In a couple of posts earlier last month I alluded to a trip I had taken to South Africa (read here and here). In one of those posts I mentioned how one of my students broke her ankle abroad and I had to put up over $5000 in medical expenses.
To recap, about a week into our trip one of my students slipped and broke her ankle. Before the trip our university issues insurance cards for all the students and faculty that should take care of everything. Anyway, we transport the student to the hospital, she goes in for x-rays and the like and ultimately she needs to be admitted and have surgery. When we admit her to the hospital, the admissions clerk, for whatever reason, couldn’t figure out how to use the insurance. Even though there were specific numbers to call (he said he called all of them) he couldn’t get ahold of anyone.
During this time they inform us that because it is a private hospital that we need to deposit some money for her treatment. That deposit was 70,452 South African Rand, which translated to over 5150.36. Because the admissions clerk couldn’t figure out the insurance and I couldn’t get in touch with our study abroad director immediately, I plunked down on my credit card the deposit. It was either that or she was going to be discharged. Considering she needed surgery the conclusion was a no-braineer.
Within 10 minutes of this happening I got in touch with our study abroad director, contacted the insurance company myself and handed the phone to the admissions clerk who then took it from there.
When I asked to get a refund of my money (because by now the insurance company had guaranteed payment) he said that I would have to wait until Monday because there was no one there to do a refund on the weekend.
The only problem with that is that we were taking a plane to another city in South Africa the following day.
So for the past six weeks, I have contacted my credit card company, the hospital, and the insurance company to get my money back. I filed claims for the money about 3 weeks ago.
I am happy to say (amazingly) that the insurance company sent me the money yesterday. I deposited it this morning and I immediately took my credit card balance to ZERO.
The only bad thing is that since I carried the balance over two credit card statement periods I will have about $150 in credit card interest. But I have been assured by my university I will get that money back.
I hope I do, but in the interim I have a big balance in my checking account and my credit card will be ZERO by the end of Monday.