Traffic was insane. I was creeping along highway 94 when I first noticed the sharp pain in my chest. Over the next few minutes, the pain became much worse so I decided to take the next exit and slowly inched my way down the on ramp towards Meyer’s parking lot that was just a few blocks away. I pulled my truck and trailer to the side of the parking lot and quickly called 911. The pain in my chest was becoming unbearable. I’ve never felt anything like it in my life. It felt like it took forever but it only took a few minutes for the ambulance to arrive, and I was rushed to a nearby hospital. I don’t remember much after that until I woke up in recovery.” I heard these words from a client a few years ago who wants to be referred to as “Bob” after he had a heart attack in the state of Michigan. Thankfully, there was very little damage to his heart, he recovered nicely and is back driving full time again. As he started to see the bills come in Bob chuckled that he was glad he “listened to my wife for a change” after she “made me” purchase the additional travel medical insurance coverage that was offered through his fleet. “It was the best $25/month I think I have ever spent” he replied. Not only were all of his hospital bills fully covered but he was also reimbursed for his wife’s transportation costs to get her to his bedside.
With US medical costs hovering around $4000-$5000 per day + Surgery Costs, it doesn’t take long for medical bills to skyrocket to over $100,000.00 to $200,000.00 to $300,000.00 or more. Although some Provincial Health Care does kick in very little this is changing in ON), the bulk of the bills won’t be covered and just a few days in a US hospital without coverage could bankrupt them.
So who’s responsible for any of these bills? Is it the driver or trucking company? Some say it’s the driver’s responsibility, while others suggest because the carrier requires their drivers to work in the USA then it’s up to the fleet to pay. Regardless of who is responsible, it’s very important that the fleet ensures that comprehensive Emergency Travel Medical coverage has been purchased for every driver or O/O that crosses the border, even if it’s for short trips just over the bridge. Many fleets offer Group Benefits that include Emergency Travel Medical coverage but in some cases these benefits don’t kick in until the driver is employed for 90 days or more. If you haven’t already done so, talk to your insurance broker about a program that can be implemented to cover your drivers immediately for the first 90 days of employment but don’t just purchase the cheapest program you can find. Be sure to check the wording of these policies to ensure they don’t have limitations or exclusions that will leave your drivers and Fleet fully exposed.
Let’s hope your drivers will never need to use the Emergency Travel Medical, but you have to admit, it’s better to have it an not need it than to need it just one time and not have it, especially when the cost is so low. For less than a $1 a day per driver in most cases, is it worth the risk not to have the right coverage?