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Staying Healthy on the Road Medical info, e.g. malaria, vaccinations, travel medical tips, medical insurance, where to find a doctor.
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Old 14 May 2008
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Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
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Keeping Affordable US Health Ins for americans

i've just joined up this group. it seems like there's an amazing wealth of info on this site, but i haven't been able to find any suggestions on this topic. basically, i'm looking at traveling long term on a tiny, tiny budget while working along the way. i'd like to take the motorcycle, but i might even be forced to take the bicycle.

the problem comes in that it would cost me almost $600/mo to keep my current health insurance after i leave my current job. my hope is to live on less than that entirely, let alone pay that to insurance. however, another catch with our glorious american system is that if i ever let my insurance lapse, it will be much more difficult to get insurance again at all, and if i do, generally they will not treat preexisting conditions if it has ever lapsed (some of which i have).

from what i'm seeing it looks like i will have to get a seperate policy to cover me in various parts of the world, but options for that seem pretty well documented on this site.

any suggestions anyone has would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 14 May 2008
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I'm not sure if it differs from state to state but here in MT if you do not choose the COBRA insurance option and you get insurance again within 6 months your pre-existing conditions are "grandfathered" in, meaning you don't have to wait a year before your new insurance company will cover your pre-existing conditions. It might be something worth looking into. Also, $600/mo. is steep, I don't know your scenario but my mom is a cancer survivor and an amputee and she pays around $450/mo. for her health care in ID. Personally, I haven't been insured in over 20 years. I set aside $150/mo for medical expenses and have always had money for my broken arm, broken ankle, a 1" diameter stick jammed 4" in my thigh.... you get the picture.
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Old 14 May 2008
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Location: Huanuco, Peru, SA
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That's Easy!!


That's easy.... Let the insurance go! If you are going to be traveling (at least in Central or South America where I have lived for 70% of my life) you will find cheaper health care costs than your deductible!

Learn about basic personal health care, emergency care, and natural medicine, then be your own best advocate. Most places besides the USA, Canada, and the EU, allow you to buy ANY drug across the counter without a prescription. Doctor visits will cost less than filling your gas tank. Setting and putting a cast on your broken leg will probably be under $100.

When my family (6 of us) need dental work, we go to Mexico. It is 1/4 the price of the USA INCLUDING THE AIRFARE, and BETTER care. The doctors overseas know more about natural medicine BECAUSE IT IS APPROVED there. The best cure overseas most likely will not even be covered by your Health Plan.

So....... any hard questions????
'We build the bike (in Peru) for your Epic Ride of South America.'
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Old 14 May 2008
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Location: Philadelphia, US
Posts: 646
Toby is kinda right.

Last year when I took my trip I purchased overseas coverage that would cover the costs of health-care received locally in whichever country I was in, ONCE I exhausted my deductible...which was $1000. The insurance cost me about $1000 for a 1 year period.

I did not purchase evacuation insurance(MedVac...etc.), as that would have required me to have coverage in the US simultaneously. That would have been costly.

I gambled, but I understood the risks and was willing to take it. Hell I got malaria travelling between Mali and Burkina Faso, and was treated locally. I understood the risks and was confortable being treated locally-I've ad plenty of experience as a Peace Corps volunteer.

If you're comfortable being treated abroad in the countries you'll be visiting, don't bother with MedJetAssist and its sister US side coverage...
If you're NOT comfortable being treated abroad, purchase a evacuation insurance as well as US based insurance.

Your health...your decision.
93 BMW K75s
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Old 14 May 2008
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Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
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i guess my biggest concern is being able to get coverage when i get back to the states which also covers preexisting conditions.

mtsmetzler - the reason my health is so much is i live in glorious new york city. i was amazing at the difference when i moved here. one of the many many ways this place is god-awful expensive (and i'm 31 with no mojor health issues)
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Old 15 May 2008
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Location: Chiangmai, Thailand
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Originally Posted by mhelmuth View Post
i guess my biggest concern is being able to get coverage when i get back to the states which also covers preexisting conditions.
Caught in that US corporate health care trap! Since you say you don't have a pre-existing condition, then it behooves you to avoid acquiring a long-term medical care condition (take care of yourself).

At some point you just have to realize that the US healthcare system is a crock - for profit corporate care, more concerned with providing share-holder equity than health care to the folks paying the premiums.

Just walk away, and don't look back. Your best bet is to hope that in the next decade American's figure it out and go with a universal health coverage system. For all the money the corporations are paying on employee health coverage, all the money the individual is paying in premiums, co-pays, and non-covered expenses, we can probably create as good a system as the health insurers are providing. After all, nearly half of all dollars we pay into the system don't go for health care, but for clerks to process paperwork. Unfortunately, they'll be out of jobs, but then again, so are auto workers, iron workers, textile workers...

I faced the same situation (with no prior conditions either, but nearly twice your age), and decided "health insurance" shouldn't run my life. F**k the corporations.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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