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Pay no attention to the insurer behind that diplomatic curtain

We are talking about the impact that warmer relations with Cuba will have on the people and businesses of Florida. As we said in our last post, the state is home to the majority of Cuban Americans. This thaw has personal meaning for 900,000 citizens of Miami.

The U.S. and Cuban governments are still working out the finer points of what, exactly, diplomatic relations will look like. Congress will continue to weigh in on the pros and cons of doing business with a country that remains, for the moment, on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism. At the same time, airlines are ferrying tourists and long-separated family members between Miami and Havana.

A change of this magnitude comes with a lot of nuts and bolts, tab A's and slot B's that are critical to making things work right. The general public doesn't really think about this stuff, but we all should -- especially when it comes to insurance.

If you have ever visited a doctor's office or emergency room while out of town, you are likely aware of the insurance nightmare that follows. Health insurance is often tied to a care network, and if you live in Miami but break your leg in Hawaii, chances are good that the hospital is not in your care network. That triggers out-of-network benefits -- and a pile of paperwork.

What you may not realize is that your health insurance may also limit its out-of-network coverage to certain parts of the country or certain parts of the world. That's one reason people buy travel insurance. A typical travel policy covers, among other things, emergency medical care as well as the expenses associated with getting the insured back home.

But what if your destination is on the State Department's no-fly list, a patria non grata with the federal government?

We'll finish this up in our next post.

Source: Carrier Management, "U.S. Rules on Cuba Ease Travel, Trade, Insurance Restrictions," Krista Hughes and Anna Yukhananov, Jan. 15, 2015

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