GREENFIELD, Ind. -- It was supposed to be a relaxing family vacation. The Shelley family had been to Mexico before and like they always did, they purchased travel insurance. But when their 1-year-old son started having trouble breathing and wound up in a hospital, their dream vacation quickly turned into a nightmare.
"We had to beg for him to get breathing treatments, give him different medications, beg for them to call the doctor in middle of night," Shelley said.
After three days in the hospital, the Greenfield parents booked an emergency medical flight, only to find out the hospital had different plans.
"When the airline medical flight plane was at airport and ready for us, our bill suddenly went up," she explained.
Their bill skyrocketed to more than $7,000. Eventually, a family member paid up so the family could fly home.
"It was just completely overwhelming."
Shelley says she knew her health insurance wasn’t accepted in Mexico, but thought the additional travel insurance she had purchased was enough.
"We did have that protection, but unfortunately it didn’t have medical coverage."
It’s a problem Alex Kutin of Indy Travel Leaders in Indianapolis says happens far too often. U.S. health insurance isn’t accepted in Mexico, and many travel insurances don’t cover hospital or doctor visits.
"It's really important to look through the different ones. There’s travel insurance as little as $100," Kutin explained.
There’s even warnings about Mexican hospitals on the Department of State’s website.
"It is a small expense to cover a $3,000 or $5,000 vacation and you just don’t want your trip ruined by some sort of health issues," Kutin added.
As for the Shelley family, all together they had to cough up more than $30,000 for hospital bills and the medical flight. Money they tell us, they are still paying to this day.