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Old 16-07-2015, 10:33   #1
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Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

This is our first post on the Cruisers Forum.

My husband and I are Canadian citizens and are leaving the country for the next 2 to 3 years. This means that our health coverage in Canada will no longer be available to us. We are however very fortunate that at this point, neither of us have any health issues.

We are planning to sail throughout the Bahamas and the Caribbean. We have a quote for Health Insurance from a company here in Canada but it seems to be rather costly (in excess of $800.00 per month).

Does anyone have any suggestions on companies that will provide Health Insurance? We are hoping it would cover any medical conditions that could possibly arise such as strokes, heart attacks, cancer or any accidents.
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Old 16-07-2015, 13:13   #2
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

We use world nomads, about $1000/yr. most things are covered or they will fly you home to Canada if they want.
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Old 16-07-2015, 13:34   #3
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

In the US, $800 per month for one individual would be cheap insurance. Either cheap as in an incredible bargain, or cheap as in many limits and exclusions and not covering much.


Medical evacuation policies would bring you home to Canada in the event of emergency, but I don't know if your medical coverage applies as soon as you get home? In any case, I'd expect you need an insurance broker who is licensed to operate in Canada, to sell you coverage.


Regardless of the medical policy, you may want to look for medevac insurance or coverage. By example, when there's a serious accident in Columbia, the nearest category one trauma room is back in Miami, and patients need to be flown in.
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Old 16-07-2015, 13:35   #4
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

Thanks Monte - we will give them a try!
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Old 16-07-2015, 13:42   #5
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

You can pay cash.

I'd recommend an evacuation policy to cover anything major (which is unlikely to come up anyway), a policy that will fly you home so that you can get in line to see your Canadian doctors. Then simply pay cash for the small stuff that comes up.
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Old 16-07-2015, 13:53   #6
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

Well..........we have just called World Nomads for travel medical insurance. They will only cover us for the length of time that our Canadian medical is in effect. As we are leaving Canada and will be gone more than 212 days (at least 2 year), our Canadian medical coverage will be cancelled.

I guess they only 'patch' you up so, they can ship you back to Canada so the Canadian medical coverage will take over and they won't incur additional expenses.

...........any other suggestions?
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Old 16-07-2015, 14:39   #7
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

Ruth, use the search engine on the upper right tab, many suggest using the advanced Google search, and try "Canadian health insurance" or "cruising health insurance" --- this issue has been discussed before with many detailed replies.

Good luck, safe journey.
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Old 16-07-2015, 15:07   #8
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruthhenderson View Post
Well..........we have just called World Nomads for travel medical insurance. They will only cover us for the length of time that our Canadian medical is in effect. As we are leaving Canada and will be gone more than 212 days (at least 2 year), our Canadian medical coverage will be cancelled.

I guess they only 'patch' you up so, they can ship you back to Canada so the Canadian medical coverage will take over and they won't incur additional expenses.

...........any other suggestions?
Would flying home once a year solve the Canada health insurance requirement? If you can keep that in effect and get Medivac insurance for the big things ( I don't think it's too expensive, but it's been years since I checked) Maybe that would work. General health care is reasonable in the third world.
Also check into travelers insurance.... like you buy when going on a vacation. Often that is cheap as it's geared toward low probability and people on short vacations. Not sure I've ever heard how well it works though.....?
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Old 16-07-2015, 15:08   #9
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

Your problem seems to be that you will have no Canadian health insurance as you intend to be away too long to retain your Canadian insurance.

If you live in Ontario you can get a one time deal where your insurance stays in effect for a year rather than lapsing after you're out of the country 212 days. If eligible you should apply for this for the first year. Then you can buy "travel insurance" and your insurance will be much more reasonable, depending on your age and medical history.

The way this "travel insurance" works is if anything happens to you they will fly you home if you can travel or as soon as you can travel. That way the insurance companies dump the cost onto the province.

After the first year you might have a better handle on your needs.
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Old 16-07-2015, 15:45   #10
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

Divers Alert Network (DAN) is a popular out-of-country insurance. If you or your spouse are in need of x-rays, a specialist or surgeon your insurer will insist you be transported to the CLOSEST medical facility for evaluation first. You need to find out if your insurer will carry the cost of a medivac flight to the closest facility. Be aware also that you will bear the cost of cell phone calls to arrange transport to a local clinic as well as arranging a shuttle flight and nurse. The insurer does nothing but pay whatever bills they deem appropriate. My girlfriend bought her insurance through TD bank in Canada and it was major battle from start to finish.
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Old 16-07-2015, 19:30   #11
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

Try IMG international insurance. They service a lot of xpats.

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Old 17-07-2015, 10:06   #12
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

As Canadians we have looked into cruising insurance, you can apply for a two year leave and still be covered by our OHIP and then return to Canada for a certain amount of days (sorry can't remember the amount) and then leave again. look into this with OHIP as it will save you lots of money. There is also a company out of Nova Scotia that will insure you and fly you back there for any medical situations that may arise. Remember, they only track you when you come back into the country, not when you leave. We have talked to lots of cruisers when we are in the BVIs each year and they tell us that medical expenses are very cheap abroad and better to just pay out of pocket for these. root canal for $25.00, antibiotics over the counter in most areas. Good luck and keep searching here on this forum and other blogs.
Sandra, Ontario.
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Old 17-07-2015, 10:25   #13
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

Question:

How will the bloated Canadian healthcare beaurocracy know your gone for two years... unless you tell them?
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Old 17-07-2015, 10:27   #14
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

Ruth, we are in a similar situation. We have dual Canadian ans US citizenship and are less and less in North America. Planning to go cruising to the Med for 2 years. Our American health insurance is expensive. And we will not renew next year. I went through a lot of international health insurance site , quite expensive.
So following info from a blog by a live board I recently contacted Robert Collinmore from Kuffel, Collimore & Co at rtc@kuffelcollimore.com. He provided me very quickly with several very affordable options from various health insurance. I am in the process of evaluating them in order to get coverage in 2016.
Hope it helps.
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Old 17-07-2015, 11:26   #15
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Re: Looking for help purchasing Health Insurance

Please tell me I am wrong.

At my age, if I were to pay into the "Lifeboat Medical Insurance Plan," Even with a $5000 annual deductible, I couldn't afford to go cruising. That being said, during a seven year circumnavigation where we had no health insurance, me, my wife and our two young children remained very healthy. However, when any medical assistance was needed, we sought medical advice in the countries we visited, e.g., new glasses in South Africa, eye exam in India, cyst removal in New Zealand, dental work in Australia and South Africa, and I think that was about it. If I tallied the cost for all the services for our family of four, for those seven years, the total was well under $1000 US.

I am currently refitting my boat for another voyage of indeterminate time and distance, and IF NECESSARY, I will partake of the medical facilities of the countries I visit. However, I will make sure my first mate knows how to handle the boat under all conditions, and that she is capable of retrieving me, even if I fall overboard while unconscious: That will be OUR insurance policy.

One final consideration: For those US citizens cruising and feel they need medical help and believe they must return to the States for proper care, why not just travel to India, as it is probably there where your excellent US doctor was born, raised, and educated.
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