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Old 02-03-2014, 11:39   #31
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
I just did a web search and found a site that gave instant quotes. For a couple 55-59 with a $5000 deductible it gave:

world wide - $5131/yr
excluding US (and Canada or Asia, was same price) - $4104/yr

So on a quick look at the issue if I decide me have to have medical insurance I need to work an additional year to save the money just to cover the cost of insurance (extra year of working becomes $36k additional savings into the cruising kitty and $36k for not having cruised for a year with no income).
You've hit upon a very simple fact. If one is going to have medical insurance while cruising there is going to be a substantial cost for it. Your numbers for a couple sound low if anything to me.

Yes, there are places in the world that are cheaper than others for medical care. There are also some in all countries who as residents and due to income levels or other matters don't pay for medical care.

But those same privileges do not apply when you're traveling. If I were to have a heart attack while cruising and be hospitalized, perhaps emergency surgery. It's going to cost wherever I am. In some countries it's going to cost me more because I'm not a resident. If I was single, it might be one thing to gamble. But I cruise with my wife and I am going to have coverage on her to provide the best care possible, to fly her to wherever she needs to be for that. If I couldn't afford to be sure she was protected in the event of an accident or illness, then I couldn't comfortably cruise. She feels the same about my coverage. Now the fact that some of us could afford to pay for the care if we didn't have the insurance, doesn't change the overall picture. On the other hand I do respect that many have a much higher tolerance of risk than we do. It's also a reason we will complete Medical First Aid Provider and Medical Person in Charge-Care at Sea courses before we stray far from the US and far from land.
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Old 02-03-2014, 13:38   #32
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

Cruisers should look at International Health insurers. BUPA in the UK will cover US cruisers but will not cover US treatment

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Old 02-03-2014, 15:32   #33
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

being Canadian .....when I travel through the USA... I am covered through work...I am sure that coverage is really good, not sure how they handle evacuation, but I will have the admiral look into it...because it would be nice to know...

however, the visa card does have some coverage, but only if you are in an accident...

FYI....heaven forbid anything should happen to anyone...the way all extra insurance works is you must exhaust all other insurance before they kick in....in the end its alot of paperwork
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Old 02-03-2014, 17:28   #34
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

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Originally Posted by Navicula View Post
being Canadian .....when I travel through the USA... I am covered through work...I am sure that coverage is really good, not sure how they handle evacuation, but I will have the admiral look into it...because it would be nice to know...
Thanks Navicula, but if I get coverage (and that's a big if) it would have to be longer term. I can look into snow bird coverage, but as I understand it, even that is temporary in nature. I was hoping long-term Canadian cruisers might offer other suggestions.

Sadly, given the crazy high cost of US health care, I think we might have to either travel as fast as we can through America, or simply bypass it all together and do the Bermuda jump from Atlantic Canada. I say sadly, b/c I would dearly love to spend time along the east coast. But for us frugal cruisers, I don't see how this is possible.
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Old 02-03-2014, 17:51   #35
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

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Thanks Navicula, but if I get coverage (and that's a big if) it would have to be longer term. I can look into snow bird coverage, but as I understand it, even that is temporary in nature. I was hoping long-term Canadian cruisers might offer other suggestions.

Sadly, given the crazy high cost of US health care, I think we might have to either travel as fast as we can through America, or simply bypass it all together and do the Bermuda jump from Atlantic Canada. I say sadly, b/c I would dearly love to spend time along the east coast. But for us frugal cruisers, I don't see how this is possible.
In a supplemental plan to your Canadian health care (secondary to it) US health care costs won't be that high. You can get all other countries covered together, other than Canada. I don't know your province or plan but most do have some travel coverage and so that makes it easier to get plans to supplement. Typically your plan might cover up to $50,000 when traveling so another plan just have to cover amounts over that, which would be rare occurrences. Again, I don't know what you have but this is from general experience.
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:29   #36
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

bumping this as there just has to be more people out cruising with medical coverage who could provide some costs
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Old 17-03-2014, 06:32   #37
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

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So how many of you out there cruising have none? Is this the norm while cruising? Just wondering as we are Can and we spend winter in the US, not cruising. We buy snowbird insurance in Canada for the winter here but have always wondered how many people have coverage while cruising. The prices most of you are talking about are just crazy. And yes I'm in the 2000 or less a month club as you can tell.
We are cruising the Med and have no health cover. We are UK citizens and are covered by the EHIC reciprocal care scheme whilst we stay within the EU and other signatory territories, however once we leave we are on our own. We cannot afford to pay for private health cover, the cost is almost as much as our monthly income!

I've just done an instant quote for BUPA International to cover only Turkey and the cost is 7439 annually for two of us (aged 47 and 50) with no pre-existing conditions.

We self-insure, try to stay fit and healthy and hope that we never have a serious accident or illness.
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Old 19-03-2014, 15:20   #38
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

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We are cruising the Med and have no health cover. We are UK citizens and are covered by the EHIC reciprocal care scheme whilst we stay within the EU and other signatory territories, however once we leave we are on our own. We cannot afford to pay for private health cover, the cost is almost as much as our monthly income!

Sounds to me that currently you HAVE coverage. You later have to chose whether you are willing to do without by cruising somewhere you aren't covered.
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Old 28-03-2014, 02:31   #39
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

Based on what coverage most Canadians have (I'm from Ontario so covered by OHIP) most emergency catastrofic items would be mostly covered but not without some pain.

OHIP provides only limited funding for health services required while traveling. Generally speaking, services are eligible for reimbursement if they were required as a result of condition that arose outside Canada, that was acute and unexpected and required immediate treatment.

You or your private insurance company will be required to pay up-front for OOC treatment at the time of the service and request reimbursement from OHIP.

So, in the event one were to have a heart attack or get in a car accident and need surgery, you are likely good to go. What you aren't going to be covered for is anything that they consider elective or non-life threatening.

You could also be on the hook for additional fees because the Ontario Health act states that they will pay whatever the physician or hospital charges or the amount paid in Canada for the same procedure, whichever is the lower amount. This likely leaves a bit of a hole while traveling in the US as things there seem to be somewhat pricey.

I would hope that this combined with some sort of evacuation insurance for serious issues would be all you need. Can't stay outside of Canada for more than 212 days and still be eligible anyway so at some point you would have to come home for your yearly checkup.
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Old 28-03-2014, 06:53   #40
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

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Originally Posted by FinallyFree View Post
Based on what coverage most Canadians have (I'm from Ontario so covered by OHIP) most emergency catastrofic items would be mostly covered but not without some pain.

OHIP provides only limited funding for health services required while traveling. Generally speaking, services are eligible for reimbursement if they were required as a result of condition that arose outside Canada, that was acute and unexpected and required immediate treatment.

You or your private insurance company will be required to pay up-front for OOC treatment at the time of the service and request reimbursement from OHIP.

So, in the event one were to have a heart attack or get in a car accident and need surgery, you are likely good to go. What you aren't going to be covered for is anything that they consider elective or non-life threatening.

You could also be on the hook for additional fees because the Ontario Health act states that they will pay whatever the physician or hospital charges or the amount paid in Canada for the same procedure, whichever is the lower amount. This likely leaves a bit of a hole while traveling in the US as things there seem to be somewhat pricey.

I would hope that this combined with some sort of evacuation insurance for serious issues would be all you need. Can't stay outside of Canada for more than 212 days and still be eligible anyway so at some point you would have to come home for your yearly checkup.
Thanks FinallyFree, you sound like you're well versed in our OHIP system. This was my understanding as well; that OHIP covers acute urgent care up to the levels that would be paid here in Ontario. As you say, this would probably leave a gap (perhaps a large one) in fees charged by US healthcare providers.
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Old 28-03-2014, 07:25   #41
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

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So how many of you out there cruising have none?
+1 here, when i am cruising. At the moment i'm in Bermuda working to save money for more cruising, so i have insurance and will milk it for everything it's worth to try to fix anything and everything that could go conceivably wrong before i next go cruising. Cost is not relevant because my policy is a Bermuda Government Worker's policy and therefore not available to anyone else on this forum. I wonder if they'll pay to snip out my appendix when there's nothing currently wrong with it............
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Old 28-03-2014, 08:55   #42
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

I'm not trying to turn this into a bash Canadian health insurance blog, but Finally Free told only part of the story. A few years ago I spent most of a day in a Wisc hospital with a knee problem. X-rays, two conversations with an ER doctor, and a prescription for pain meds cost me over $700. Our Ontario Health Insurance reimbursed me $45.

As a result, I would not travel outside my home province without private insurance, knowing that this is really only a ticket back to Ontario, by air ambulance if necessary. Ontario is a big province, and there is no guarantee that the private insurance company will drop me off at a hospital close to my home. But this is still better than a six figure bill for a heart attack, or some other catastrophic medical condition.
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Old 28-03-2014, 11:32   #43
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

Wow!

Come to New Zealand, cut your feet off, break your arms, and we'l sew 'em back on and wrap you in a cast free! Thats in our public hospital system, but its high quality care and you wont be left 'wanting'.

If I wanted a health insurance policy for some reason (like maybe I prefer the goosedown pillows in private hospital), it would cost me $40 USD per month... for me and Wifey!
Thats with a $5,000 excess and Wifey and I are mid-30's.
If I reduce the excess (deductible?) to $500, the premium goes up to about $80 usd per month for both of us.
Anyway, healthcare in NZ is cheap, so you dont really need it.


Like other 'foreigners' im disturbed by the numbers being bantered around here! Geez, I can get a 3-month, full "Superworld" travel insurance policy that includes USA medical, evacuation, etc for $100 pm - per person.

I guess being relatively young helps.... here's my BUPA numbers (just me)
Flex ~$130 per month (excludes USA, and no deductible)
Annual policy for cover in USA - $700pm


I have no idea how expensive emergency health care is in the Caribbean or Pacific Islands... I can't imagine they charge too much to put your arm in a cast, sew your finger back on, or treat you for burns... What would a policy do for me in the majority of the cruising world? A return trip home to get more civilized care in the case of serious injury?


Clearly, more research required, but it seems that a policy is a necessity in the USA, or you might lose your boat paying for the hospital visit. It also seems that a travel insurance policy may be an affordable short term solution.


An interesting thread, and im keen to hear what international cruisers are doing in this space.
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Old 28-03-2014, 14:41   #44
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

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X-rays, two conversations with an ER doctor, and a prescription for pain meds cost me over $700. Our Ontario Health Insurance reimbursed me $45.
The test really is, "was the issue a medical emergency and did it originally occur out of the country". If it was, then they likely would have found something on the X-Ray showing that you had a serious problem that was not pre-existing and simply reagrivated and that you needed immediate attention. If that were the case you probably would have been covered.

Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP) - Ministry Programs - Public Information - MOHLTC

My concern with health issues and travel have never been for the little annoying things (not to belittle your knee issue) that are either under a couple grand to take care of or could wait until I got home. I'm worried about the "Oh my god I need immediate tripple bypass or I'm going to die and that is going to cost $100,000.00". OHIP covers that no problem. Paying several hundred dollars (or how most people are talking on this thread a few thousand dollars a month) to make sure that I don't have to pay a few hundred in the event I need to see a doctor for something minor seems somehow redundant and counter intuitive.

The Ontario government does advise that ALL Canadians leaving the country "even for a few minutes" (yes, they actually state that) should get private insurance. I really have to believe though that this is just a butt covering statement and to avoid issues with people that think they will be covered for everything.

I actually started looking at this thread because I was curious to see what other people are paying and what the costs would be to go beyond what OHIP does cover. I was extremely dishartened to see the huge premiums that people have to pay for something I've been taking for granted my whole life. I really am shocked and have a newly renewed respect for my own healthcare system.

So keep covering me for the big stuff and I'm happy!
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Old 30-03-2014, 11:40   #45
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Re: Medical Insurance & Costs

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My concern with health issues and travel have never been for the little annoying things (not to belittle your knee issue) that are either under a couple grand to take care of or could wait until I got home. I'm worried about the "Oh my god I need immediate tripple bypass or I'm going to die and that is going to cost $100,000.00". OHIP covers that no problem. Paying several hundred dollars (or how most people are talking on this thread a few thousand dollars a month) to make sure that I don't have to pay a few hundred in the event I need to see a doctor for something minor seems somehow redundant and counter intuitive.
I'm now a little unclear... Does OHIP pay for out of province medically-necessary procedures to the full cost charged, or just to the amount that would have been charged had the procedure happened in Ontario? IOW, if I break my femur in New York, will OHIP pay 100% of necessary medical costs I incur while in NY? Or will they just pay up to the amount it would cost here in Ontario?

I assume the costs in NY are quite a bit higher.
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