On October 14th, 79-year-old U.S.-born Alfonso Acosta, who was visiting relatives in Mexico, barely survived a devastating bus crash and then lay effectively untreated in a government-run hospital in Toluca, Mexico for over five weeks. When the family was notified, they were told only that their father had a concussion.
Supplies at the hospital were limited, and so, as Acosta’s children (he has seven) started arriving in Mexico, they took turns walking to the nearest pharmacy over a mile away to buy the medications and gauze their father needed. Any medical care ordered at the hospital had to be paid for in advance and in cash. The kids slept on the floor near his bed, but they were not given pillows or blankets. They also ate very little, hording their cash for their father’s care.
Repeated calls to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico gave the family no help in getting their father out of Mexico, and the family accuses the hospital of holding their father hostage for the money the family was repeatedly shelling out.
The family tried calling medical evacuation flight companies, but because Acosta didn’t have coverage before he left, most companies refused. Ultimately, they were able to contact an independent pilot to whom they paid $12,500 in advance who agreed to fly Acosta from the hospital in Toluca to Houston, Texas. Finally, after a final struggle with hospital staff to release their father, they had him on a flight back to the U.S. on November 18th. According to the latest reports, Acosta is expected to make a full recovery.
At Travel Insurance Review, we extend our sympathies to the Acosta family and express our gratitude that he is safely back in the States.
Our Strongest Recommendation to Travelers
For travelers who plan trips outside the U.S., we strongly recommend you have medical evacuation coverage from a reputable travel insurance company who can provide the kind of coordination assistance the Acosta family so desperately needed.
We ran these details through our travel insurance comparison tool to see how much travel insurance protection would have cost for a traveler like Alfonso Acosta:
- 1 traveler
- Iowa resident
- 79 years old
- Staying one month in Mexico
- No trip cancellation included
- At least $50,000 medical coverage
- At least $100,000 evacuation coverage
The following plans, among many others, showed up as available (examples are shown priced lowest to higher):
- Global Alert Preferred – $100,000 medical and $500,000 evacuation included at a price of $62.00.
- Seven Corners RoundTrip – $75,000 medical and $350,000 evacuation included at a price of $64.00.
- MH Ross Bridge – $100,000 medical and $500,000 evacuation included at a price of $75.00.
- Travelex TraveLite – $50,000 medical and $250,000 evacuation included at a price of $76.00.
As you can see, purchasing even a small amount of coverage is ideal when compared to the horrific struggles the Acosta family endured. Your family will have a travel assistance services hotline to contact and coordination support to get you to a place where you can receive qualified medical care.