Dental coverage lacking

This item appears on page 30 of the April 2009 issue.

I took a tour of Morocco with Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) in April ’08. It had many excellent features, including a special guide. During the post-trip extension to Marrakech, two days before we were to leave, I fell while climbing to see a waterfall. (In the future, I probably should eliminate any tours with the word “adventure” in the title.)

Through my travel agent, I had purchased travel insurance with Mercury Claims & Assistance of Wisconsin, LLC. At the time, the deadline had passed by which I could purchase travel insurance through OAT.

At a clinic in Morocco, I was well cared for for a broken wrist, broken ribs, a cracked sternum and a bruised chin. I paid the very fair expenses, a few hundred dollars, out of pocket.

I flew back with the group on schedule, after which the clinic’s expenses were entirely reimbursed to me by my Blue Cross/Blue Shield overseas government insurance, which I also happened to have. In this instance, the medical coverage by Mercury Claims was not necessary.

However, my government insurance excluded dental coverage, and the work done by my local dentist on my broken and loosened teeth took many weeks, cost over $7,000 and resulted in a new way to chew and smile.

When I called Mercury Claims about the dentist bills, I was told that their coverage is $500 for dental and that it applies ONLY in the country of the accident. Besides the impracticality of having had root canals, posts, impressions and dental plates done in one day, I had not been interested in having my dental work done in Morocco.

I’m not blaming anyone for anything. My only purpose in writing is to remind all travelers buying special insurance for their trip to read the fine print.


Cambria, CA

ITN sent a copy of the above letter to Mercury Claims & Assistance of Wisconsin, LLC (Box 47, Stevens Point, WI 54481), and received no reply.

The only insurance company recommended by Overseas Adventure Travel is Trip Mate. ITN called Trip Mate (800/888-7292) and was told that, in the insurance plan they use with OAT, both dental and medical costs that qualify are covered up to $50,000. However, the coverage is only for work done during the trip or until the traveler is able to leave the country to return home. Also, work that would be considered “elective” is not covered. Trip Mate does sell other plans in which the dental coverage is separated out from the medical.