This is the biggest hurdle for us in traveling full time and the largest issue to find a comfortable resolution for. We wanted to begin our travels several years earlier than we did but this one problem held us back. Steve quit his job in October 2009 and has 18 months of COBRA coverage from then. At the end of that time we thought we might move back home and he would start working again to have health insurance. However, we found we weren’t ready to return to our ho-hum lives and let health insurance matters dictate how we live.
I elected not to have COBRA insurance because of the $500 a month additional outgo resulting in a savings of $7500 to date. The only medical care I have needed is for the broken leg/sprained ankle which ended up costing about $1200 (thank goodness it happened in Canada) including the physical therapy. The deductible on the COBRA is $2500 so the $1200 would have been out of pocket anyway.
Global comprehensive health insurance is surprisingly very affordable if you exclude the US. A policy for Steve and I would cost just under $300 a month – total. BUT, when reading the fine print there is a sentence that says even if a condition wasn’t diagnosed or had even manifested symptoms in the past three years, coverage can be excluded. I take that to mean if I had heart attack, the insurance company could say my arteries were already clogged so it’s a pre-existing condition. Or if I came down with cancer they could say it’s been there a while. And then the application screen for health history wanted information going back 10 years. Another company wanted information going back to FOREVER! And that’s every little thing, plus wanting physicians statements. Well, the fact that Steve is living with an aneurysm on his ascending aorta, has already had open heart surgery, has had melanoma, and more…..what do you think his chances are of being accepted for insurance?
By law, Steve’s current insurance company, which has the worst customer satisfaction rating in the USA, must allow him to convert the employer COBRA to an individual policy at the end of 18 months. But they can charge anything they want. I wouldn’t be surprised if they set the premium at $1000 or more a month. So that’s out.
That leaves a travel medical policy. $100,000 coverage for each of us with a $1000 deductible is about $1900 a year. That gives us emergency care basically and at least we would have something for accidents.
No way whatsoever do I want to make or influence Steve’s decision for his coverage since his health situation is much more precarious than mine. He knows this. But he wants the travel policy and so (for now) that’s what we will do.
And if he should need the aneurysm surgery? We’ll go to………….India!!