US travel plans ‘shock’ blamed on misconception

Lauren McCusker with her sons Felix (3) and Victor (1). Picture: Dominique Menegaldo www.communitypix.com.au d400672
Lauren McCusker with her sons Felix (3) and Victor (1). Picture: Dominique Menegaldo www.communitypix.com.au d400672

A year on she was again shocked ” after a travel insurance application for a family holiday to the US to visit Disneyland and relatives in Seattle, was refused.

The 24-year-old, who gave birth to a healthy baby boy three years ago, discovered she and her husband were carriers of the disease only after Victor’s diagnosis a year ago.

Mrs McCusker said what was supposed to be a happy time for family after such a tumultuous year was marred by what she believed was a lack of understanding of the condition.

‘Cystic Fibrosis WA have a webpage with a list of insurance companies who have helped them in the past,’ Mrs McCusker said.

‘We applied for travel insurance through 1Cover, which is part of the Allianz Group, on May 5 and Victor’s doctor filled out a medical declaration stating that in his opinion Victor was fit for travel.

‘On May 7, I received a phone call from them stating that our application had been denied, and a letter from the medical assessments team at Allianz Global Assistance followed a few days later.’

Mrs McCusker said the letter, dated May 6, gave several reasons for the rejection, including that he was taking an antibiotic containing Amoxicillin and Clavulanate, deeming him unwell by the assessors.

The antibiotic, prescribed by Victor’s doctor, was used as a preventative and was standard treatment for the first two years of the child’s life.

‘I’m guessing because it’s an antibiotic they think he is unwell but this antibiotic is actually a preventative prescribed by his doctor and part of his standard treatment for the next year or so,’ she said.

‘I really got the feeling that the insurance company would always find a reason to not cover cystic fibrosis and I think it’s a classic case of the condition not really being well understood unfortunately.’

Mrs McCusker said the family would now travel overseas using normal travel insurance with no cover relating to cystic fibrosis.

‘Obviously we hope that Victor will be well over in America but our plan is to get in contact with our doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital if he becomes unwell and seek treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital if he needs it,’ she said.

‘If he becomes seriously unwell we would choose the more affordable option between treatment at an American hospital or the next flight home although I doubt he will become so unwell as to require hospital care. But that’s pretty much our plan for the worst-case scenario ” we are hoping for the best.’

The Eastern Reporter contacted 1Cover and Allianz Group for comment but had no response by the time of going to print.

Mrs McCusker will document her overseas journey on her blog. See www.felixandvictor.blogspot.com.au.

– May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. A spokes-man said, with more than 330 West Australians currently suffering with the genetic condition, people were encouraged to take the 65 Roses Challenge by hosting or taking part in a fundraising event.

To donate, visit www.cysticfibrosis.org.au.