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Old 01-07-2010, 09:54   #1
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Health Insurance

I'm not necessarily ready to cruise full time, but I am at least going to become a snowbird in the fall. Currently I'm an unemployed...or extremely part-time employed bum on a boat. Mid 30's, single, no kids, zero health problems. Yearly...or when I decide to get a physical, they always tell me I'm in perfect health. In the past 10+ years the only major problem was paying to get a lip stitched after getting hit with a slap shot, when I was uninsured for a while.

Anyway, just looking for suggestions. Recommended carriers? Considering my situation, do I even really need insurance?
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:05   #2
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I have seen DAN mentioned before on a few different boards. I'm a diver and I do have their top coverage, but no one ever seems to answer the following.

How does it work? Does cruising or living aboard qualify as big extended dive vacation?
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:09   #3
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Everyone's situation is different, but I suppose it depends on where you plan on cruising, how much risk you can tolerate, what assets you have to lose, and whether you are willing to rely on whatever healthcare you can get from the government.

No question health care is cheaper in other countries. My wife suffered a barotrauma (ruptured ear drum) diving in Mexico. Total bill for that in Mexico came to around $300. It was not cutting edge treatment like one would find in the US, but it was good enough (5 years ago it would have been cutting edge in the US) and when she got back to the States her ENT said it was perfectly acceptable treatment and it healed up fine. So if you are planning on being in foreign countries and are willing to accept less than the cutting edge in health care, maybe you don't need health insurance.

In the US, healthcare costs a lot. The fact that you have always been healthy doesn't mean much. You could have an accident, broken bones, appendicitis, or any number of cancers could strike without warning. Testicular cancer is common among young men. All of these would set you back tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. My first wife was in her mid 30's and healthy when she got lung cancer. In the year it took before she died, the medical bills were in the many hundreds of thousands of dollars. My current wife tore her labrum (some cartilage-like material in her hip socket) while running last year and the total bill for that was over $50K. So even if you are healthy, something could happen that would put a serious dent in your bank account.

We have always had health insurance and in the US I would not consider going without it. We recently had to buy our own health insurance because my wife and I are now both self employed. Before this year, we had insurance through work. We found that high deductible policies ($5-$10K deductible) for a healthy couple in their late 40's can be had for $300-$400 per month. For a younger single person it would quite a bit less. We set up an HSA account (Health Savings Account) to cover the deductible expenses. Essentially, you put in pre tax earnings in a special account and spend it on health expenses until you meet the deductible. So you get something of a break there.

United Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, and Blue Cross are some of the big ones that offer nation-wide health insureance plans. We got ours with Assurant through USAA. I think Assurant will also insure non-USAA memeber.

Or you can do what my sister does. She's married and has four children. They have never had health insurance. They qualify for Medicaid and also mooch off my parents, me, and my other sister. This is a health insurance plan of sorts, although in my opinion, not a very good one.
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Old 02-07-2010, 13:06   #4
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politics aside, this seems like it will be a pretty handy tool, especially around 2014 when we really know what will happen.

Health Care

if my employer didn't offer HI, i would do as zydeco has mentioned with the HSA and high deductible plan.
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Old 02-07-2010, 14:11   #5
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I'd look at catastrophic coverage and forget about pinky splints and stitches. And Zydeco, thanks for pointing out that bit on testicular cancer
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Old 02-07-2010, 15:14   #6
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Originally Posted by Zydeco View Post
She's married and has four children. They have never had health insurance. They qualify for Medicaid and also mooch off my parents, me, and my other sister.
.

......And ME!
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Old 02-07-2010, 19:11   #7
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politics aside, this seems like it will be a pretty handy tool, especially around 2014 when we really know what will happen.

Health Care
This would almost be useful if it actually gave you prices. Ever single thing you click on "Price estimates available Oct. 2010"

And once again the usual problem. First thing they ask for is a zip code. Well...NJ now, but then I'm going to Florida. So even if I'm staying in the US, but I'm going to be a snow bird, how exactly does this work? Do I need to change my health insurance every 6 months too?
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Old 03-07-2010, 15:00   #8
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This would almost be useful if it actually gave you prices. Ever single thing you click on "Price estimates available Oct. 2010"

And once again the usual problem. First thing they ask for is a zip code. Well...NJ now, but then I'm going to Florida. So even if I'm staying in the US, but I'm going to be a snow bird, how exactly does this work? Do I need to change my health insurance every 6 months too?
all excellent questions for a HI company. call them and ask...they know better than i do.
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Old 03-07-2010, 15:29   #9
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Old 03-07-2010, 15:31   #10
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This would almost be useful if it actually gave you prices. Ever single thing you click on "Price estimates available Oct. 2010"

And once again the usual problem. First thing they ask for is a zip code. Well...NJ now, but then I'm going to Florida. So even if I'm staying in the US, but I'm going to be a snow bird, how exactly does this work? Do I need to change my health insurance every 6 months too?
Some plans offer coverage only in one state, others offer a nationwide plan. Some of the nationwide plans are "coordination of benefits" (plans from different states will work with each other to coordinate coverage) and others offer truly nationwide coverage. The one I mentioned above all offer nationwide plans.
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Old 03-07-2010, 17:23   #11
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The best insurance policy is to emigrate to any country that has affordable health care.

You cannot find affordable healthcare in the USA. I am a doctor, and one of the reasons I am working is to have healthcare coverage while I am saving up my Freedom Chips.

Health insurance companies have employees who try to figure out new and creative ways to deny you coverage even when you pay your premiums. You need a lawyer to explain what is covered, and more importantly, what is not covered in the health insurance policies.

When I broke my wrist a year and a half ago, I stop counting when the bills for the broken arm went over $10,500.
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Old 04-07-2010, 13:44   #12
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Gord - Is that for real or is it a scam, though?
The as low as $160/month, but we'll deny any claim you try to make plan perhaps?

Zydeco - What about when traveling out of the country? Or if out of the US for extended periods?

maxingout - I'm with you! That's why I'm a huge fan of any kind of insurance in the first place. Dump thousands in, and fight to get a measly even few hundred dollar claim paid. Just took me almost 5 months to get a replacement dive computer from a policy I've had for about 5 years. Lost the old one first week of January. Would have been really fun if I had a dive trip planned.

Just need to make sure i leave by 2014 I guess. I'm already heading to SE Florida in the fall, maybe I won't stop. I'd much rather drop anchor in Coz, Tolum, or Belize anyway. Speaking of which, although my anchor may be a little small by your standards, employed some of your techniques from that other thread, and I haven't budged an inch in a week, even with a few windy and bumpy nights.
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Old 04-07-2010, 14:16   #13
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Gord - Is that for real or is it a scam, though ...
I don't know. I posted it as a joke; but I suppose you could call the number.

As a Canadian, I thought it humorous to see health insurance hawked like a kitchen gizmo.
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Old 04-07-2010, 14:20   #14
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Based on this, I'd say scam...or just out of business.
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Even kitchen gizmos hawked like kitchen gizmos are always hilarious.
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Old 04-07-2010, 17:52   #15
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If you are going to be out of the US for any period of time, check out IMG (International Medical Group). I (age 60) picked up a policy last year with a $1,000 deductible that give me worldwide coverage for about $185/month.

Travel Insurance, Travel Health Insurance, International Travel Insurance – IMG Insurance
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