Discuss the importance of vaccines, side affects of medications, water-safety worries and health insurance questions. Research malaria meds, cost of medical treatment overseas and other issues related to health on the road.

Health Insurance for a RTW Trip

lucieonthelam

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Joined: July 3rd, 2012

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Tags: travel insurance, rtw
  • Added on: July 5th, 2012
Hi everyone,

I'm taking off on a one-year round-the-world trip this September. I just got done exploring all the options for health insurance. Here's the link to what I found out, in case it's helpful to anyone else out there planning a similar trip (particularly if you're from the USA, like me):

Cheers,
Lucie

Scritch

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
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Joined: September 22nd, 2009
Location: New Orleans, LA

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  • Added on: August 16th, 2012
Lucie,

Some things to consider (from someone who has World Nomads):

$100,000 doesn't seem like a high limit until you consider how inexpensive healthcare is (comparatively) in a huge number of countries. Traveling through SEA and India/Nepal my medical expenses for the few times I was ill or needed to see a doctor were so low that I never even bothered to try and claim them. So for the same reason you're not worried about deductibles, you could also not worry about the 100k limit.

However, the theft coverage included in a more general travel policy practically paid for itself in my case. I was robbed during a festival in Nepal, and just what you're carrying in your pockets can add up quickly. A camera, an iPod, some documents, and you're looking at a couple hundred dollars. They paid over $400 out to me faster than I could get the Nepalese police to even give me a freaking police report (it seems like they're used to dealing with inefficient or difficult police forces abroad).

Sure, it wouldn't have ruined my trip, but it was sure nice to have that extra money, especially towards the end. Oh, but having receipts for your gear helps a LOT.

Honestly, I was wondering if I even needed insurance period when I got robbed and needed to make that claim, and it was such a painless process I just shut up and paid out when I decided to keep going an extra six months to a year.

Also, if you only purchase coverage in six month blocks, you'll save about $300 with Nomads. Not sure why, but extending is dead simple. I've done it on airport wifi the day before my coverage expired with no trouble. Not sure if an extra $300 in savings might tilt the scale in your decision.

For other general health advice, if you're going to be a bit stationary when you first arrive, getting some of the more expensive vaccinations may be a lot easier and cheaper at your destination. Japanese encephalitis and rabies are two big ones I didn't bother with because they're just too expensive in the states. But in Thailand they cost practically nothing.

Cheers.

lucieonthelam

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Joined: July 3rd, 2012

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  • Added on: August 28th, 2012
Scritch,

That's all so helpful. Thank you so much!!

I think the big kicker was that my Dad insisted I get domestic coverage so that, if something major did happen, I could fly home and get medical care at home here in the United States, which of course is ridiculously expensive. Honestly, if it were just up to me, there's a good chance I would have gone with World Nomads.

That's sweet that the claims process was so easy. I was worried about the process being a pain. Watch me get robbed now and be out $400+! That will ruin my day. Oh well, I guess you can't do it all perfectly your first time around...

Thanks!
Lucie

MichaelRpdx

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Location: Portland, Oregon

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  • Added on: August 29th, 2012
Scritch wrote:Some things to consider (from someone who has World Nomads):
Also, if you only purchase coverage in six month blocks, you'll save about $300 with Nomads. Not sure why, but extending is dead simple. I've done it on airport wifi the day before my coverage expired with no trouble.


How long of a total insured time have you had with them? Could one travel or two or more years?
--
Be Appropriate && Follow Your Curiosity

enjaku

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Joined: August 26th, 2012
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA

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  • Added on: August 30th, 2012
While its not health insurance, I'm a massive fan of medical evacuation insurance. I never leave the U.S. without it. Having worked in emergency rooms around the world, I can attest that the level of professional medical care that you get varies wildly... I mean "WILDLY"!!

My evacuation insurance of choice is Global Rescue, and in the name if full-disclosue, I used to work for GR some years back. While there we pulled people out of countries all around the world almost on a daily basis. I went to Haiti for them and pulled out several clients after the earthquake, saving many from almost automatic limb amputations.

Normally you find yourself in a hospital in whatever country with some sickness or injury. The evacuation company contacts the hospital, and with your permission, has it's physicians review your medical care to determine the adequacy of it. If it fails to meet generally accepted U.S. care than they load you onto an air ambulance and bring you back to a care facility that will give you the appropriate level of care. Some companies will only bring you to the closest appropriate facility, others will bring you all the way back to your home country to the facility of your choice. In some cases the evacuation company will send a nurse or paramedic to you in order to assess your care, and then contact the U.S. physicians to formulate a plan.

I found the service to be relatively cheap compared what they are willing to do for you. Read the agreements closely as some of the companies have some restrictions that you may not agree with.

-eric
Barefoot I entered this world
Empty-handed I leave it
Two things that became entangled.

travel droppings

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
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Location: Chicago, IL

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  • Added on: September 9th, 2012
Eric, that is a very interesting option. I can't say I have heard much about that talking to other travelers. How does it compare in price?
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enjaku

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA

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  • Added on: September 15th, 2012
Of all of the companies that are doing medical evacuations, which I think there are 3-4 in the industry, I'm not sure how Global Rescue stacks up price wise. Each of the companies offers different packages, e.g. where to they evacuate you to, under what conditions do they initiate an evacuation, step-down options to a full-blown evacuation, etc... I think that you need to look at each one and decide on which service meets your needs and then look at the price.

Again, my experience is limited to Global Rescue, but I believed that the service that the members got was very good for what was paid for. Members could cover themselves for as little as a two-week trip, or as long as a year, and if member had an issue he could talk to a paramedic or nurse 24/7 with no limitations. Complicated medical issues were put in front of a knowledgable physician within hours, and plans were put into place to evacuate the member as soon as six hours. Having done the same sort of thing in the military, that's about as good a reaction time as you're going to get.

-enjaku
Barefoot I entered this world
Empty-handed I leave it
Two things that became entangled.

cindyfae

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Joined: January 15th, 2013
Location: Australia

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  • Added on: January 28th, 2013
Another interesting and completely useful travel tip. Liking this forum more and more! Thanks for sharing Eric, I never really thought about the implications and necessity for this
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