ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46 )-- CBS46 News is reporting on a vacationing Atlanta couple stuck in a Mexican hospital for a week. They say the hospital won’t let them leave until they pay a $14,000 medical bill.

Tori Austin and her fiancé Stephen Johnson were on a Carnival Cruise when Johnson got pancreatitis. Johnson does not have health insurance. But even if he did, it probably would not have helped him in this case.

Many insurance policies, including Medicare, won’t cover you once you leave the U.S. That’s why when you are planning your trip, check with your health insurance provider first, then go shopping online for travel medical insurance. It is separate from trip cancellation insurance, though industry experts recommend both as part of comprehensive coverage.

A medical plan could cover unexpected medical or dental costs due to an accident or emergency medical care, and payment for emergency evacuations, such as a helicopter flight.

Some plans may cover a return trip home, or have a hotline connecting you to experts or interpreters. Our partners at Consumer Reports recommend a policy that includes a waiver covering pre-existing conditions.

  • Click here for more information on travel insurance from Consumer Reports.

Update 11/22/2019:

After CBS46's story on the family and on how to avoid a situation like this, Darrica Hardy, who has led the charge to get the family home, sent Harry this letter:

"Happiness is an understatement of how I feel right now. This could of happened to anyone. I was honestly ignorant to having the right insurance to travel abroad, maybe this should be mandatory like having renter's insurance at a community. Anyway, I'm so happy things are working for them. This is definitely a lesson learned, and a great testimony. My faith is restored in humanity, there are many people with full hearts and I pray nothing but good things, prosperity and positivity (sic) over every person who prayed for them, donated or have done anything to help this situation."

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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