Advertisement

UPDATED: Okanagan woman fights for prompt insurance payout after serious overseas accident

WATCH ABOVE: A Lake Country woman said waiting in the emergency room for her insurance coverage to kick in after a severe accident in Indonesia was agonizing. Jules Knox reports.

A Lake Country woman said she went into shock immediately after she was in a severe accident in Indonesia, but it was the pain that followed while she was waiting in the emergency room for her insurance coverage to kick in that was most agonizing.

Brittany Roth was exploring a small island near Bali on the back of a scooter when the road made a sharp turn.

“My left knee clipped a jagged rock wall and tore me off the bike,” she said.

Brittany said she looked down and saw an exposed kneecap, a foot that was ripped open and her leg covered in blood.

“I looked at my friend and I said, ‘We have to call travel insurance now’,” she said. “I know you have to call the insurance company before you make a claim or it’s void.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: With no travel insurance, B.C. family struggles to bring injured father home from Thailand

An ambulance then rushed her to a local medical clinic, but her injuries were too severe for staff to treat.

Brittany said she was told she needed to catch a boat back to the main island before sundown.

But despite her insurance coverage, she had to pay up first.

“The way that it works in Bali unfortunately, is the care is really, really good, but until you can pay the bill, you don’t get treatment,” Brittany said. “So they said, ‘we need a credit card now or you’re on your own for the night.’”

Her travelling companion called Brittany’s sister Brooke Roth in the middle of the night in Canada, asking for her credit card number.

“My sister said it was terrifying receiving the call, hearing me screaming in the background. She thought I was getting kidnapped, she didn’t know why I needed a credit card,” Brittany said.

READ MORE: B.C. condo owners brace for sticker shock as insurance rates surge ’50 to 300%’

Brooke said she tried to stay calm as she learned the details.

“I woke up out of a dead sleep to my sister’s best friend saying that it was an emergency, Britt’s been seriously injured, and we need $3,500 right away,” Brooke said.

Tweet This
Story continues below advertisement

Brooke paid the bill, and Brittany was put on a spine board for transport to Bali.

Some locals and her travelling companion carried Brittany to the waiting boat.

“They had to go down really, really steep concrete stairs to get to the beach, and then they had to walk through the ocean, knee-deep through water to get me to this boat,” Brittany said.

“And it was a full moon so the waves were crazy.”

WATCH BELOW: Interviews about the importance of travel medical insurance

When the 20-year-old arrived at the hospital in Bali, still in a bathing suit, she was met with another bill — this one for $12,000.

“I was there for about four hours,” Brittany said. “They had said, ‘Unless we receive payment in 15 minutes, I’m sorry, we have to let you go. We can’t keep you here anymore.'”

READ MORE: Study shows Canadians still confused over travel insurance

“We were terrified thinking that we might be on the street,” Brittany said. “I don’t know what to do with my leg. I can’t walk. I’m bleeding.”

Meanwhile, back in Canada, Brooke was in a bureaucratic battle with Pacific Blue Cross Insurance.

Story continues below advertisement

“It was really frustrating. We had the approval right in front of us, but it took them so long to send the confirmation to the hospital,” she said.

After hours on the phone, confirmation finally went through, and Brittany successfully underwent surgery.

She received 38 stitches, has a torn tendon and is now moving around with crutches.

READ MORE: Going on vacation? Here’s how to prep your home

The sisters are still waiting for their $3,500 back, and Brittany is out-of-pocket the $3,000 expense of flying home unexpectedly.

Friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to help Brittany recover some of her costs.

Pacific Blue Cross declined an interview, but emailed Global News a statement on Monday.

“All travel insurance policies require contact with the insurer as soon as possible after an event has occurred to ensure the best treatment for the insured individual and to properly facilitate the claim,” it said.

“We’re obligated to work within each country’s medical system; it is not uncommon for medical facilities to require confirmation of payment, which we appreciate is unpleasant when injured.”

The insurance company also said that it can’t address specific cases because of privacy concerns.

Story continues below advertisement