Thursday, September 27, 2007

Medical/Auto Insurance Information

I have recently received questions from parents wondering about health and auto insurance. Following is information you may find helpful.
Health Insurance Info:
The church strongly recommends that you continue to carry health insurance on your missionary while he/she is in the mission field. We do have some missionaries who are not covered by a health insurance and in those cases the church (Missionary Medical) will act as primary insurer for any illness or accident that takes place out here. They will not cover any pre-existing conditions (such as allergies, acne, knee trouble, etc.), eye care or dental care. The way insurance works out in the mission field is...if a missionary needs to be seen for whatever reason (as long as it isn't pre-existing, dental or eye) I call and get it cleared and Missionary Medical will cover the initial visit with a $10 co-pay by the missionary. Any medications are covered with a $5 co-pay. If the condition ends up being a major medical expense...broken arm, kidney stones, appendix, etc. the home insurance becomes the primary insurer and MM will act as secondary. In the case where missionaries are not insured the church will cover if it is not pre-existing, eye or dental. However, keep in mind all missionary costs including medical are covered by voluntary church donations...primarily tithing. That's why it is so important to continue carrying insurance on your missionary if possible. Thanks.
Senior missionaries must have their own insurance plan. Missionary Medical does not cover seniors.

Auto Insurance Info
Automobile insurance is taken care of through the church. You do not need to carry any auto coverage on your missionary.

Medical FYI
We have a medical doctor (Dr. Bryce Hansen) who has been called on a mission to oversee 13 missions in the Southeast. Whenever we have a medical issue that I can't handle (I'm good at prescribing band-aides, ice, heating pad, drink lots of water, take two aspirin and call me in the morning!) I call Dr. Hansen and he advises or calls the missionary himself. Dr. Hansen lives in Atlanta and is out of our area so isn't able to treat our missionaries himself. He is also Canadian and doesn't have prescription rights in the states so can't prescribe medications. But he does lots of telephone interviews with sick missionaries and that helps us a lot. If he thinks the missionary should see a doctor, I call Missionary Medical, explain the situation and get an appointment cleared. I then check the First Health Network providers and find a doctor, call the missionary and he/she then calls the doctor and makes an appointment. We have some member doctors in the mission who are wonderful. They do all they can to help the missionaries and often they donate their services. I always tell the missionaries if they are going to get a cavity they must get it in Douglas, Valdosta or Waycross. We have member dentists in those areas who have saved you a lot. If possible we will transport the missionaries to one of these areas, but that isn't always possible.
When we have a major medical issue (appendix, kidney stones, broken bones, etc.) we will contact you if at all possible. Time permitting, we also contact the home stake president and Missionary Medical before the procedure takes place. If any kind of surgery is required that isn't emergency, the missionary will usually go home for that, and parents are generally aware long before it gets to the "going home" stage.
Our goal is to go through each day healthy and happy, but that doesn't always happen. I hope this epistle answers some of your questions and is somewhat clear. Thanks again for all you do.