree with ro although i totally understand what you are saying. having several doctors, including surgeons, as friends and listening to their rants about hospital care in maryland i have to say that aruba is not alone. they also have a smaller pool of physicians and much smaller salaries than hospital employees in the states. my father in law was a hospital mistake here years ago and my friend who is a surgeon at that same hospital states that in his opinion not much has improved, including drug addition, alcoholism and many other problems. in the states it is too many people working stressful jobs and having to do too many procedures just to cover their malpractice insurance. on aruba it's too few people working too many jobs for barely adequate salaries.

it is sad but getting good care anywhere is a crap shoot and on a small island it is even tougher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roschone View Post
doctorv - I agree with you about the fear factor. I can also sympathize with your experience, more than you know. But I wouldn't say that it is unique to Aruba by any stretch of the imagination. Apart from the drinking issue you mentioned, everything that happened to you in Aruba has happened to me here in the US, and in several very reputable hospitals in New York I might add. My mother has been hospitalized many times, and the care ranged from good to downright negligent. Where doctors are like figments of the imagination. Nurses with such a bad attitude, that it should be downright illegal. One time, we had to hire a private nurse (not a cheap solution) because the nursing staff made so many mistakes, scary ones - like missing medication, tubing issues etc.- and they were so overworked and so nasty, we were honestly afraid to leave her there overnight. Outright refusal when my mother had to go to the bathroom, scolding her to learn how to hold it in - how humiliating. My mother is not a child, she's not a complainer and she has all her brain cells. She was simply injured and unable to walk without assistance. And of course, she certainly knows when she can "hold it in" or not. We reported that nurse, but the next one she got wasn't much better, and kind of annoyed with us for reporting the last one.

I'm not saying this has been my experience every time, but honestly, we've had more bad experiences than good ones at least with post-op care. Most of the time we are horrified, and sometimes we are pleasantly surprised. We have definitely learned to be very proactive and let them know that there is a family presence and we're watching. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. I don't know what these poor patients without any family do. Imagine if you weren't there for your father. Our best experiences are with the ER, ICU and same-day surgery units. Our worst and scariest experiences are with post-op cardiac and orthopedic units. For sure, if you ever have a situation that is non-emergent and you have a choice, never ever schedule any kind of surgery over a holiday or even a weekend. Talk about bottom of the barrel.

Unfortunately, your experience is not limited to Aruba. Sorry for venting, and I do hope your father is recovering well.
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Old Wednesday, May 19th, 2010, 06:30 PM
JohnJT JohnJT is offline
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

I re-read the whole thread...including the posts that I made in late 2008.
We went to Aruba in September, 2009.
The visit was still tainted a bit with the events of the previous year, but we made it without incident.
I still choose to believe that Oduber hospital did what they could for our friend. After a month of hospitalization (and a couple surgeries), our friend expired in Miami 6 weeks after being airlifted from Aruba.
One strange thing...his "class ring" from Notre Dame University disappeared somewhere. His family said it was not there when he got to the Miami hospital. I hate the thoughts that someone in Aruba was responsible.

Regarding hospitalizations in general, it is certainly best if a family member or friend can monitor what is going on. My wife, now a retired nurse, has monitored my hospital visits.
She had a "less than 24 hour - overnight stay" in March...as a result of an erratic heart beat. They could not find anything wrong. I felt helpless.

Oh yes, the bill for about 18 hours was $7000. Thank God for good insurance!
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Old Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 09:37 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

What insurance covers a US citizen in Aruba ?
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Old Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

The best thing for you to do is check with your insurance company to see where you are covered out of the country. Aruba doesn't take any outside insurance. What we had to do was pay the bill when I was discharged from the hospital and turn it in to our insurance company when we got home. If by chance you are on Medicare, you are not covered once you leave the states.
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Old Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 11:12 PM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

Quote:
Originally Posted by barbiesara2003 View Post
The best thing for you to do is check with your insurance company to see where you are covered out of the country. Aruba doesn't take any outside insurance. What we had to do was pay the bill when I was discharged from the hospital and turn it in to our insurance company when we got home. If by chance you are on Medicare, you are not covered once you leave the states.

Hmm, that's interesting I never thought my insurance wouldn't be accepted. We have had friends/family go to the hospital for minor issues, like stitches, sprains, and stomach ailments, and don't remember how it was handled. I guess they did the same thing, paid up front and got reimbursed. I guess the smart thing to do would be to check with you insurance company to make sure. And if Medicare doesn't cover you at all if you leave the states, what do they expect you to do? Stay home and never travel anywhere? Perhaps a secondary insurance covers that then. Most people now have to carry a secondary insurance to cover what doesn't get paid by Medicare.
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Old Friday, May 28th, 2010, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

One cannot expect another country to accept insurance from all over the world considering the amount of paperwork involved and the different kinds of money every country has. Believe me, I found out the hard way that Medicare doesn't cover you outside of the states, but you are right and your secondary insurance will pick up part of the bill. We paid with a credit card when I was in the hospital (twice) and turned it in to my secondary after the refusal from Medicare to cover anything. Another thing to be aware of is to make sure that your bill is done in English for you to bring home with you as in every country, their correspondence is done in their local language. I must say that after two stays in the hospital in Aruba for congestive heart failure, I am more than pleased with the level of care I received. Hope this helps!
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Old Friday, May 28th, 2010, 09:31 AM
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Default Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

It depends on your length of stay. If you are here less than a month,
some US insurance companies will cover you. But you have to
confirm with them. Then you can get travels insurance and
air ambulance insurance.

If you are staying more than a month, you have to get
some kind of international insurance. There are lots of
types, catastrophic or regular if you are staying here
long term.
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Old Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010, 12:07 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Hospitalized in Aruba...Have no fear!

I could not pick a better thread to post to than this one...for my 1st post.

I am a type 2 diabetic controlled with Novolog insulin administered by an Omnipod pump. Last year the big blizzard that hit the U.S. east coast caused massive airline concellations, including my return trip; I was "stranded" in Aruba for an unplanned 12 additional days. I ran out of the insulin for my pump, so I went to the ER by the hotels. The staff there informed me that they did not have Novolog to dispense, but they took my BG anyway and it was over 600! In a pinch, I can take Humolin for a basal injection, but it only has a very short term affect. The staff called pharmacies around the island and found on in St. Nicholas that had the Novolog in pensulet form.

The pensulets were very reasonably priced so I purchased enough to refill my pump, with several in reserve. The combined efforts of the hospital staff and the pharmacy were...literally...a life saver!

The 5 Novolog pensulets cost $43.80 USD. The basal injection, diagnosis, and phone call from the ER staff cost ZERO! They saw a human being in distress and did not compound it.

I have visited Aruba many times without having to seek medical attention, but I can attest to their professionalism and care. I'm sure if I was hospitalized the costs would be comparable to U.S. hospitals, so there is no surprise there.
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