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  1. #1
    BLM
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    Insurance Questions

    I am sure this is redundant, so, sorry in advance.

    I am just curious what the people who are quitting their jobs and leaving on a tour are doing for health insurance. Are you going without? Are you buying your own? If so, from where? I am a US citizen.

    With the costs of a trip to the hospital these days, it is hard to imagine doing without. Seems like a couple nights in the hospital could put a hurt on the checkbook. Just one of the main obstacles I see in picking up and going. I would like to hear what you have to say.

    So speak up!

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    I started out just using the COBRA from my job - your HR person should be able to help you. It was extremely expensive, for excellent coverage. Later, I bought an individual policy from a major name-brand insurance company. It's expensive too, and I'm out-of-pocket for the first few-thousand dollars, but the monthly premiums are a lot less.

    However, when my trailer hucked me off my bike in the middle of Wyoming, allowing me to enjoy a long ride in an ambulance and an overnight in the hospital, and a whole stack of CT scans and Xrays... well, let's just say it was worth it.

    It can be important not to have a lapse in coverage, I think. It may depend on your health circumstances, but you want to make sure you don't end up getting denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

    Hey, don't let it be an "obstacle" - don't worry about it, plan for it. Call an insurance agent and get a rate schedule. Fill out the application. There are lots of different kinds of plans, seems like you trade off how much you pay monthly against how soon it starts covering you in case you need services. So you just have to balance your personal health circumstances - if you're young & healthy, you can get a major med. policy with a high deductible. If you know you need services, you might want to pay more per month.

    ANyway. don't let that stop you.
    ...

  3. #3
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Don't get me started on US health insurance. I am bitter as hell. Even if you have it , it may be not worth a dam. They did their best to do in my wife, by refusing referrals for a skin rash when it turned out to be cancer. SOB. Three months refusal to grant a referral; it got very serious. Denzel Washington went into one of their offices. armed. I understand completely. We now live in the South of France. Semi retired. My wife works part time.they pay her insurance. Mine costs $86 A month. 3$ deductible for all treatments, pills.. Includes basic dental, eye care. And no dam HMO's. Entering a doctor's office. No receptionist. Just sign in and wait for doctor to come to waiting room and escort you in.
    I got heat exhaustion from the beach and riding in July. Cost us 25$ for a HOUSE call. Exam and valium shot to get my breathing under control, at our HOME only because of house call by a doctor; dit it cost $25. . Eat your heart out. If you can be self sufficient, you might qualify for a visa allowing you to expereince such treatment.
    After jeopardizing my wife's life, as I said, I am still fuming. .
    Example. show up for start of radiation & some g.d. gate keeper tells you it is delayed, because of some territorial problem with whom is to administer the treatment. !. US health care particularily sucks if you are not on a group plan. If it wern't for this scrape with mortality, we'd probably still be in California. excuse me. get me started and I had to vent. now, after jeopardizing our well being, we still have problems , coming back to the Calif HMO, they do their best to deny her annual MRI.
    Last edited by cyclezealot; 11-16-06 at 11:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I'm Canadian and I get my travel insurance from the Canadian Automobile Association ... it's quite reasonable. I'm sure your AAA would have a reasonable plan too.


    Fortunately, here in Canada, most medical things (not dental, prescriptions, and optical) are covered by our federal plan. I'm going for a CT scan next week, and not a penny will be coming (directly) out of my pocket to pay for it. We purchase extra plans to cover things like dental, prescriptions and optical during our day to day lives (I paid $125 for a year's worth of coverage the past two years), and then pick up a little something extra for travelling.

  5. #5
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    There are lots of travel companies out there who will sell you health insurance for a prolonged trip, just make sure you get something cycling friendly, that is a policy that will allow cycle touring every day. Some only allow it as an occasional activity. In the UK, we found the best deal through small specialist groups (we went through a mountaineering group).

  6. #6
    VWVagabonds.com Losligato's Avatar
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    We quit our jobs six years ago...we were in our mid-30s at the time and have no children.

    At first we purchased a special insurance policy that was just for those traveling outside of the US. It was remarkable how inexpensive it was BUT it did not cover us if we had to be flown back to the US.

    After the first year on the road with no health problems we decided to drop the insurance. Now, before everyone goes ballistic, let me explain.

    While traveling through Latin America and Africa we met many thousands of people...none of whom had health insurance. When they got sick or injured they paid out of pocket. We thought, heck, we could do the same in case of emergency.

    My wife's grandmother lives in Mexico and is our only surviving grandparent. She is 93 years old, has no health insurance, and does not take any medication. She is as sharp as a tack and as healthier than a 22 year old gringo.

    When we dropped the insurance we suddenly felt...well...responsible for ourselves. It was as if a giant switch went off in our heads that told us to be careful, eat healthy, exercise...all of the things everyone knows they shoud do but never actually do.

    I lost a bunch of weight in the first year. We paid for checkups in South Africa and Amanda had to have eye surgery when we returned to the states. It cost about 1/10 of the insurance premiums and the doctor gate us samples of all the medication she needed, avoiding an extra $500.

    When returning home we considered purchasing insurance once again when we published our book. But then I realized we were going to be lumped into a giant insurance pool with...well...I didn't really think it was fair that we, two vegetarian runners, were paying the same insurance premium as an obese, diabetic,...you know what I mean.

    Why isn't health insurance like car insurance, higher risk, higher premium?

    Anyhow...that's our story.... And six years later we are cycling through Asia.

    Happy travels.
    www.VWVagabonds.com
    Mexico, Central America, South America & Africa in a Volkswagen

    By bicycle West Coast of the U.S., Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia

    India by Royal Enfield

  7. #7
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    our nephew lives in Singapore. He says many don't have insurance. Medical costs there are like 10% of US costs. Here , in France. we find costs like 1/3 US costs. Medical insurance so cheap, compared to the US , why not have coverage. In fact, it is required.
    The point , Americans get so uptight about medical coverage. Throughout most of the rest of the world it is taken for granted.

  8. #8
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Actually all Americans do have some sort of health insurance, it's called the ER, and they have to treat you regardless of insurance coverage. That's one of the many reasons why health insurance in the US is so expensive. And it's one of the reasons why ER's in the US are overcrowded, a lot of people who get simple colds or finger ****** head off to the ER.... Usually in an ambulance that is required to transport you.

    My wife is an EMT and if they get called and the person wants to go to hospital, they can not deny the transport..again regardless of insurance or lack of.

    But I agree, you should have some form of health insurance.

  9. #9
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    All BS aside, that's why I'm going to wait till I retire to do a tour so I will have medicare coverage...oh, and I won't have to worry about losing my job because I want to be gone for 5 months or so!

  10. #10
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Depending on your relationship with your employer and how long you plan to be gone, you may be able to arrange a leave of absence where you do not get paid, but can keep your medical insurance by paying your normal share of the premiums.

  11. #11
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    froze. Should your tour take you outside of the boundraries of the US, Medicare won't cover it. You have to get a supplemental policy for overseas from private sources.

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    But GPSBLAKE, they have to treat you at some level, but that doesn't prevent them from trying to recover from you, does it. So if you have any assets those will be attacked. So it's back to relying on unreliable insurance.

  13. #13
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    A trip to ER without Insurance just might cost you your house. And now, with the new Bankruptacy Bill. You can never get out of the hole. Never. And the other cost of the US insurance system. Not getting preventive treatment is a timely manner. Estimates are like 16,000 Americans die each year, because of lack of preventive treatment when needed.
    oh yes. ANother reason for my disdain of the US medical system. My beloved CA HMO , Blue Cross. I had a bike accident in March 2003. RIped my right rotor cuff. Later required surgery. Blue Cross would not authorize my MRI for over a month, until I had a month of physical therapy. One month , then they autrhorzed it. Then another couple weeks wait time.
    Useless painful physical therapy, further riping apart my liagments ; meanwhile the muscle I had left were were degenerating. Not a pleasant experience.
    A cycling friend in Lille, FR. knew of a cycling friend who riped apart his rotor. He had surgery about two weeks later , so Marlyene said. It took me almost two months before surgery was authorized. Another bit of my bitterness.
    Last edited by cyclezealot; 11-18-06 at 10:09 AM.

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    I think "bitter" is a rather mild reaction to the US health insurance system. The only aspect guaranteed is that the industry will eventually find a way to screw you over. Exactly how they screw you over, however, may differ depending on which state you live in, or in which state you happend to be biking in when Grandpa RV Driver finally knocks you off the side of the mountain, then drives off never noticing his handiwork. Depending on the intricracies of his insurance (or lack thereof), your CAR insurance back home (or lack thereof), no-fault law (or not) or a bazillion other random variables like who bought what coverage first and the color of your mama's left eye, you might not have any coverage at all. You might end up paying for the blood removal from Grandpa's RV side panel! Insurance companies and state legislatures hate bicyclists. Is there such a thing as bicycle insurance that would cover you no matter what happened, your fault or not, vehicle accident or not, no questions asked? That's what I'd want.

    Note: I am not a lawyer.

    That may be my only redeeming attribute.

    Oh, I'm not an insurance agent either.

  15. #15
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    For now, living in Europe. OUr car insurance. It is half of what it is in the US. We are told because insurance companies can't claim medical bills. Our car insurance in Calif was like $850 per car per year. Now it is $380. Same policy. Bitter. My wife's inability to get a referral for cancer for 3 months, my therapy for a totally wrenched rotor cuff. Bitter. yes, you are right. beyond bitter.
    Had , I been at the Blue Cross office in LA, the AM, they delayed my wife's cancer treatments; bet, I'd recall what Denzel Washington did in his movie RE: HMO's. .

  16. #16
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot
    For now, living in Europe. OUr car insurance. It is half of what it is in the US. We are told because insurance companies can't claim medical bills. Our car insurance in Calif was like $850 per car per year. Now it is $380. Same policy. Bitter. My wife's inability to get a referral for cancer for 3 months, my therapy for a totally wrenched rotor cuff. Bitter. yes, you are right. beyond bitter.
    Had , I been at the Blue Cross office in LA, the AM, they delayed my wife's cancer treatments; bet, I'd recall what Denzel Washington did in his movie RE: HMO's. .
    One question; Why didn't you leave sooner????

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    You know, cyclezealot, I'm sorry you had so much trouble. I accidently stuck my foot into a lawn mower and it ended up costing me $16,000. And I was unemployed at the time.

    The very next job I got they had the insurance people come around and explain how their system worked. They used as an example almost the identical injury as I had. They showed almost the identical costs. Then they showed that through the insurance plan the negotiated this down to $3,000.

    My health insurance is expensive while I'm out of work - around $500 a month - but when I'm working it is one of the benefits. I've rarely needed medical insurance but then I remember my mother spending huge amounts of time in the hospital with cancer a couple of times and then getting something akin to alzheimers and requiring care 24 hours a day for 2 1/2 years before she passed away.

    I don't complain about the US medical system because most of the world's advances come from here and not from France. You may be paying a pitance there but you're using American technology, American methodology and American research. Pissing about the cost hardly makes much sense.

  18. #18
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Pissing about a system that puts my wife's life in jeopardy , as it did; does not make much sense. ? You gotta be kidding. How'd you feel if it put a family member's life at risk , if it were you. ? You think this a rare occurence; you should read the newspapers, more . It is not. Three months wasted time with a developing cancer. How'd you feel. Lucky it was a slow growing type of cancer. It still almost got out of control. The Doctor said a couple more weeks delay and it'd really be difficult. It was so very close to critical organs as was.

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclintom
    I accidently stuck my foot into a lawn mower and it ended up costing me $16,000. And I was unemployed at the time.

    Then they showed that through the insurance plan the negotiated this down to $3,000.

    My health insurance is expensive while I'm out of work - around $500 a month - but when I'm working it is one of the benefits. I've rarely needed medical insurance but then I remember my mother spending huge amounts of time in the hospital with cancer a couple of times and then getting something akin to alzheimers and requiring care 24 hours a day for 2 1/2 years before she passed away.
    $16000???? $3000???? $500/month???? Are you really serious??

    Pardon me while I go into a choking fit!! And THANK YOU for making me suddenly develop a deep appreciation for Canada's medical system.

    And Canada has had its share of medical discoveries etc. too.
    http://www.mta.ca/faculty/arts/canad...s/insulin.html
    http://www.hrsonline.org/ep-history/...lfred_bigelow/
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/330/7497/967

  20. #20
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    My wifle's top notch surgeon from UCSD , we finally had the great fortune of hooking up with; said she has given many a lecture in France. She said possibly French cancer treatment mthods, supercedes US techniques because their faster licensing practices. Of course we discussed my wife taking this job in Europe before our move. She did not think it to be an unwise. THe US has some great facilities and doctors; its just they are unapproachable for so many.
    Last edited by cyclezealot; 11-20-06 at 10:31 AM.

  21. #21
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    I am fairly grateful for the medical research that comes out of the US. But as far as Canada is concerned one reason why it rellies on US research (which it always would and other global research, obviously), vs. earlier successes like discovery of Insulin, is because the US industry has so much money it bought it's way through Canadian politics, the drug regulators, and the primary research schools. Now the market is rational which apparently means enough graft to eliminate competition. As far as the new drugs are concerned, a lot of them seem not to be properly tested, or for something trivial like erectile dysfunction.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krink
    I think "bitter" is a rather mild reaction to the US health insurance system. The only aspect guaranteed is that the industry will eventually find a way to screw you over. Exactly how they screw you over, however, may differ depending on which state you live in, or in which state you happend to be biking in when Grandpa RV Driver finally knocks you off the side of the mountain, then drives off never noticing his handiwork. Depending on the intricracies of his insurance (or lack thereof), your CAR insurance back home (or lack thereof), no-fault law (or not) or a bazillion other random variables like who bought what coverage first and the color of your mama's left eye, you might not have any coverage at all. You might end up paying for the blood removal from Grandpa's RV side panel! Insurance companies and state legislatures hate bicyclists. Is there such a thing as bicycle insurance that would cover you no matter what happened, your fault or not, vehicle accident or not, no questions asked? That's what I'd want.

    Note: I am not a lawyer. Duh

    That may be my only redeeming attribute. hmmm

    Oh, I'm not an insurance agent either. Weally?


    So the insurance industry really wants to screw us bad uhh? Gee, I wonder just how many peoples lives the insurance companies have saved over the last 100 years...1...12...oh surely not more then maybe 30 or 40!

    And cyclists, well let me tell you that whenever I or any of my friends have gone into a hospital with injuries due to a cycling accident, our insurance companies immediately went into a rage and didn't cover us and never got our wounds fixed plus the insurance companies all cancelled us.

    Damm your sooooooooo right, insurance companies are all out to screw us...and I think they want to see us all dead-especially the cyclists.

    [/QUOTE]

  23. #23
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    Well another way of looking at it would be to say that if insurance is good then a really big insurance company, say the size of the country, might be better still.

  24. #24
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    froze. Your bitterness. Might you be a New Orleans homeowner?. Well, if you were , when they screwed you- it was just property and not your wife's life.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot
    froze. Your bitterness. Might you be a New Orleans homeowner?. Well, if you were , when they screwed you- it was just property and not your wife's life.
    Please reread my post...that was sarcasm!!!! HELLO?!

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