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Old 26-07-2012, 16:56   #1
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Health Insurance---an Alternative

as a long term cruiser operating on a small budget, i have always carried health insurance through "normal" carriers, i.e. health insurance companies. 5 years ago, the premiums became out of reach (and the enormous deductibles) and i was forced to drop coverage and go uninsured. this past january, i was diagnosed with tonsill/tongue cancer and had surgery in the u.s. at an exorbidant price and with extremely unsatisfactory results. because the doctor knew i had no insurance, he neglected to offer any after-surgery care (chemo/radiation therapy) and, 2 months later, the cancer came roaring back involving my neck and lymph glands.

when in the rio dulce, guatemala, i remembered folks talking about an outfit called guatemalamedicaltravel.com and the excellent care/prices they received while there so i emailed them and, happily, am able to share this story. after corresponding with lori, the director of this service, i flew to guatemala and was picked up at
the airport and whisked off to the beautiful colonial city of antigua and my home for the next 2 1/2 months. within 24 hrs. i had CT scans, bloodwork, ekg, meetings with them ENT team and the radiology specialist and 2 days later had surgery on my neck and lymph glands. then came 6 weeks of radiation therapy. the hospital was 1st class, the doctors (all fluent in english) graduates of schools such as johns-hopkins, sloane- kettering, etc., and the radiology facility/equipment was brand new and state of the art.

the cost of surgery/treatment was 1/6 of that of the u.s. but, most importantly, the level of care was incredible; the doctors/nurses treated me as a person not a number and i can honestly say that these people are now among my friends---something i cannot say of their u.s. counterparts who seemed more interested in the depth (or lack of) my bank account.

i AM NOT an employee or any way remunerated by/of guatemalamedicaltravel.com and only wanted to share my story with the cruising community as a way of offering an alternative to the traditional way of covering one's health costs there are many groups providing "medical tourism" from india/thailand/costa rica/mexico/etc. however i can only relate my totally satisfactory experience in guatemala. you can reach this group directly through their website or see them on youtube.com. worth a look!!
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Old 26-07-2012, 19:05   #2
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Re: health insurance---an alternative

Yes, the medical care here in Guate is awesome. My personal experiences have been great and I hear lots of stories like yours. I actually look forward to going in for routine check-ups! (Fortunately I've never needed anything more).

First time I used the healthcare system here a few years ago, my Stanford trained Internal Med doc sat down with me and took his time discussing my medical history, ordered some lab tests....and then...gave me his cell phone number (huh? who in the USA would do this?) and said to call him to discuss the results in the afternoon. And the office visit was Q300 (about US$40).

Health insurance is affordable here too, although at Guate costs it is not nearly as financially necessary as in the USA. I have a full coverage policy here (that even provides coverage if I am in the USA) for about Q1,500/month (US$195). I switched to coverage here after my high-deductible ($10K/year) USA policy became absurdly expensive for the limited coverage it provided.

I used to think I would return to the US if anything major came up -- not any more -- I'll stay right here in Guate.
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Old 27-07-2012, 11:03   #3
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I have spent the last two days scouring the Internet for offshore health insurance coverage for my husband and I. Both age 60, so no Medicare benefits. We will be departing the US in October. The prices I have encountered so far are prohibitive with our cruising budget. Anywhere from $8000 to $15,000 per year! Anyone found any less expensive options? The coverage in Guatemala sounds interesting, however we will be cruising for a while before we settle in one place.
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Old 14-08-2012, 12:35   #4
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Re: health insurance---an alternative

Go to www.healthcareinternational.com. We're looking at a policy with them for $350/month.
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Old 14-08-2012, 13:31   #5
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Re: health insurance---an alternative

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorTrish View Post
I have spent the last two days scouring the Internet for offshore health insurance coverage for my husband and I. Both age 60, so no Medicare benefits. We will be departing the US in October. The prices I have encountered so far are prohibitive with our cruising budget. Anywhere from $8000 to $15,000 per year! Anyone found any less expensive options? The coverage in Guatemala sounds interesting, however we will be cruising for a while before we settle in one place.
Try these folks ...Travel Insurance, Travel Health Insurance, International Travel Insurance

I've been using them for a couple years and so far they have fairly cheap ($2-3,000/yr) and no problems settling claims in the US or overseas. I'm 62 and live out of the US for 6+ months of the year, which is one of their requirements.
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Old 06-09-2012, 17:33   #6
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Re: health insurance---an alternative

Hi all,

My partner and I will be leaving Australia to criuse around the Caribbeam mostly with our two kids ( 3 and 5) in Decembe), and I'm looking at basic health Insurance too. Health Care Internatiaonl looks ok. Any other suggestions?
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