My first takeaway from this incident is that everyone should get the best health care insurance possible for their situation. That, of course, is true for everyone, not just RV’ers. I know it is sometimes difficult and expensive, but this accident would have financially ruined us without insurance. Liz was 64 at the time of the accident so she wasn’t covered by medicare. Fortunately we had great health insurance that carried into retirement from my years in law enforcement. If you are old enough to qualify for Medicare, I would make sure you have good supplemental coverage in addition to Medicare (Part B).
Secondly, have a plan for emergencies. A plan greatly reduces the stress and confusion when an emergency arises. Also know specifically what the insurance you have in place will actually cover. Finding out you’re not covered for something you think you are can be devastating. I’m not sure what happened with FMCA Travel Assist. I thought they may have covered our situation. I need to check further with them to see exactly when and under what conditions their coverage applies. I believe companies such as SkyMed provide medical air evacuation services for many RV’ers. They have made presentations at some of the Newmar rallies. These plans are expensive but so is the cost of medical transport by air. Although we didn’t have to pay it, the cost of the medical flight from Illinois to Florida was more than we could have afforded out of our pocket. Blue cross and other insurance plans usually cover you for the initial transport to a facility that has the necessary services needed for your emergency. Since the first hospital Liz was transported to did not have a neuro surgeon they paid for the additional transport to the trauma center. They would not, however, pay for the transport to Florida from Illinois as rehab services were available in Illinois. It didn’t matter that the doctor said that her recovery would be enhanced by being closer to home with family and friends nearby. They also ignored the fact that I was alone as the caregiver in Illinois with limited resources there and continued stress as a result.
Another issue is home care should it be needed. Once a person is released from the hospital or rehab facility they may need additional assistance. Insurance many times will not cover the cost of having someone come in to help with bathing, dressing or to assist with the daily care of an individual. Medicare and certain companies may cover a specific number of outpatient physical therapy sessions, but each insurance is different. Liz did have outpatient therapy which was covered. Blue Cross would have also allowed a limited number of in home physical therapy sessions too. We do have a long term health care policy for each of us that would cover certain in house services for period of time. It is not, however, without limitations. If she would have been bed ridden for a long time as a result of this injury or God forbid the rest of her life, the financial and family impact would have been enormous. The bottom line is to know what coverage you have. Then make a decision on how much you can afford or are willing to pay. If you need something covered and it’s not, it can be costly.
Additionally, write down your current prescriptions. Liz was unable to tell the doctors what medicine she was using and although I knew generally what the medicines were, I wasn’t sure and certainly didn’t know the dosages. Also, the monthly bills posed a challenge. Liz paid all the bills and did it on her computer. I had no real idea of what needed to be paid or when. Some were on auto pay and others were set up for payment, but needed authorization. Her condition was such that she couldn’t tell me what needed to be done. For the ones not on auto pay, I found her “black book” with names and passwords and was able to take care of the outstanding bills.
Furthermore, I would recommend having a place other than your RV to rehabilitate, if necessary. The RV certainly would be fine for many things, but the entry steps seem to always pose the biggest problem. Remember, it isn’t normally conducive to using a wheel chair either.
As far as dealing with the RV and tow vehicle, I decided to drive that back myself. My son David agreed to fly out to ride back with me, so I did not make a request for help from FMCA Travel Assist. I needed a way to get back to Florida anyway and I was planning to use it to stay in while Liz was in rehab. Of course if circumstances were different, I would have had to make arrangements to get the coach driven back.
Finally, don’t think that it won’t happen to you. Odds are in your favor that you won’t have an accident as serious as Liz’s, but you should be as prepared as you can. I am always concerned about a traffic accident where we are both injured. How would we handle that? Even just thinking about what you might do is a start.