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Man faces six-figure medical bill after falling ill in Mexico

The family of an Australian man has found themselves in the midst of an ever-increasing Mexican medical bill, which exceeds more than US$200,000.

The bill stems from their 33-year old son, Ryan Maudlen. While traveling through Mexico in November with his girlfriend, Katharina Reigl, Maudlen suffered a bowl inflammation from Crohn’s disease. He was forced to undergo emergency surgery, where more than 60 cm of his bowl was removed.

The surgery took place at a hospital in Playa del Carmen, a hot-spot beach town just south of Cancun. Due to the bowl inflammation his intestines perforated and Maudlen suffered blood poising. He was placed in a medically induced coma and required round-the-clock care.

Due to an electric outage, Maudlen’s girlfriend had him transferred to Cancun’s Galenia Hospital, a large, private facility.

“The insurance said they’d cover it, that’s why they let him into the hospital, and two days later they backed out,” Reigl said.

At first, Maudlen’s travel insurance provider, Insureandgo, agreed to cover the cost of his treatment, but two days after they received the application, the company reversed their decision and denied coverage.

The family believes they were denied because Maudlen’s hospitalization was the result of a pre-existing condition, something Reigl does not think he disclosed. Insureandgo would not deny or confirm if Maudlen had a policy with them, citing privacy reasons.

Maudlen’s parents, Robert, a 64-year-old baker and Deb, a 60-year-old legal secretary, say that have been forced to remortgage their home to pay the more than US$200,000 Mexico medical bill.

The family was being hit with a US$27,000 (AUD$31,000) bill every two days from the Mexican hospital for his medication, as well as additional billing for doctor and anesthesiologist fees.

Maudlen’s parents were also given an additional bill of $160,000 for the medevac to get him back to Australia where his private health insurance could take over.

Alex Bittner, president of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada, said that most British plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions. Most Canadian plans do cover people under the age of 60, even if they don’t disclose any pre-existing conditions, he said.

Bittner said that even if Canadians have chronic conditions, they are usually covered by Canadian insurance policies, as long as their conditions are stable.

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