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  #1  
Old 7 Nov 2012
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medical insurance

My girlfriend and I are crossing into Mexico in a few weeks on our way to Tierra del Fuego. We know that we can receive medical attention fairly inexpensively, but I am most concerned about major medical attention (catastrophic). Does anyone know of an insurance provider that offers medivac and catastrophic coverage? We are traveling for about a year and hoping to spend $50/month or less (not sure if this is reasonable at all).

Thank you for any information you are able to provide.
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  #2  
Old 7 Nov 2012
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Heya Zalling1

Ellen and I are in Mexico at present, Hermosillo.

We have taken insurance with world nomads but to be fair we have not needed the medical part and don't won't too) so can't advise on how good the are.

We have also subscribed to the red button on our spot hoping this will be the quickest most reliable way out of a bad medical situation should it arise, all this is coupled with the fact that stuff down here is nothing like in the USA.

Not very helpful sorry but just what we did, we took good advice from Ken & Carol Duval who have been on the road for about 5 years now.
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  #3  
Old 7 Nov 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zalling1 View Post
My girlfriend and I are crossing into Mexico in a few weeks on our way to Tierra del Fuego. We know that we can receive medical attention fairly inexpensively, but I am most concerned about major medical attention (catastrophic). Does anyone know of an insurance provider that offers medivac and catastrophic coverage? We are traveling for about a year and hoping to spend $50/month or less (not sure if this is reasonable at all).

Thank you for any information you are able to provide.
You will need to tell us where you are from to start with, I could hazard a guess at the US but availalbility and price of travel insurance is very dependant on nationality.
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Old 7 Nov 2012
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Post on the ADV Forum Is Mexico Safe thread and you will likely get a reply very quickly, maybe even for one or two people who have used the insurance for catastrophic reasons and been medevaced.
I think you might find it more expensive than your budget proposes.
Do not rely on any decent free medical attention in Mexico outside of what you might get from the Red Cross in urban areas.
Rural areas, you are going to be winging it until you can get somewhere with an ambulance or someone can get one to you.
Ride and act accordingly!
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  #5  
Old 7 Nov 2012
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Red button ????

I cannot imagine how a red button on your GPS SPOT or phone setup could be of any help in getting you out pf an emergency medical situation.

It may simplify the process of locating the "spot" where to pick up the leftovers but ... getting you fast medical attention ? I doubt that.
Are ANY of the local ambulance folks likely to be part of that SPOT tracing system ? dubious
Any help would have to come from your home country - or from insurance providers you have arranged before the whole trip.
Sorry no help, just an opinion about planning that should have been done long ago.
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  #6  
Old 7 Nov 2012
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Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker View Post
I cannot imagine how a red button on your GPS SPOT or phone setup could be of any help in getting you out pf an emergency medical situation.

It may simplify the process of locating the "spot" where to pick up the leftovers but ... getting you fast medical attention ? I doubt that.
Are ANY of the local ambulance folks likely to be part of that SPOT tracing system ? dubious
Any help would have to come from your home country - or from insurance providers you have arranged before the whole trip.
Sorry no help, just an opinion about planning that should have been done long ago.
Wow are you having a bad day?

I said we have medical insurance which we do, the red button is indeed to help things along, hopefully not the leftovers, you could be more polite about that.

Better to have it for direct coordinates if possible for local search and rescue and hopefully speed up time that may be needed.

Our planning was done and is in place, please help Zalling1 rather than shoot at us.

Zalling1, try world nomads anyway, we have a SPOT2 mainly so our family and friends can see where we are, I believe that subscribing to the SOS or red button is worthwhile for the little cost.
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Old 8 Nov 2012
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IAMAT: help and meta-help

Highly recommended to assist with before, during and after a medical issue arises.

IAMAT - Travel Health, Vaccinations, Doctor Directory, Travel Medicine
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  #8  
Old 9 Nov 2012
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Thank you!

I truly appreciate all of the suggestions. Yes, we waited too long to figure out our medical insurance. We have been researching it for months, but have been struggling with such a large expense when medical services are much less expensive when south of the US (yes, we are from the United States). I have contacted World Nomads and IAMAT and await responses. World Nomads coverage looks good, but is definitely more than we were hoping to spend.

Please let me know if you have any more suggestions. Thanks again!
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  #9  
Old 9 Nov 2012
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Some important things.
First, Sjoerd, meant no harm. You need to meet him. He is a genuinely good human being who has helped countless travelers. He is frank and direct and those are good qualities when it comes to discussing Mexico. He is also one of the only ADV riders I know who wears a compass around his neck. He gets around and uses that, no GPS, good times old school riding which I also practice as much as possible. In short, he's a good rider and resource. He knows how to use a map and speaks enough Spanish to get useable directions and knows how to get useable directions from locals, which is sometimes not as easy as you think it will be. Trust me.

Since I live in Mexico permanently and have so for close to two decades and know the country since my first visit in 1978, I have a healthy degree of skepticism when it comes to new things. I first saw the SpotTracker some time ago and I thought it would be nice to give peace of mind to your family and friends when you travel solo, or have one for a group of riders. I get the idea. In fact, I do a lot of riding solo and my wife wants me to get one. I also know its limitations here. Here you don't have park rangers, any really useful 9-11 system, little law enforcement, there are not always guardrails, and you take your chances. Successful rescue by any agency here is going to be relying on some degree of luck. In fact, you have a better chance of being rescued while mountain climbing than motorcycling because the climbers have organized rescue units in the climbing locales.

There is a current thread on the ADV Forum where a woman is asking for help because here husband's Spot is sending SOS messages from the Baja.
Turns out he lost the Spot, some old folks found it and started pressing buttons or something. Whoops! But importantly, the response from the Mexican search and rescue was that they really didn't have the resources or manpower to continue any search. And therein lies the rub. When you are off the beaten path here, or even on simple rural secondary roads, you are there because you want to be and have assumed full risk and responsibility. People will try to help you, some people might try to look for you, but help is going to come from self-rescue for the most part.

Let me illustrate this with a an example from last year. I was riding with a guy I knew and had ridden with only once before. The eve of the ride he calls and tells me he has invited a friend whom I don't know. We are mounted on F650GS and F800GS, respectively and his buddy is on a more than decade old sportbike. The ride plan changes to accommodate the sportbike rider as his suspension can't handle rougher surfaces. All is fine until leaving a fair sized town he drops the sportbike and breaks his collar bone. It is now decision time. We can wait hours or maybe a day for an ambulance (it is Sunday afternoon and it will be dark in less than 3 hours and the "never ride at night" mantra is weighing heavily on the mind), we can transport him by taxi to another nearby larger town that has a clinic but it has no x-ray capability and we are not sure if it will even be open. The victim is registered with the Mexican Seguro Social and he opts that we transport him to Veracruz and it has to be done on my bike as the other guy's F800 is new to him and he feels unsure if he can control it riding two up and he is still breaking in the bike. So I become the ambulance for his buddy.

I took the nylon liner out of the guy's jacket and in doing so, get a good look at the collar bone. I have seen enough broken bones to know one when I see one. I tied a figure of eight bandage as per my decades old first aid training (some things you don't forget) using the nylon liner. It holds fine but we have a 2 hour ride back to Veracruz and it is littered with tope bumps that create more pain for the guy. I am also watching him for signs of shock when we stop for some water and a rest.

Long story short, I get him to Veracruz, he waits 2 hours in the first hospital that has no x-ray capability, they send him to another hospital for a one hour wait. X-ray is done and confirms the break, and another hour later he is released with a cotton bandage in a figure 8 replacing the nylon jacket liner figure 8 I had put on. 6 hours or so from when he hit the pavement. That is fairly quick for here, and we were lucky.

Why were we lucky? First, his bike was able to be stored at a nearby house so it could be fetched by pickup the following day. A taxi driver who was following him when he unloaded, was able to avoid him and stopped to warn oncoming traffic as it was a blind corner. There was no blood spilled, which was the single most important part.

Lesson here is that all of this happened in fairly close proximity to a populated area. Spot would have been useless unless the guy was alone and he could wait it out until someone, likely the local police, arrived to begin summoning aid, but it would probably have been near midnight before all of that would have been arranged.

In Mexico, I believe the Spot is good for peace of mind for those following you, it might help you if you get real lucky and rescue can be coordinated in a timely manner, but a damn good first aid kit, and a decent cell phone that will have coverage in many areas, and knowing how to use these will probably trump the Spot if injuries are involved and it is not a breakdown situation. If you have the luxury of time and can wait, the Spot will probably do as advertised but no guarantees. Cellular phone service is also spotty in many areas. Keep that in mind if you are going to rely on a cell, you really can't do that. I know the Spot works on sats like GPS, so that is good, but you will take your chances when you push the button.
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  #10  
Old 9 Nov 2012
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Hey Zalling1,

I'm insured at JoHo insurance. Insurance in the Netherlands | Insurance in the Netherlands | Nederland, Wereldreis, Delta, Lloyd, Huis
It's a Dutch company but also used by not Dutch people, the link is english.
I pay about € 43 a month.

Cheers.
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Old 9 Nov 2012
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Great personal experience to emphasize the point you made earlier Mike. I actually was only rephrasing the last sentence of your earlier post , not being very quotable I thought.
I was really having a great day,having a great week really, and saw some humour in the expressed "red button dependence".
If one rides very carefully and manages to avoid extreme injuries , limiting oneself to minor cuts and bruises then one could depend on the local medical system without insurance ..... but how does one control all the variables?
I f a lone rider with "red button" has a major crash sending bike and rider cartwheeling off the road shedding bits of electronica the question is ... will the rider be in any physical or mental condition to actually push that button .... if he can even find it ?
Always remember that you are on your own, ride accordingly and enjoy it.
Mexican medical service for simple injury cases is very inexpensive by USA standards. A gashed forehead after a fall can be stitched up for $30 cash and getting 5 stitches out can cost only $2.50
Try that at a US medical clinic!. In that case it does not even pay to call upon your trip insurance provider if you have made an overpayment .In case of any claim all money is forfeit, no refunds for overpayment . Any claims made to the insurance will probably raise your rates for future insurance.

Last edited by Sjoerd Bakker; 9 Nov 2012 at 18:27.
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Old 9 Nov 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker View Post
I was really having a great day,having a great week really, and saw some humour in the expressed "red button dependence".
If one rides very carefully and manages to avoid extreme injuries , limiting oneself to minor cuts and bruises then one could depend on the local medical system without insurance ..... but how does one control all the variables?
I f a lone rider with "red button" has a major crash sending bike and rider cartwheeling off the road shedding bits of electronica the question is ... will the rider be in any physical or mental condition to actually push that button .... if he can even find it ?
Sjoerd, sorry if I took your reply the wrong way but to be clear we are NOT depending or relying on the "red button", we are using out spot2 mainly for our family to follow our (lack of...sometimes) progress and hopefully if the unwanted happens it may help.

I agree in a big binning the spot could easily lose its life too which is why we don't depend on it however if it does help then sweet, we will try to avoid hurting ourselves in the first instance.
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Old 9 Nov 2012
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AAA or CAA in Canada has the best....

In Canada and "perhaps" the US AAA has the best longer term medical coverage.
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Old 10 Nov 2012
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Hey again Kiwis... I have an idea for you which I learned about this past summer ,it is about calling home for FREE on your smart phone. get the app called iCall and sign up for FREE world wide telephone service via wifi.
It works well enough . You can call any number and talk for five minutes. Then it cuts off , but you just hang up and dial again for another 5 minutes.
They do offer other for -pay packages but 5 minutes is often all you need .
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Old 11 Nov 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker View Post
Hey again Kiwis... I have an idea for you which I learned about this past summer ,it is about calling home for FREE on your smart phone. get the app called iCall and sign up for FREE world wide telephone service via wifi.
It works well enough . You can call any number and talk for five minutes. Then it cuts off , but you just hang up and dial again for another 5 minutes.
They do offer other for -pay packages but 5 minutes is often all you need .
Thanks but we are not smart enough!!!

We don't have a smart phone, just a waterproof sonim phone XP3300.

Can you get the icall for the Mac book air? as we have a Mac, currently we just use Skype which is ok.

Great suggestion and this makes you an honorary Kiwi!!
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