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Old 20-11-2019, 14:45   #1
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Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

I have a friend in his mid 50s who is about to sail over the horizon to the Bahamas and then the Caribbean and then to Europe. He needs input on what to do about medical insurance. Can you provide some counsel?

Thank you.
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Old 20-11-2019, 17:04   #2
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Re: Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

Country of origin might help. But generally, unless very wealthy or young it is advisable to buy medical insurance. We cruised without it 30 years ago but never leave home without it now.
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Old 20-11-2019, 17:08   #3
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Re: Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

He wants insurance. But is there insurance that is best suited for cruisers?
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Old 20-11-2019, 19:21   #4
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Re: Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

Very individualized choice.

Whats his risk tolerance: does he want comprehensive coverage or just high deductable?

Outside the USA, almost anywhere else in the world, healthcare is WAY more affordable. Insurance for outside USA coverage only is also way more affordable. Example: here in Central America healthcare is so affordable that I quit bothering with insurance.

Its worth taking a look at some travel/medivac plans. Examples: DAN and GEOS:

https://www.geostravelsafety.com/index.html#sar

JackLine has some expat/cruiser specific offerings:

https://gowrie.com/EmployeeBenefitsL...edicalIns.aspx

There are also some existing threads here on the subject: give those a search and a read.
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Old 20-11-2019, 22:02   #5
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Re: Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

Others have asked the important question of country of origin because it has impact on policy costs and basic insurability. Most suppliers that we have researched provide "add on" insurance which extends coverage outside of the home country. As also noted, medical care in some countries is relatively inexpensive but not always so. After an accident in Mexico, the hospital costs were about US$1000/day.

We are from Canada where health care access is heavily subsidized. We have used the health care system in a variety of countries (Mexico, New Zealand, Indonesia) and our experience is that it is of high quality but not necessarily cheap. So we always have two kinds of insurance:

i. insurance that will cover costs in the event of illness or accident in the country we happen to be in (outside of Canada). The best supplier that we have found for that is World Nomads. Costs are reasonable and they are responsive, helpful and pay the bill. They are based in Australia, focus on "travelers" but can only cover citizens of certain countries. Also, they will not cover someone past their 66th birthday. We now use a different supplier that is more expensive and more trouble but we believe that insurance is important so we put up with the hassle and cost;
ii. evacuation insurance. If medical care is not adequate where illness or an accident occurs and it is determined that the patient needs to go somewhere else, evacuation insurance is a very good idea. DAN Boater Insurance does this for an exceptionally reasonable price. I believe that it is only available for Americans and Canadians. We used their services about 2 years ago and they were excellent. They also have a medical insurance package but it is only available to Americans.

International travel risk management was a part of my job for about ten years. The most important thing that I learned from that work is that bad things can happen anywhere. Being prepared, including insurance, is a very good idea.

Good luck
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Old 21-11-2019, 01:37   #6
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Re: Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

Marathon1150, we are also Canadian. Who are you using now?
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Old 21-11-2019, 10:03   #7
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Re: Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

8 years of sailing without medical insurance. Had minor food poisoning in Mohamadia, Morocco after a questionabele chicken......no medical assistance required! And conjunctivitis in Philippines. Walked out of the public hospital which I wouldn't send a dog to. Went to a private hospital......saw 2 consultants and had eye test. Cost equivalent of £7 plus approximately £6 for the drops. That's been a total of £13 over 8 years. But apart from physical accident sailing/liveaboard is a healthy way of life!

Places like NZ, Australia have reciprocal rights for uk residents though now New Caledonia insist on medical insurance to be produced with yachts paper on clearance at Immigration if not European. Be warned!
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Old 21-11-2019, 10:04   #8
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Re: Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

You might check with your credit card benefits. My Amex and Mastercard have international Medical evac included for free, and also have travel health insurance. I was not able to use the medical insurance because I live in Colorado. Weird. Check into your benefits, you might have some things already in place that cost nothing.
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Old 21-11-2019, 11:25   #9
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Re: Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

We use DAN Insurance. Sometimes referred to as DAN Boater Insurance. We are Canadian and sail in Europe, Bahamas and the Caribbean. We pay approx. $150.00 Canadian for year round coverage for both my wife and myself. The policy is to get you basic coverage where ever you are, to stabilize your condition, and then find the fastest and caring way to transport you to your country of origin and let your insurance policy take care of your condition. We have seen this policy work numerous times in the Bahamas where a helicopter shows up within a very short time, and they are flown to a US hospital.
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Old 21-11-2019, 11:27   #10
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Re: Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendi View Post
You might check with your credit card benefits. My Amex and Mastercard have international Medical evac included for free, and also have travel health insurance. I was not able to use the medical insurance because I live in Colorado. Weird. Check into your benefits, you might have some things already in place that cost nothing.
Yes, my CitiBank card has some good benefits too...esp when travel related expenses are paid on the card.
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Old 21-11-2019, 11:31   #11
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Re: Medical Insurance for Cruisers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roniszoro View Post
I have a friend in his mid 50s who is about to sail over the horizon to the Bahamas and then the Caribbean and then to Europe. He needs input on what to do about medical insurance. Can you provide some counsel?

Thank you.
Try Cigna Expat Health Insurance. However, I am not sure if Cigna will offer their expat health coverage to a cruiser who does not have a base country. I don't know what Cigna's criteria is to determine if some one has a base country or not.

My wife and I are based in Guatemala. Guatemala has excellent health care available at a fraction of the price as in the USA and other 1st World countries. I think Cigna takes into account the cost of health care in the insured's base country to determine what the insured's premium is.

I am 62 and my cigna expat health coverage has a $10,000 per year deductible. My premium is $224 a month. My policy allows me to get treated anywhere in the World I want, except the USA, by any doctor, hospital, etc that I choose. Unless the treatment needed is not available in Guatemala the insured has to pay for travel.

I chose not to pay for coverage for treatment in the USA because as a USA citizen I can can always get coverage regardless of any preexisting conditions per Obama Care. For an extra $40 a month I can have coverage for treatment in the USA.

I looked at the details of the Cigna coverage and it looks to be extremely comprehensive and flexible after the annual deductible is met.

Alliance offers similar expat health insurance. In my case, Alliance required a physical. Plus the coverage was limited to providers selected by Alliance. Cigna looked better and my impression is Cigna is not going to have a problem to pay for the treatment from any doctor or hospital that I want. Cigna will pay the hospital and doctor directly after the treatment has been approved.
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