Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Travel Medical Insurance & Minors

From time to time, we're called upon to write temporary medical insurance for folks traveling here from foreign shores. This is called International (or Travel) Medical Insurance, and for these I always turn to the gurus at Global Underwriters. They offer good plans at decent rates, and make it easy for folks to understand what they're buying.

Generally, my travel medical clients are adults traveling here on business or to visit family; sometimes with their children in tow. Recently, however, I experienced a first (for me): a young child coming here by herself to visit her grandparents. Grams and Gramps are long-time clients, and we've helped them with these policies in the past. But I've never written one for just a child, and Grams asked me a rather pertinent question:

"Henry, do you know if we as grandparents need any document from her parents to take medical decisions in case she is in hospital? I tried to find a POA text online but Ohio will allow a grandparent to be given a POA only if the parents are incarcerated or very sick, etc. Nothing like a temporary permission to make decisions while she is with us. Maybe nobody will ask for it anyway?

Thank you for your advice

As I said, that is a poser.

So I reached out to Global's Peter Schulteis (whom we've met before) for some guidance.

Here's what he told me:

"Henry – POA is advisable or some type of medical release, it may not be needed, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I hope this helps."

He also sent along a nifty "Consent to Treat" in .pdf format, which I forwarded on to Grams. I don't know how useful it will be, but it's at least something tangible.

At this point, I'm far from satisfied that the issue is settled: one supposes that the only way to know for sure would be for the child to need treatment. Hopefully, of course, that won't come to pass. At the very least, I'll update this post if and/or when new information comes to light.

(And if any readers have experience and/or expertise to share, please do so in the comments - would love to know more about this).
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