humor, Travel

Little Adventure: Down The Travel Insurance Rabbit Hole

“Some adventures linger. Others loiter. A few do both.” Anita Borgo 

My 13K hike through the Samaria Gorge National Park in Crete did both.

See the post about the journey

and also see the other post about locating a doctor due to the trek.

After checking the “hike the gorge” and “locate a doctor because of my hiking injury” and “toe healed” boxes, I thought this particular adventure complete.

Anecdotes sharpened to monologue status (“just then the boulder leaped from the cliff”) and photos cropped to illustrate (“I scrambled over rocks to reach the rickety bridge”) this adventure lingered, hoping to be beckoned. (“Yes, I’ve visited Crete.”) 

The lingering memories I enjoyed. 

The loitering insurance forms I didn’t.

While sorting through the shiny brochures and creased maps and crumpled receipts, I unearthed the charges from the Kalyves Medical Clinic on Crete. I had paid approximately 79 Euros or 87 US dollars (give or take) to Dr. Yonni who treated my infected toe. While not a huge sum, it wasn’t a trifle.

“I purchased travel insurance. I’ll file a claim,” said the optimistic side of me.

The process of filing a claim for medical treatment in a foreign country with a secondary travel insurance policy paralleled the obstacles of the hike itself.


Before reaching the Samaria Gorge trailhead, I rose early, drove an hour to Hania, and parked the car. Then I walked to the station and boarded a packed bus. The coach wound through the White Mountains for ninety minutes. 

Three hours into the trek I arrived at the beginning of the trail.


Before filing a claim with the travel insurance, I needed an Explanation of Benefits from Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield. I called customer service (and after a twenty minute hold) explained that neither covered illnesses or injuries sustained in a foreign country. It’s common knowledge. I Googled it and urged her to do the same. (If it’s on the Internet it has to be true!)

The representative said she couldn’t proceed without the EOB.


I dodged falling boulders.


I didn’t dodge incorrect paperwork.

Somehow I had downloaded the wrong SEVEN PAGE form and mailed it to the wrong address. A month later I called the customer service representative (and after another twenty minute hold) she reported that there was no sign of my claim.


My knees throbbed as I scrambled over rocks.


My head throbbed as I scrambled through a double sided claim form that needed more specific information than my crumpled receipts provided. This entailed Googling the Kalyves Medical Center website and translating the Greek information into right-side up letters that fit into the appropriate boxes on the insurance form.


Rickety bridges did their best to toss me crying onto the gorge floor.


Scanner glitches did their best to toss me crying onto my office floor. I persevered and uploaded all the documents.


Seven hours later I completed the 13K trek and drank a Mythos.


Seventy hours later I completed the 10 pages of forms and drank a Jameson.

The insurance company eventually paid $87.79. That’s $1.25 per hour to complete the forms.

That’s one adventure I don’t want loitering.

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