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Old 28-10-2016, 10:35   #16
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Re: Health insurance recommendations

Would the IMG Global or BUPA be accepted as insurance in Cuba for Ameicans?

Estimated medical cost if purchasing insurance in Cuba? I know they do not accept US insurance.
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Old 28-10-2016, 19:06   #17
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Re: Health insurance recommendations

No foreign country I have been to "accepts insurance" in the sense that we know it here in the US. It may be different in places I havent been or in Canada where I didnt try it but in any of the islands in the Caribbean they don't deal with insurance as far as I know. In Spain and France they seemd baffled by the idea. They dont want you to hand them a card. They accept cash. You can then go get reimbursed if you have insurance.

I have to admit I don't know this for a fact. I only know my own experience.
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Old 02-12-2016, 11:53   #18
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Re: Health insurance recommendations

I want to add my experience in the US (not cruising). And, I have a follow up question at the end.

We let our medical coverage lapse for 2 months in 2015. I was insured, family wasn't. Had very bad luck during that time!

1. I fractured my arm (minor): $2900 with insurance
2. My 5 yr old broke his arm: $2.2k no insurance
3. My wife had a late term miscarriage requiring hospitalization: $2500 no insurance

Each of these included ER visits except for my son (children's hosp.). My wife's was bad... included an overnight stay in the ER, a lot of drugs, surgery etc.

Details on my arm
Minor fracture. No cast (splint only) 2 sets of xrays. Initially, I just did a Dr. visit. This was cheap, $25 co-pay, $200 x-ray uninsured portion and $20 for a splint, $30 in drugs. Then, my arm swelled up the next night. Went to ER. $600 ER copay. $400 additional x-rays, un-ensured portion. $1400 for 2 x-rays the insurance company deemed, not necessary. And $150 for a new splint. Then, repeat Dr. visit $25 4 weeks later. $200 final xrays again. I skipped the recommended physical therapy! Total: $2900 with insurance for a minor fracture and no cast! Total amount billed to the insurance company for Dr. visits and ER was over $15k! This was a clear eye-opener to us! Speaking of eyes... Christmas 2015, this happened:

Daughter shot me point blank with a nerf gun someone had cocked for her. ER visit, eye exam xmas eve in MT, was $800 total (uninsured co-pay portion). I disputed this since I ended up fixing their eye exam equipment for them (the only machine was broken when I arrived). Then, follow up appointment with an eye Dr 1 month later as my vision hadn't totally returned yet, was $350. Total bills to insurance was over $1800. In the end, this was all just 2 eye exams and steroid drops. (thankfully, my 20/20 is back now!) You can probably guess my opinions on insurance by now! Insurance my employer pays something like $600 a paycheck for!

Followup question:
How are those of you with no insurance (my intent) while cruising, filing your US taxes? Are you just paying the fee/fine/penalty? I believe that is increasing significantly this year. We currently have catastrophe insurance. But, it's still $220 a month with a $15k deductible. We'd be comfortable with something like a $100k deductible if that exists. It doesn't thru our current provider. And, I doubt our provider even covers us internationally. All family (except for me) are duel CA citizens too. So, screw US medical insurance IMHO!
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:18   #19
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Re: Health insurance recommendations

In Cuba you just pay cash. My wife sprained or possibly broke her ankle in Cayo Largo. She was well treated, got some pain meds, etc. they were going to do an X-ray but machine was broken. Don't honestly remember the cost but doubt it was more than $50 (2009)
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Old 02-12-2016, 13:39   #20
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Re: Health insurance recommendations

If you have international coverage, as I do, and you need to make a claim while in the Caribbean, Cuba, China or anywhere you simply call Bupa from the hospital and hand the phone to the billing person and they get paid with a credit card while you watch. The amount does not matter. Every hospital in the world I have ever been in takes credit cards and if for some reason they do not they have wire transfers. I have had Buba for years now and compared to some of the horror stories I hear about U.S. companies I would take them hands down. My friend who died of cancer a few years back was a resident of St Maarten and was covered by Bupa and his bills over 4 years were over 2 million. He got treatment at The Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. multiple times and they paid for travel and hotels as well. He traveled to his native South Africa to receive treatment as well, and again they paid for travel and accommodations for both he and his wife. I don't think he had any out of pocket expenses in four years. They went out of their way to do whatever they could to help. This is the type of company I want watching my back if I get sick. Not some greedy number crunchers who are trying to figure out how to deny every aspect of my legitimate claim while they are waiting for me to die. There are some good companies out there and they are going to cost you, I pay $5,000 a year, but you can get good coverage if you do some research.
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Old 02-12-2016, 13:57   #21
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Re: Health insurance recommendations

I think it depends on what kind of insurance you currently have in the US. Before my wife and I left on our circumnavigation over 6 years ago, we were covered by Kaiser, however, we knew if we canceled our policy with them, they'd never accept us back. So, we have continued to pay Kaiser over US$1,200 per month, which we can't really afford but we can't afford to be without, either. What adds insult to injury is that we have a US$5,000 annual deductible on top of that. I realize that a very strong argument could be made for self-insuring ourselves but our luck would have it that something would happen where we'd be on the losing side.

On the plus side, our Kaiser coverage does reimburse us for any medical expenses we incur outside the US but, fortunately, we've had none.

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Old 02-12-2016, 15:05   #22
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Re: Health insurance recommendations

Guys, again, Thanks for sharing this stuff. And I have to say that some of these stories are beyond surreal. $15k for a broken arm! WTF are they smoking, & who's pockets are getting filled? Perhaps I need to switch professions... after adding bigger pockets to my trousers

The Uncommon Thing, The Hard Thing, The Important Thing (in Life): Making Promises to Yourself, And Keeping Them.
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